Apr 212012

Christy Lorio (photo by Leslie Almeida)

I love Spring in New Orleans. The weather is as perfect as it’s going to get, the roster of festivals grows every year, and we get to enjoy balmy, beautiful evenings. But in order to maintain this idyllic mindset, you’ll need the proper clothes and accessories to keep that fun day in the sun from turning into a sunburned sweat fest.

Read labels | I’m not talking about designer goods: check the tag for fabric content. Stick to cotton, linen, and tencel if you want to beat the heat. And actually read the tag! Polyester moonlights as a natural fabric sometimes. Don’t just feel the fabric. Read that tag!

Breathing room | Skin tight jeans might look sexy, but you won’t feel sexy when you’ve got denim fused to the back of your legs. Ladies, this one is a cinch- opt for a flowy dress or a skirt. Gentleman, shorts or linen pants work nicely. Just leave the pajamas at home please.

Sunscreen | I like Neutrogena Dry Touch sunblock. If you’re fair-skinned like I am, look for a lotion with zinc. I also love colore science SPF makeup products, for when you need protection but don’t want the greasy feel of traditional sunscreens. Wearing a hat doubles your protection — opt for a tighter weave when selecting a straw topper.

A fish taco from G.W. Fins at the French Quarter Fest. Delicious, but also a spill hazard. (Photo by Christy Lorio for UptownMessenger.com)

Bag it up | Stuffing your face at the food booths isn’t as fun when you’re juggling a handbag. Don’t risk grease stains and sticky barbeque fingers ruining your tax refund splurge. Go hands-free with a cross-body style bag or stick to a backpack.

Sunglasses | No, silly, it’s not about looking cool. Thanks to my baby blues, I get headaches if I go without shades. Light-eyed people also run a higher risk for cataracts, so avoid squinting at all costs and pick up a cheap pair if you’re afraid of losing them.

Even the bicycles get dressed up during New Orleans festival season. (Photo by Christy Lorio for UptownMessenger.com)

Bike | Okay, not a piece of clothing but essential enough to make it to this list. If you can bike, do it. Parking is never an issue, and waiting on a taxi or a streetcar can be unpredictable at best when the city is swarming with tourists.

Bandanna | I learned this trick when I was doing a lot of desert hiking. Bring a bandana, get it wet, and plop it on your neck. It definitely helps you keep cool without going the wet t-shirt route.

Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.

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