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The South exists in a bubble all it’s own. The people, food, and customs are like nothing you will find anywhere else in the USA and New Orleans is at its center. Summertime brings many travelers to this great city. Keep reading to learn what you should pack to survive your time in the Big Easy and find out exactly what to wear in New Orleans!
What to Wear in New Orleans
Written by: Niki Landry
As I travel, one thing has really stuck out to me. The people I meet are really interested in Louisiana. Most have been to New Orleans and loved it or it’s at the top of their list of places to visit. Either way, they always want to talk about it.
If you are lucky enough to visit this thrilling city, then you need to know the basics. Starting with the most important… the weather.
One of the major downsides to visiting in the summer is the heat and it can be extreme. Even if you are prepared for high temps, it’s the humidity that will get you. It doesn’t let up and even when the sun goes down the air is still heavy with the heat. The good thing is that restaurants, bars, and hotels have serious air conditioning so a reprieve is never far away.
When planning what to wear in New Orleans try your best to pack clothing in your travel capsule wardrobe that will wear well in the summer sun. Polyesters will leave you sticky and annoyed. Light colored linen and cotton clothes in cuts that don’t hug close to your body will be your best bet. If you know that you will be outside for long periods of time, a hat is necessary. Besides sun protection, it will help to keep your frizzy hair under control.
Take a look at the linen clothing we’re currently loving!
A few other little additions to help with the weather, it is a great idea to bring along wet wipes to keep your face clean and cool. They can also double as toilet tissue if the late night bar you’re enjoying has run out. Don’t forget a good deodorant. You will be happy you have it, when the streets start to get crowded. It’s also a rainy climate, with frequent showers during the summer. Pack a small umbrella in your purse.
Locals jokingly say that the mosquito is Louisiana’s state bird, and these pesky bugs cannot be ignored. If you are venturing out from the city into smaller rural areas or onto the water, you will want to be prepared. Bring along repellant and apply before sunset when mosquitos are most active.
The key to packing light is to use packing cubes to compress your clothing as shown in this video!
One of the things I love about New Orleans is that anything goes. In many cities black is the unofficial uniform. Wear anything else and you will gain attention, which may not always be desirable when you are traveling. In New Orleans, you can wear your most outrageous outfit and you will never be alone. So pack your brightest and boldest clothes with confidence to a trip to the city.
Before you leave be sure to check if there are any festivals or events happening when you visit. The city loves any excuse for a party so chances are good that you will find one. When planning what to wear in New Orleans keep in mind that many of these events are themed so you will want to have the proper attire to attend the Red Dress Run or White Linen Night.
If you aren’t coming for the music then it’s definitely for the food. Maybe it’s both, but either way you will want to have a little extra space in your pants and luggage. One for all of the good eating, and the second for cookbooks, mixes, and spices you will want to bring home.
OUR RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Rathbone Mansions, a small, boutique hotel just a few blocks outside of the French Quarter.
Travel Outfit Ideas
It’s a fabulous and fun city that will be easy to enjoy if you come ready for it. Even if you forget all of these tips and end up a sweaty sticky mosquito bitten hot mess, you are still bound to have a great trip!
What are your tips on what to wear in New Orleans? Please share it below!
For more North America packing tips, please read:
- The Southern Californian Guide on What to Pack for Disneyland
- What to Wear when Visiting Utah National Parks
- What to Pack for Seattle: A Local’s Approved Packing Guide
- What to Wear to Coachella Music Festival
Suggested Travel Resources:
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Author Bio: Niki is an interior designer and artist from Louisiana. In addition to her design work, she writes for local and online publications sharing her experiences and passion for travel. Niki is currently adding stamps to her passport while building her design practice, Niki Landry Designs. nikilandry.com nikilandrydesigns niki-landry-designs-llc
Attending an outdoor wedding at The Elms on St. Charles at 6:00. currently, at 3 o’clock the heat index is 102°.
Is there anyway to dress comfortably inappropriately for a formal wedding in this heat and humidity?
Cotton and floaty – – hope that is appropriate.
Dress it up with beautiful jewelry and dressy shoes 😉
I agree that cool, cool, cool is the key! We southern women know how to be cool but still chic. Bright colors for sure and accessories that stand out!
Glad you agree 🙂
After many years in Louisiana and Georgia, I can add that cotton is the best material, and anything you wear should be loose and floaty. Think peasant blouses or maxi dresses. The extreme humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, so anything body conscious will feel like being wrapped in cellophane. Even the “technical” polyesters that athletes use make me feel like I’m wearing plastic. Also, keep a thin, light shrug in your day bag – the air conditioning inside is often FRIGID.
Thanks Marjorie! Great tips 🙂
I agree… most restaurants etc are quite cold and I often bring a light jacket or long sweater … or a cape for evening. In many venues, the a c can be very cold.
The best way to see New Orleans is on foot or bike (we have no hills!) Our sidewalks aren’t always in the best shape, so leave the stilettos at home and pack comfortable flats or wedges. And don’t forget your sunscreen, especially if you are hitting up a festival.