What to wear to Mardi Gras: Costuming FAQs

Wondering what to wear to Mardi Gras? The answer is easy: Anything you want! Just make it fun. 

Costuming is our favorite part of the holiday, and we’ve been at it for a looooong time. (We even teach workshops on making the perfect headdress!) Feathers, sequins, boas and beads. There’s no such thing as “too extra.” And “over the top” is just right in our book! 

So how do you join in the fun? We gathered our best tips, essential costuming hacks and top shops to help you decide what to wear to Mardi Gras. We can’t wait to see what you put together!

Just a few of our Mardi Gras looks from over the years.

Light it up: Parties go 24-7 during Mardi Gras. Turn that cute costume into a day-to-night look with a few sets of fairy lights (like these). Pro-tip: The lithium battery variety is much lighter in a headdress. 

Never heels: Yes, you look amazing in those shoes! But unless they’re flats or low wedges take them off your feet right now. You will walk and dance (and stumble) more than you expect this week, and our streets are no place for cute shoes. 

Crotch holes: Peeing during Mardi Gras is a challenge, and never more so than when you’re in a pair of tights layered under hot pants or a romper. Cutting a hole in the crotch of your tights will let you pee without taking off your entire outfit. 

Biodegradable glitter: Mardi Gras is in no way environmentally friendly, but we’re working on it. Elektra Cosmetics is a local company that makes biodegradable body glitter you can feel good about! 

Hot glue and safety pins: Sewing machine? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Half of Mardi Gras is held together with hot glue and safety pins. Throw a few pins in your bag just in case, and big props to anyone who packs their glue gun!

Fanny packs are cool again: Thank god! It’s really the only option for stashing your stuff and staying hands free.

Don’t wear necklaces to a parade: You’re about to get blinged out more than you could ever imagine, and when you take your beads off you might accidentally take off the real jewels.

Now that you’ve got your costume(s) sorted, come show off at one of these must-see Mardi Gras parades!

Bigger is better. If your friends can see you over the crowd you’re less likely to get lost.

What to wear to Mardi Gras: Shopping 101

Here’s where we go for wigs, accessories, crafting essentials and every other sequined-and-bedazzled costume item you can imagine.

Fifi Mahoney’s (934 Royal St.) – Great for wigs, fascinators and outrageous baubles.

Glitter Box N.O. (1109 Royal St.) – Local, femme makers crafting flashy earrings, headwear, hot pants and more.

No Rules Fashion (927 Royal St. / 1208 St. Charles) – A go-to for head-to-toe looks and festival gear.

Dirty Coast (713 Royal St / 5631 Magazine St. / 1320 Magazine St.) – THE place for local pride, creative Ts and other gear repping Mardi Gras.

Fringe and Company (Online and pop ups) – Head wraps and attire made with tassels, lamé, sequins and everything fabulous.

Funky Monkey (3127 Magazine St.) – Wild vintage and contemporary finds.

Fun Rock’n & Pop City (French Quarter & Uptown locations) – Chill Nola-branded Ts and swag at Pop City; tutus, masks and novelties at Fun Rock’n.

NOLA Craft Culture (127 S. Solomon St.) – Learn how to DIY your Mardi Gras look and pick up the BEST glitter.

Jefferson Variety (239 Iris Ave.) – Find fabric and feathers at this local institution.

Buffalo Exchange (4119 Magazine St.) – It’s 2020, y’all. Upcycle!

Upcoming costuming events!

Scroll below for a list of pop up shops and costume exchanges!

Costumes are appropriate all the time in New Orleans. Come make headdresses with us anytime of year!

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