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What to Wear at French Quarter Fest: Guide to Festival Fashion

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Attending the French Quarter Festival is perfect for wearing cute festival outfits while in New Orleans. I don’t know about you, but it is always a good idea to wear fun clothes during the festival season. 

Like most of New Orleans, the festival is a showcase of local music and cuisine and an occasion where self-expression through clothing is highly encouraged. Good News – one of the first things you will want to know is that comfort is critical. From the random rainstorms to dancing in the streets of the French Quarter, you will want to make sure you have fashionable and comfortable clothes. 

Considering New Orleans’ warm climate, light and breathable fabrics are advisable. Grab a pair of comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely spend hours on your feet exploring everything from the music stages to the food vendors.

Festival Attire vs New Orleans Style

When attending the French Quarter Festival – the largest free festival in New Orleans – your attire can be a fun mixture of festive and classic New Orleans fashion. As someone who has lived here my entire life, here’s a guide to blending in with the locals while embracing the festival spirit:

Festival Essentials

Breathable Fabrics: French Quarter Fest is generally warm with some cool evenings – you will want to pack your cotton, linen, and other breathable fabrics while attending the Annual French Quarter Festival. Wear loose-fitting clothes, so you have room for all of the festival food you are about to eat! 

Bright Colors: It’s spring, y’all! Of course, festival attendees will wear brightly colored shirts and dresses. You may even see a few patterned shirts from Jazz Fest.

Comfortable Clothing: A T-shirt paired with shorts or long skirts is practical for moving around freely and enjoying the festivities. A Local Favorite t-shirt shop to buy cute New Orleans Shirts is Fleurty Girl, Dirty Coast, and New Orleans T-shirt of the Month. 

Comfortable Shoes: From dancing on Bourbon Street through Jackson Square, you will want to ensure you have the right shoes. I typically wear sandals or closed-toe tennis shoes, depending on how much walking I plan to do at the festival. 

Something you can sit in: longer dresses, skirts, and shorts are the easiest to wear at the festival. If you do not bring a chair, you may become tired and want to sit on the ground. You will have so much fun at French Quarter Fest if you can rest briefly. 

You can bike in Pretty much the same thing as something you can sit in, but if you decide to rent a blue bike to get around, you will want to make sure you can actually sit on the bike. 

Hands-free bag: Make sure to opt for a hands-free bag to keep your essentials safe and your hands free for food and drinks. The hands-free bag will also come in handy when dancing to live music in Crescent City! Ensure the bag and external battery charger are big enough for your cell phone. 

Glitter: You can always have a great thing; glitter is the perfect way to jazz up your festival outfit. 

Lady wearing seersucker and holding a drink

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New Orleans Flair

For daytime exploration, a floral sundress and sandals showcase the casual yet stylish atmosphere of the French Quarter.

Embrace the local style with a hipster touch in the jazz clubs. A dark, moody setting invites you to style your jeans with a cool top and a leather jacket.

You can always buy some of the official gear while you are at French Quarter Fest – if you love one of their branded t-shirts, there is no reason you cannot wear it at the feet!

Tips for Both Styles

Always prepare for weather shifts with a lightweight jacket or a mini umbrella. The spring isn’t like the New Orleans Summer, but a shower or two are known to pop up. 

Opt for a hands-free bag to keep your essentials safe and your hands-free for food and drinks.

Remember, the key is to prioritize both style and comfort. Whether you dip into the local hipster trend or go all-out with festive gear, ensure you’re outfitted to enjoy every moment of the French Quarter Fest.

Semi-waterproof shoes to handle puddles. The Streets of New Orleans are notorious for flooding, so make sure you have shoes that can quickly dry out. 

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What to Wear at French Quarter Fest New Orleans

What to pack in your Festival Bag

A backpack or hands-free bag is perfect for French Quarter Fest, but I suggest adding a few things to the bag. 

Pack Extra Underwear: Everyone looks at me strangely when I say this – but If you have a bag, just pack an extra pair of underwear so you do not have to walk back to one of the French Quarter Hotels to change. Even if it is within walking distance. 

Raingear: A light, packable poncho or waterproof jacket is perfect if you do not want to carry around an umbrella.

Sunscreen: SPF 30 or higher, reapply regularly

Hats: Wide-brimmed for maximum coverage

Sunglasses: UV protection recommended

Bug Spray: We have gigantic mosquitoes in Louisiana. Bug spray is crucial, especially during the evening or in grassy areas near the Mississippi River.

Chapstick: Your lips are prone to sunburn, so choose a chapstick with SPF protection.

Liquid IV: You may get dehydrated after dancing in the sun all day. Grab a couple of Liquid IVs to ensure you are in tip-top shape.

External Cell phone Charger: From looking at the map to taking all of the Instagram photos, you must ensure your phone is always charged.

Cash: Although most booths take credit cards, some are cash only. There are some ATM machines -located around the festival. 

Weather Considerations

The weather for New Orleans Spring is pleasant, but a few factors can go into what you will need to bring. There are a few items you need to make sure you have with you just in case the weather turns from rainstorms to cool and hotter weather. Considering these weather elements, you’ll stay comfortable and enjoy the festival entirely.

A lady making an awkward face after getting caught in the rain

Practical Wear for Day-to-Night Activities

When planning a day out at the French Quarter Festival, remember that the Crescent City is known for its energetic vibe and temperature shifts. Selecting versatile clothing will serve you best as you transition from day to evening enjoyment.

Transitioning From Daytime to Evening

During the day, the French Quarter can be warm, so light, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen are ideal for staying calm. Men could opt for a short-sleeved button-up or a polo shirt paired with chino shorts. Women might enjoy a flowy sundress or a comfortable top with shorts. For both, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat can offer protection from the sun and add a touch of style.

As the evening approaches, you’ll want to adjust for the cooler air and possibly dressier venues. Keep a lightweight jacket or wrap that can be easily carried or tied around the waist during the day. Footwear should be versatile, such as stylish yet comfortable sandals for women or nice tennis shoes for men, able to navigate cobblestone streets and dance floors alike.

Accessories can be both functional and fashionable. A small, secure crossbody bag can keep personal items safe. At the same time, you enjoy the festivities, and a watch or simple jewelry can escalate your look for the evening. Remember, the French Quarter Festival is casual yet vibrant, so embrace the festive atmosphere.

Should I Wear Purple, Green, and Gold?

When gearing up for the French Quarter Fest in New Orleans, you might wonder if incorporating purple, green, and gold into your outfit is necessary. The answer is a resounding NO! Purple, Green, and Gold are Mardi Gras Colors, and even though they may look good together during Carnival Season, they do not typically look great together outside of Mardi Gras. 

what to wear in new orleans mardi gras season

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