Mardi Gras is my all-time, hands-down favorite time of the year!
My parents tell me that I took to the Mardi Gras beat very quickly at my first parade when I was four-years-old, and I look forward to the holiday each and every year. I’m so lucky my family is from New Orleans and that I grew up celebrating Mardi Gras, because I can’t imagine a year without it. Over the years, I have learned tips to comfortably making it through parades and balls, and my Mardi Gras style has evolved to include lots of color, sequins and costumes! Whether you are celebrating in New Orleans, Baton Rouge or anywhere else, here are a few Mardi Gras essentials to keep in mind when planning what to pack.
— MARDI GRAS ESSENTIALS LIST —
COMFY MARDI GRAS SHOES
This is probably the most important thing to think about when you are putting together your outfit to go out to the parades. Once we start parading, we typically don’t get home until much later in the night (or very early the next morning!) You can walk MILES and MILES during Mardi Gras, so comfortable footwear is essential. No one wants blisters or sore feet on day one when you are just getting started. Tennis shoes are my go-to option or a pair of boots that I wouldn’t mind if they got a little messy. Whatever you choose – make sure they are closed toe!
Louisiana weather is extremely unpredictable and varies each year during Mardi Gras. Throughout the years I have experienced every type of weather – freezing, wet, sweating – and have worn every type of outfit – shorts, winter coats, tank tops, etc. Packing a light layer while you are out and about can save the day! It’s perfect if you are out all morning and afternoon and it gets chilly in the evening, or if an unexpected rain shower pops up. This lululemon bomber is my favorite, because it doesn’t wrinkle when it’s stuffed in a bag to be used later.
MARDI GRAS BACKPACK
I have written about my affinity for backpacks when it comes to traveling, and my love for them continues during Mardi Gras. You definitely want to wear a hands-free bag while you are out parading, and a backpack can hold everything you might need for a full day out of the house. This one from lululemon is my current favorite, and I bought this Herschel one for my brothers to use for parades and festivals. Both are easy to clean, which is a major plus. I downsize my wallet and only carry the basics, including my driver’s license, credit card and some cash. Other essentials to pack include phone chargers, sunglasses, light jacket, hand sanitizer, koozies, to-go cups, wigs and props.
MARDI GRAS FLAIR
Mardi Gras is all about celebrating, uniqueness and FUN! It’s the perfect time of year to try out some daring styles, new outfits and anything you would normally not wear. It’s fun to be bright, different accessories to switch it up each day. I also love to pack props to bring out at random times during the day. These can include a set of tiny hands, microphones, different types of headgear, fun glasses and anything else that I think will make people laugh during the day.
EXTRA MARDI GRAS ESSENTIALS TIPS & TRICKS
CHECK THE FORECAST:
This goes back to the layers above…you never know, so it’s better to be prepared than uncomfortable.
WEAR MINIMAL JEWELRY:
While out at parades, you will end up wearing beads that you catch, so there is no need to wear additional jewelry from home. Sometimes I will only wear my wedding band and not my diamond, because who knows what can fly off your hands while yelling for throws! Better safe than sorry on this one. My brother lost his college ring while riding in Endymion and had me on the ground of the Superdome in a ball gown at 1:00 a.m. looking for it…we never found it. Don’t be like my brother.
NO SUNDAYS BEST:
Sequins, yes! Expensive outfits and accessories, no! Don’t wear anything that you would be devastated to mess up.
And, always remember that Mardi Gras is the most wonderful time of the year, so have all the fun, eat all the food and drink all the drinks!