I'm a NYC Editor Who Just Traveled to New Orleans—Here's Everything I Wore

Two emotions in life are tied for me as top-tier life experiences. One is being the magic of unearthing a hidden gem while shopping, and the other being the wonder that overcomes you while traveling. You can then understand why packing for a vacation is something that I consider an almost sacred act. Maybe that makes me a tad bit dramatic, but if we're all being honest here, nothing can ruin a trip faster than packing wrong. That moment when you realize the shoes you packed are far too uncomfortable? Dreadful. When you make the rookie mistake of packing outfits that scream "tourist," and it makes you a target for pickpocketers or side-eyes from the natives? Embarrassing, to say the least. Knowing what to pack is a skill set that takes time and miles to perfect.

And while I've made mistakes from time to time, a recent short trip to New Orleans reminded me of how my packing skills and ability to suss out the best places to stay and the best things to do have improved over time. I not only managed to become enamored with NOLA, but I survived the summer humidity by packing only a carry-on for three days (yes, really). So ahead, I'm sharing what I wore while in New Orleans and my guide to where to stay, what to do, and what to pack for your own trip. Whether you're planning on visiting the city or just want travel outfit ideas, you'll find ample inspiration ahead. 

Where to Stay

WHERE: Hotel Peter & Paul 

Regarding traveling, I'm just as picky about where to stay as I am about what to pack. For a short three-day trip to New Orleans, I wanted to pick somewhere that paid homage to the rich history of New Orleans, so I Ianded on Hotel Peter & Paul. Situated in the historically creole neighborhood, Marigny, this boutique hotel used to be a church, convent, schoolhouse, and rectory. But after Hurricane Katrina, renowned developers restored the grounds and filled the space with antiques from around the world to make each room different.

The result is a space that's truly special, which made choosing which room to stay in a challenge. I landed on booking a room in the rectory, and I'm so happy I did. The room was a fashion girl's dream—a vintage hung over a French daybed, luxurious red curtains create a cozy canopy bed, and the shower rivaled a spa sauna. If that weren't enough, there's a cute hotel restaurant and bar downstairs serving heavenly food. Basically, if you want to travel like an editor, I can't sing higher praises for staying here. 

What to Do

When deciding what to do while visiting New Orleans, there are ample possibilities which is why I recommend choosing what you want the vibe of the trip to be and tempering it based on the time of year you're visiting. If you're visiting as I did in the middle of summer, plan on doing less than you think you will (because it's far too hot to walk around all day in the humidity). Don't be afraid to embrace that slow Southern pace, because if you do, you'll find that you'll be charmed by all this city has to offer. I also recommend researching the neighborhood you're staying in, restaurants, and bars, as you'll want to know beforehand what you want to see/eat/do while in town. There's so much New Orleans has to offer, but below I'm sharing a few spots and activities that were the highlight of my trip.  

Best cup of coffee:  The Orange Couch

Luckily for me, this local shop was located right by my hotel and happened to serve up craft coffee. It's a cute spot with outdoor seating and excellent service. 

Best meal: Bywater American Bistro

This was my last meal while in New Orleans, and it did not disappoint. Created by one of the best chefs in the city, the menu champions cajun and creole flavors served up in a chic and cozy art-adorned interior. 

Best free activity: Walking the French Quarter 

Yes, this area is touristy, but it's a rite of passage if you're in New Orleans. Just give yourself ample time to weave through the colorful streets, and pack great walking shoes. 

Best museum: New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

As a New Yorker, I'm spoiled with incredible art museums, which can make me a bit jaded when traveling elsewhere. However, NOLA's largest museum did not disappoint. With famous works and an excellent curation of BIPOC artists, it's a must-see for art lovers. 

Best place to shop: United Apparel Liquidators

Every editor I know who has visited New Orleans at one point or another will tell you that the best place for fashion fanatics to shop is U.A.L., as it has hidden designer gems at insanely discounted prices. I managed to find stunning Staud sandals and Proenza Schouler loafers for half the retail price, so you know it's for real. 

What I Wore

Look #1
A fashion editor's guide to New Orelans, what to pack for trip to NOLA

Photo:

@fashionwithjazz; PICTURED: Velvet Canyon Zou Bisou Sunglasses ($239); Cult Gaia Gwyneth Earring ($148); Fanm Mon Demre Dress ($357); Staud Raspberry Moon Bag ($295); Zara Sandals.

For the first day, I wanted to pack something I could throw on easily after an early morning flight and look fabulous. I opted for this full-length Fanm Mon dress styled with Cult Gaia beaded flower earrings, a Staud red shoulder bag, and Zara flip-flops. I wore this look to walk around the French Quarter, and I kid you not, I had over fifty people coming up to me complimenting my outfit.

By the end of the evening, my partner was over the number of people stopping me to ask about my dress. And while admittedly, packing a maxi dress for a short getaway seems mad, considering how many compliments I got on this look, it made it well worth the space in my carry-on and the subsequent eye-rolls from my partner. The one caveat to this look is that keeping the train of the dress clean wasn't easy in the humidity, so that's something to keep in mind if you're thinking of packing a similar look for your own trip to New Orleans. 

Re-create the look:

Opt for a minidress version to stay cool in the humidity and keep the white linen fabric clean while walking around. 

I cannot sing higher praises for this handbag. I not only pack it for trips, but I wear it all the time at home too. 

I had so many people compliment me on these earrings that they basically paid for themselves. 

My exact sandals are sold out, but these ones are just as cute. 

That NOLA humidity is no joke, so trust me when I say you will not regret having a little hand fan in your purse. 

Look #2
A fashion editor's guide to New Orelans, what to wear in New Orleans

Photo:

@fashionwithjazz; PICTURED: Jacquemus Earrings; Staud Delmore Cutout Faux Leather-Trimmed Linen Halterneck Dress ($325); Yuzefi Small Woven Faux Leather Basket Handbag ($490); Vince Camuto Sandals.

For the second day, I wanted to wear a look that adhered to my ultimate packing rule; Every piece must be able to be styled at least two different ways. Picking a dress that can be styled with flats to walk around New Orleans's museums or styled with heels to try a new restaurant in the Bywater district was of the utmost importance to me, so I landed on this Staud dress. What I loved about wearing this dress in NOLA is that it was not only so comfortable in the summer heat, but it blended beautifully with all the incredible architecture in the city. 

Re-create the look:

While my exact Jacquemus earrings are now sold out, these are a chic alternative. 

I'm a sucker for a Staud dress, and this one was well worth buying for the trip.  

Ever since I bought this bag, I've worn it nonstop. It's perfect for a vacation or everyday wear. 

My exact heels are sold out, but these sandals are just as cute. 

Look #3
A fashion editor's guide to New Orelans, what to pack for trip to Louisiana

Photo:

@fashionwithjazz; Pictured: Indy Sunglasses Talk to Me Nice ($65); SVNR Jingdezhen Earrings ($150); Who What Wear Collection Dress; Staud Sandals

My advice for anyone traveling to New Orleans (especially during the summer) is to pack at least a straightforward linen dress you can throw on for a hot day, as it's the easiest way to look put-together without breaking a sweat. By the third day, the NOLA humidity was low-key killing me. Luckily, I had planned to pack this simple Who What Wear Collection white linen mini dress, and I paired it with newly bought Staud flip-flops. I also knew I wanted to spice up the dress, so I rewore my Yuzefi bag and added mismatched earrings from SVNR and fun sunglasses from Indy. When in doubt, a basic dress with fun accessories will always work—no matter the destination. 

Re-create the look:

I always love to pack at least one pair of statement sunglasses in case I'm feeling extra one day, and these came in handy when I wanted to spice up a simple white dress. 

My exact dress is sold out, but this is a cute alternative. 

I swear by packing a pair of statement earrings as they can elevate any look and be worn throughout the trip. 

Look #4
A fashion editor's guide to New Orelans, what to wear in the summer in the south

Photo:

@fashionwithjazz; PICTURED: Velvet Canyon Zou Bisou Sunglasses ($239); Jacquemus Earrings; Ganni Dress;  Yuzefi Small Woven Faux Leather Basket Handbag ($490); Tory Burch Eleanor Slide ($298)

I wanted to wear something as colorful as New Orleans on the last day, so I landed on this chain-printed dress from Ganni. I followed my packing protocol and paired it with pieces I had already worn (aka my Yuzefi tote bag, Tory Burch slides, Jacquemus earrings, and Velvet Canyon sunglasses). For me, this look encapsulated what it means to pack properly, melding function and fashion while paying homage to where you're at in the world.

Maybe it was the countless naps, the scrumptious seafood, or the fact that I could pull off packing only a carry-on for this trip, but for a high-strung New Yorker to leave New Orleans to feel like they eased into the charming southern tempo is nothing short of a successful journey. 

Re-create the look:

Sadly, my Ganni dress is sold out, but this dress is just as gorgeous. 

These are the sunglasses I wear everyday (even on vacation). 

Chic flat sandals are a must-pack, in my opinion. 

What Else to Pack

Pro tip: Wear a loose dress on the airplane to keep comfortable and look chic. 

My one shoe regret was wearing white sandals. Don't make my mistake, I beg you. 

This beaded tote is giving NOLA energy in the best way possible. 

An upcoming vacation is a perfect excuse to treat yourself to a designer pair of sunglasses. 

I never leave home without a great chain necklace. 

Pair this with shorts, flats, and fun jewelry for a more casual look. 

If you want to pack shorts, I recommend choosing a lightweight linen pair over denim as they'll keep you cool. 

Even when I'm traveling, I never want to look like a cliché tourist, so I choose to avoid packing sneakers. How exactly do I get around this? By packing a pair of ballet flats. 

I recommend packing at least one pair of hoop earrings that you can wear throughout the trip. 

I packed this dress for a dinner look but didn't end up wearing it. That being said, having at least one dress you can wear for a more formal setting is a must. 

These are begging to go on vacation. 

You can wear this as a shoulder bag or crossbody, making it ideal for packing for a trip. 

Just in case you're still looking for the perfect maxi dress to pack for your upcoming trip. 

You can wear these slides out on an adventure or by the pool. 

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