It's that time of year again– our favorite party is on the horizon and everyone is revving up for a great time at Mardi Gras. You don't have to find yourself on Bourbon Street on February 28th to celebrate– partying in style on Mardi Gras can happen in any town because its traditions is so popular. Before you hit the streets, you'll want to take some time to perfect your Mardi Gras style to really get into the spirit of this great holiday.
Mardi Gras actually translates, in French, to "Fat Tuesday" and this is a clear link to the spirit of the Mardi Gras festivities. All of the fun, food, and partying? Consider it a last hurrah prior to Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. But Mardi Gras isn't only found in New Orleans, people join in on the festivities in Germany, Columbia, Cayman Islands, Italy, Sweden, and Brazil. And Carnival in Brazil is the most popular holiday in Brazil, making it a must-see Mardi Gras festival across the globe. In the US, Mardi Gras celebrations started in 1856 and worldwide traditions include parades, wearing costumes and masks, dancing, and rich food, making it an attractive holiday for people celebrate. Since the celebration has roots in 17th and 18th century parties before Lent, extremely lavish costumes and merrymaking are par for the course. So, masks, beads, and costumes in bright colors, sequins, feathers, and stripes have become an unspoken uniform for Mardi Gras parties. It's long history means that there are very specific traditions when it comes to Mardi Gras style, so keep reading to find out what you can do to party fashionable on February 28th!
Get in the Spirit
Mardi Gras is the perfect time to celebrate the fun side of life and, to do that the right way, you'll want to get in the spirit and be prepared. Steeped in jazz music and free-flowing parades and parties, Mardi Gras will look like a sea of green, gold, and purple so you may want to set the mood with a festive playlist and plan an outfit around these staple colors.
ne of the most iconic parts of Mardi Gras are the bead necklaces that are thrown into the crowds. They're so popular and coveted that fights are known to break out over especially rare necklaces, like the ones with the Celebrity King's face on them. This year, keep an eye out for necklaces with Jim Caviezel's face on them, since he's King Bacchus of 2017. This specific tradition started when people at the Rex parade began to throw glass necklaces in the 1920's. From then on, it's been a much-loved tradition and people compete to get the most beads in one night. While you're out on the town, keep an eye out for beads and be sure to wear them on display as you catch more!
What to wear
Traditionally, gold, green, and purple are the colors of Mardi Gras so sticking to that color pallete is always a safe choice. These colors were chosen at random, though. You may be surprised to find out that each color symbolizes something important. It turns out that these colors were selected because the color gold embodies power, purple represented justice, and green symbolized faith.
When you're putting together your outfit of the night, go bold. Mardi Gras is a holiday embodying the the spirit of joy and richness. Therefore, your costume should match the atmosphere! Glitter, sequins, and feathers should all be checked off as parts of your costume. For women, showgirl-like costumes are common as are intricate masks and huge headpieces. Especially for Brazil's Carnival celebration, headpieces are an absolute must.
As with any big night out, remember to carry your essentials with you. But, since Mardi Gras is a special occasion, make sure you're carrying a bag that matches the atmosphere. Bring out your striking clutches, backpacks, or cross-body bags to keep everything safe as you catch those beads! For this specific occasion, we recommend going bold with a clutch like this Gucci Romy bag, which features purple suede with mirrored accents.
Any Mardi Gras style guide would not be complete if we didn't talk about masks. It turns out that Mardi Gras is the largest masked party and masks are so commonplace that anyone riding on a flat is required by New Orleans lawto wear a mask! Masks give the wearer the opportunity to be who they really are, and party freely, without worrying about being recognized. At least, that was the traditional goal of mask-wearing! Nowadays, people love the process of dressing up and finding a decorative mask to match their personality to best represent themselves with friends and in photos.
The options are almost endless when it comes to finding your perfect mask. Some people love to go with the iconic comic/tragedy masks, featuring a theatrical smiling or frowning face. Others prefer to take inspiration from those 17th century Mardi Gras celebrations and pick up elaborate, and often feathered, Venetian masks to complete their look.
Mardi Gras Makeup
If you choose to forgo the traditional mask while attending a parade, or you just want to pay homage to Mardi Gras, you can always play with themed-makeup. Since this holiday is extremely theatrical, intricate and dramatic makeup with bright colors and exaggerated features are stunning. However, many people choose to go outside the box and take inspiration from drama and even clowns to create beautiful looks like the one below.