What to wear to Mardi Gras

What to wear to Mardi Gras

Explore our fashion guide to Mardi Gras wear! From beads & sequins to feathers & hats, curate your Mardi Gras outfit that embraces the spirit of New Orleans.

Mardi Gras, the jubilant carnival rooted in New Orleans, transcends mere celebration—and this is coming from folks who know a thing or two about celebrating! We love Mardi Gras fashion because the whole event is a vibrant tapestry woven with history, culture, and the lively spirit of life itself. Originating from French traditions and evolving into an extravagant spectacle in New Orleans, Mardi Gras invites you to immerse yourself in a world of color, music, and unbridled joy. The fashion and costumes that surround the holiday live up to that bright spectacle in every way imaginable. Whether this is your first time celebrating Mardi Gras or you just want to step up your Mardi Gras wear this year, we’re here to help you get ready. From walks on Bourbon Street to elegant Masquerade balls, there’s a juicy style experiment ready for you to tap in.

Welcome to Mardi Gras: A Symphony of Self-Expression Where Anything Goes

First things first: when tapping into the world of Mardi Gras wear, put your fashion rule book on the shelf. We said what we said… literally anything goes here. So if there is something a little ‘out there’ you’ve been wanting to play around with, this is a perfect opportunity to get funky and watch how openly it’ll be embraced!

A vibrant canvas for self-expression, going to Mardi Gras is an epic display of both sonic and visual wonder. The culture was born from the infectious rhythm of New Orleans jazz—a musical tradition that infuses itself in Mardi Gras fashion, ensuring garments move and groove with the heartbeat of the celebration.

But as beautiful as that freedom of expression is, the open-ended limitlessness of the assignment is also what can make it a bit tricky to know where to start. If that feeling resonates with you, here is a collection of unique party outfits curated specifically for Mardi Gras clothing madness—take a look and see if that gets the juices flowing! In a myriad of feathered costumes, masks, and beads, this style journey is going to be all about letting tradition and imagination find a place to meet in the middle, inspiring the perfect ensemble that encapsulates your unique Mardi Gras style.

The Color and Shine of the Mardi Gras Spirit

Let’s get into some classic visual cues of the Mardi Gras spirit. You’ll probably notice the Mardi Gras wear color palette—resplendent in the signature purple, green, and gold—creates a visual feast that mirrors the festive atmosphere. The official Mardi Gras colors date all the way back to 1872 when they were selected for their regal nature. Then, in the 1892 Rex Parade, each was given a meaning to honor the theme of celebration that year: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. Over a century later, as the traditions carry on and continue flourishing in new, fun ways, the presence of these three colors placed together just screams ‘Mardi Gras’.

Beyond that, you’ll notice a lot of something that could be considered a Mardi Gras color of its own: sparkle. If you’re into sequins, Mardi Gras is without a doubt your holiday. We love seeing how people style maximalist sequin jackets like these for the occasion. There’s just something so healing about watching grown-ups play dress up in men’s sequin jackets and for that to be, for the occasion, actually quite tame. And while we venture into the garment and accessory texture themes of the legendary party… as with many carnivals, you’ll see the wild energy manifesting in an over-the-top display of feathers. Check out some great feather outfits perfect for the carnival energy if that’s your vibe.

Whether you opt for a color-themed outfit, a full-blown feathered costume, or a sparkly little something inspired by the lively jazz rhythms of New Orleans, let these vivid hues and aesthetic traditions light the way to your personal take on Mardi Gras wear.

Tailoring Your Style to the Occasion

Because there is so much going on in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, it isn’t really a one-style-guide-fits-all occasion. As you prepare your Mardi Gras fashion and get packing, you’ll want to get organized by the event. Consider what your particular plans are and assign the perfect ‘fit to each one. For example…

There are a lot of themed parties and parades. This one is probably going to be the most obvious example of what to wear to different Mardi Gras events and how to dress accordingly (dress to the theme)! But themed parades also offer a unique opportunity to showcase your creativity. Embrace the theme with your outfit, becoming a living work of art that complements the colorful floats and adds an extra layer of excitement to the festivities.

Maybe you're getting ready for something more simple like a stroll down Bourbon Street. The iconic walk calls for a blend of comfort and New Orleans chic style. Opt for Mardi Gras wear that allows you to navigate the bustling streets with ease. Then, dress it up with beds and accessories—ensuring you're ready for the spontaneous dance parties that may erupt around every corner.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have formal Mardi Gras Balls. Formal balls during Mardi Gras call for an elevated approach. If you’re attending one, immerse yourself in the grandeur of the occasion with suits, tailcoats, or gowns that capture the timeless elegance synonymous with this extravagant celebration. And also… check your invitation for a dress code. That’ll help guide you on what to wear to Mardi Gras.

Comfort is Key: Dance All Night, Strut All Day

Okay friends, we’re putting on our practical hats for a second. Mari Gras fashion is a huge, beautiful aspect of the event, but if it’s distracting you from actually enjoying the experience, you’ve missed the mark. In order to really understand the Mardi Gras wear assignment, remember to prioritize comfort.

Let’s talk shoes: they’re always one of the first things on our minds when it comes to setting yourself up for success from the ground up. Ideally, you’ll be dancing through the festivities from morning to night (or in some cases… to morning again). So please, for us, ensure your footwear is comfortable. Boots are a great option that allows you to strut with flair while navigating the crowded streets, protecting those toes while also making every step a statement of fashion-forward flair.

As the night unfolds and temperatures dip, stay warm with some fun layers. Consider those aforementioned sequin jackets and feathered blazers as the perfect choice. It’s an opportunity to add another show-stopping touch of glamour to your already fabulous Mardi Gras ensemble and keep you cozy when it gets chilly out there.

Accessories: The Finishing Touch to Your Mardi Gras Swagger

If you know us here at Love Khaos, you know we’re huge advocates of completing a look with awesome festival accessories. When it comes to Mardi Gras wear, this step is a must. After all, it’s Mardi Gras… more is more, people! Here are some ideas for quintessential Mardi Gras fashion accessories:

Top It Off: Complete your Mardi Gras look with statement hats that elevate your outfit to new heights. Feel free to get a little “costumey” here if your look is asking for something special. Check out our bespoke top hat, master of ceremonies hat, and festival hat to see what we mean. Great headwear could be the crowning glory of your Mardi Gras attire. Just be ready for lots of compliments. ;)

Masks: Mardi Gras and masquerades are inseparable companions, with masks adding an air of mystery and intrigue to any outfit. They’re also a cool way to paint on your signature identity while embodying another beautiful historical tradition of the party.

Beads: Wearing beads for Mardi Gras goes beyond mere ornamentation; it symbolizes a connection to the rich history of Mardi Gras. Lean into this! Let each strand tell a story, and take pride in how they each arrived upon your neck :). We like to think that Madi Gras breads have a way of stringing us all together too, allowing everyone, no matter how totally unique they look, to dive together into the communal celebrations and share in that joyful energy.

Spirited Mardi Gras Wear

Mardi Gras fashion is a celebration of individuality and the vibrant spirit of the festivities. The bottom line as far as we’re concerned is: embrace it! From beads to sequins, hats to masks, let your attire weave a narrative as colorful and enchanting as Mardi Gras itself. Dance, strut, and celebrate in your unique style. Enjoy a carnival of colors that echo the revelry of this iconic occasion.