New Orleans has never been a fashion city in the same way as New York City, Los Angeles, or Miami, but that does not mean that the Big Easy lacks style. While America’s most populous cities are cultural centers associated with high-fashion, New Orleans retains a much more authentic and traditional style that pays homage to the city’s storied past and rich heritage. If you are a lifelong New Orleanian, you likely own many of these must-have New Orleans clothing items and accessories, but if you are a recent transplant or first-time visitor you should take note.
Seersucker is closely associated with the southern gentleman aesthetic, but the fabric can and is worn by both men and women. The breathable, puckered cotton fabric has New Orleans roots and its popularity endures in the Crescent City. New Orleans gentlemen wear seersucker suits to many spring and summer events throughout the city, and women frequently sport seersucker skirts and blazers. No New Orleans wardrobe is complete without at least one piece of seersucker.
No New Orleanian’s wardrobe can be complete without seersucker, but what if you want something a little more subtle and modern chic than the traditional seersucker image? Linen is a popular fabric among New Orleans men and women due to its breathability and light weight. Linen suits, shorts, pants, skirts, and dresses are New Orleans fashion staples.
New Orleans Neckwear
A New Orleans-themed tie is a great way of showing civic pride around town and can also serve as a great conversation piece for tourists once they return home. NOLA Couture and Pelican Coast are two of the more prominent purveyors of ties with Louisiana motifs. For an extra touch of Uptown New Orleans, consider a bow-tie from one of these tie makers.
Perlis Mardi Gras Rugby
The Perlis Mardi Gras rugby polo is a staple of the Carnival parade route. Locals of all demographics show their New Orleans pride by wearing Perlis’ iconic shirt on both the neutral ground side and the sidewalk side.
The Crawfish Polo
The Mardi Gras rugby is a fashion staple for local Carnival-goers and those who love New Orleans, but what if you want something a little more subtle and suitable for daily wear year-round? Perlis also makes a full line of crawfish polos in an assortment of colors to add a splash of Louisiana pride to your wardrobe where you would normally find cookie-cutter shirts from Ralph Lauren’s Polo brand or LaCoste.
New Orleans Graphic Tees
New Orleans people love clever sayings and have a sense of humor like no other so it should come as no surprise that the city has plenty of enterprising young people running stores that sell great graphic tees. Do not confuse these NOLA civic pride shirts with the gauche offerings found on Bourbon Street. If you want a quality tee shirt with a truly New Orleans expression on it, check out Storyville Apparel, Dirty Coast, Fleurty Girl, or Jean Therapy.
Fleur de Lis/Water Meter Cuff Links and Stud Sets
The Fleur de Lis is a strong symbol of New Orleans and Louisiana pride and gives gentlemen a subtle way of showing love for the region. Go the extra step by purchasing a matching stud set and you will be ready for a Mardi Gras ball. New Orleans’ iconic water meter covers have inspired countless pieces of home décor and jewelry but nothing is more closely associated with a true NOLA gentleman than a pair of water meter cuff links.
Formalwear: Bowtie and Cummerbund Sets
Okay, so maybe your formal wardrobe needs a bit more New Orleans flavor than just Fleur de Lis cuff links and shirt studs. A cummerbund and matching bow tie in purple, green, and gold, or with a New Orleans motif can help you show your love of the Big Easy in even the swankiest of settings.
New Orleans-inspired Jewelry for Women
Mignon Faget is the leading designer of New Orleans-themed jewelry. Her bracelets, rings, pendants, and charms all reflect different New Orleans icons and many of her pieces are subtle reflections of the city’s unique character that beg for a closer look. Visit one of her stores and buy yourself, or a special lady, a piece of New Orleans that can be worn anywhere.
Krewe du Optic Sunglasses
Krew du Optic’s glasses are as timeless as New Orleans itself. These sunglasses are designed in New Orleans and while the frames exude classic style, they do so with subtle yet noticeable details that give off a certain attitude that just seems to fit the city that care forgot. The New Orleans-based optics company names each of its frames after the city’s iconic streets and neighborhoods including the Lower Garden District, Toulouse, and the Fly.
More from this contributor:
The Top Four Dive Bars in New Orleans, Louisiana
A Guide to Preppy Clothes: Going Beyond Polo and J Crew
Summer Clothes: Four Alternatives to Seersucker Suits and Sport Coats