How to wear the green—no matter the weather or vibe on parade day

Once a year, Perkins Road and the Garden District are flooded with shades of green.

Olive, chartreuse, mint, sage, lime and Kelly green, plus a few smatterings of gold and orange sprinkled in, all come to party. No matter what St. Patrick’s Day color scheme they go with, paradegoers sure know how to show up, show out and show off on the festive March morning.

After all, it’s dubbed the Wearin’ of the Green Parade for a reason.

But Mabyn Shingleton, who organizes the parade alongside her husband and the parade’s founder, Pat, says the crowd wasn’t always full of people decked out in head-to-toe green.

“When I was in grade school, I can remember on March 17 you had to wear something green or have something green pinned on you or else you’d be pinched,” she says. “For the first couple of years, I can’t say that the crowd was green. There were some people (dressed in green).”

Now, Shingleton says that there’s so much of the parade’s signature color in the crowd Pat calls it the “sea of green.” Though some paradegoers might go all out with their festive ’fits, Shingleton says you really can’t go wrong as long as you’re wearing some form of the color.

“I want people to have fun,” Shingleton says. “Definitely don’t stress about what you’re going to wear. If you’ve got something that’s green, you’re going to feel like you fit in more. That’s all that is.”

Take the stress out of how to dress by checking out outfit inspo from previous crowds. Here are the many different ways to wear the green.

Parade founder
Pat Shingleton with his grandchildren

Stick with the traditional

Pay homage to the holiday, or embrace your Irish roots. As he leads the parade, Pat Shingleton usually wears an all-emerald ensemble and has even sported a custom kilt, a hat and some bright green running shoes for walking around the route. The Shingletons keep their closets organized with a specific section of green to pull from each year.

All that glitters

Make your look as shiny as a pot of gold by picking sparkly pieces to complete your St. Patrick’s Day look. If you’re looking for glimmering garb, hit up local boutiques for sequined items and rhinestone-studded accessories, or browse online for bedazzled items from Baton Rouge brand Queen of Sparkles’ themed collections.

Raid the party stores

Get ready for the festivities by stocking up on costume pieces and novelty items from local party shops. Shingleton spots costumes each year. Almost every parade will have someone in the crowd dressed up as Gumby, as well as a few who don all-green Morphsuits. Have fun with it!

Make sure you’re weather-proof

We all know Mother Nature doesn’t care about raining on our parades. Check local weather updates before assembling your parade-day uniform. Shingleton says she’s seen everything from pesky showers that try to dampen the day to freezing parades taking place after snow days. Pro tip: Dress in weather-protective layers that can be easily shed if needed.

Don’t forget accessories

Level up your look with accessories like clover-adorned headbands, glimmering earrings, shimmery face glitter, top hats and more. If your outfit isn’t green enough, this is a great way to stay on theme without having to worry about purchasing any extra clothing.

For the wee ones

Whether they’re propped up on people’s shoulders or front and center thanks to their tiny stature, kiddos definitely need to stand out in the massive parade crowd. Deck them out in festive ‘fits courtesy of local children’s boutiques to ensure float riders can spot them and fill their leprechaun-sized hands with all the loot.

When in doubt, sprinkle in green

If your closet is short a full-on St. Patrick’s Day ensemble, Shingleton suggests coming in a neutral color like white and accessorizing using green things caught from passing floats.

A style evolution

Peek at the background of these vintage photos. In the parade’s earliest days, attendees didn’t dress as monochromatically green. But over the years, the crowd has morphed into “sea of green,” the Shingletons say.


  • 1986
    Founder Pat Shingleton at the inaugural parade

This article was originally published in the March 2024 issue of 225 magazine.