When talking about New Orleans fashion, it isn’t just about the clothes. New Orleans is a way of life, a spirit. There is a certain joie de vivre about the people and everything about the city. I arrived the Sunday of the French Quarter Jazz Festival. It seems like every other week there is some kind of festival in New Orleans. Even when I went in the week or weekend not during a festival, the people and atmosphere are vibrant and have that back-beat cool. There are always street performers and artists on every block, painting, playing chess, a guitar, sax, or miming.
People in New Orleans express their love of eccentricity and tradition with their clothing. If there is one uniform in New Orleans, it is the hat. The hat of New Orleans is the fedora. Jazz musicians wear fedoras as they play in dark smoky bars, revelers wear them as they walk through the parades, and residents wear them while sitting on their front porch reading a newspaper. And if you are looking for a truly original hat, go to Fleur de Paris on Royal Street. This is a couture French millinery, which specializes in marvelous hats worn by local society women and celebrities the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Madonna.
The next generation of New Orleans continues the funky vibe by mixing and matching vintage. A treasure trove of unique pieces by young designers is the Decatur St. Exchange. The pieces here are all made by local designers and have a deconstructed multicolor look. Definitely go check this place out.
Whatever you wear in New Orleans, it has to be worn with a party attitude. After all, Mardis Gras beads are available here year round. Laissez le bon temps roulez!