What to Wear in New Orleans to be Cool, Cute & Comfy

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Corner of Royal Street balcony in New Orleans

Best known for Mardi Gras revelry, Bourbon Street jazz and a Big Easy attitude, a visit to New Orleans calls for keeping cool and comfy. Luckily, New Orleans is a judgment-free zone so if you have ever wanted to try a new look while on vacation, here is your chance. The key is showing off your personality and flair while keeping it comfortable. We’ve put these looks together with the goal to keep you comfortable yet stylish and ready for any photo opp.

Keep those carry ons rolling to New Orleans for everything from Mardi Gras, strolls around the French Quarter, a night out on Bourbon Street, cheering on the Saints in their hometown or a family trip to the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium.

Planning your NOLA wardrobe with layers in mind is the easiest way to make sure you can transition throughout the day while keeping your bags light. Add these items to your New Orleans packing list to get you through all aspects of sightseeing in Louisiana’s favorite city.

Daytime in New Orleans: Athleisure

If you haven’t been to New Orleans before, it can be verrrrrrry humid, especially during the summer months. If your plan is to hit the day running, literally, through the Garden District, French Quarter or along the Mississippi River, start with some lightweight moisture-wicking shorts or leggings.

We like these shorts from Amazon because the price point is perfect, they come in so many fun colors and the high and wide waistband is very flattering and comfortable. The zipper pocket is a plus!

Pair with a racer back crop – this one comes with four colors per package. With the high-rise waist of the shorts and this crop top length, you’ll be cool and comfortable while still being covered.

If you prefer a looser top, try this one from Target. If cropped-style workout tanks aren’t for you, Old Navy has a 3 pack of full length ribbed racer back tanks.

Add Layers for Cool Weather

During the cooler months, start with Lululemon’s Fast and Free tights, which still pair nicely with the Amazon racer back crop tank top. Then throw on a top layer like this if you need a little extra warmth. I like the Lululemon Define jacket because it is warm, yet lightweight.

Another option would be Old Navy’s PowerSoft Cropped Full-Zip Performance Jacket for Women or the Breathe ON Slub-Knit Pullover Hoodie for Women.

The athleisure wear look can be centered around a pair of joggers. Try these from American Eagle. They can be worn with any combo of workout tank, t-shirt, sweatshirt or quarter-zip pullover. Joggers are perfect for fall, winter and spring.

Because all of these options come in solid colors, the amount of mixing and matching you can do is almost limitless.

And you don’t have to go running to wear this look. It works for daytime sightseeing with the goal of staying cool and comfortable.

Take advantage of the fanny pack comeback and enjoy having both of your hands free while sightseeing with this Amazon fanny pack. We suggest wearing it like a crossbody bag.

Shoes in the 3 Cs: Cute, Comfortable and Casual

Comfortable shoes are a must for this super walkable city.

These Josi Sneakers by Sam Edelman are the heart of most of my vacation outfits these days, especially when a lot of walking is involved. They are cute and stylish while being incredibly comfortable for walking around NOLA no matter the season. They are versatile and work if I’m going casual in denim or feeling playful in a dress or romper.

Here’s a cute and casual sneaker alternative from Target at a budget-friendly price point.

Outdoor Sitting at Cafe du Monde New Orleans
Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro

What to Wear with Sneakers

I do not travel without my pair of casual lace-up sneakers. You just can’t beat a pair of walking shoes, especially when they are this cute. Here are a few things I pair them with:

Dresses

This Amazon dress comes in so many prints and solid colors and sizes to XL. It is easy and breezy and would be perfect for a hot day, but comes in plenty of perfect colors for fall. It also comes in a dark yellow color that would be great if you found yourself in the Big Easy on game day (Go Saints!).

This smocked midi dress is flattering for all body types and works great if you are starting your day at Cafe Du Monde for beignets before strolling around Jackson Square and the French Quarter. This dress could be dressed up or down based on accessories and between the three colors would be a staple for any season. Change into a block heel like this or a wedge and be dinner party ready.

This casual spaghetti strap dress is a winner for visiting the Crescent City in the summer. It’s lightweight, breathable and comfortable when the temps are high.

With more than 40 options of colors and long or short sleeve lengths, you will find what you need with this cute dress.

This cotton flutter sundress is perfect for summer, but the prints available transition straight into fall with ease.

Rompers

A casual romper is just what you want to have packed if you need a break from dresses, but don’t want the hassle of putting together a full outfit. Rompers are so comfortable; there is a reason they often fall into the loungewear category. But in our opinion always look a little more put together!

This dressier romper still fits into the cute and comfortable category, but with the wide boatneck that can be positioned off the shoulder and the keyhole cutout in the back are also flirty enough to hit the New Orleans nightlife scene. This would work on Bourbon Street or at a jazz bar, just like it would work with wedge sandals or class flats like Tory Burch’s Miller Sandal or Steve Madden’s Travel Flats.

When Sneakers Aren’t Enough

If you are looking to dress up your style, try these slide heels. They still have a solid heel so they will be easy to walk in. Block heels like this are another option and would pair nicely with any of the dresses above for a dressy brunch or a dinner date night.

Wedges and espadrilles are another option when dressing up your outfit. Try these wedges. They’re from Tom’s, so you know they will be comfortable. Or try these espadrilles from DSW.

The right pair of sandals can go with any look. Tory Burch’s Miller Sandals are a splurge, but will last for years and won’t go out of style. Steve Madden’s Travel Flats are a little more trendy, but have a better price point. These Steve Madden slides will be easy to throw on with anything, no questions asked.

Add a pair of booties to your packing list like these Pikolinos and you’ll be ready for fall and winter.

trip planner for road trip ideas in the south trip planner Nantahala Outdoor Center
Photo credit: Sarah Ricks

Transition Pieces for Fall and Winter

Packing a neutral cardigan like this one from Nordstrom will help make sure your dress and outfit can be worn all day, any time of year.

A denim jacket is another way to easily transition your outfit throughout the day.  The Old Navy denim jacket is a staple and Levi’s Women’s Original Trucker Jacket comes in different colors and washes.

Complete the Look

Getting back to the idea of trying a new look while in the Big Easy, try throwing a fedora on with your different outfits. A felt hat like this one from Madewell is great for winter. It makes doing your hair a breeze and accelerates any look. A straw hat like this one from J.Crew that folds up easily in your bag is great idea for summer.

If you are in town for a Saint’s game, check out this stadium-compliant fanny pack while repping the home team.


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