What to wear to stand out at Baton Rouge’s Mardi Gras balls

Before their twinkling floats ever glide down the parade route, Baton Rouge krewes celebrate Carnival season at elaborate balls. 

These balls provide another excuse to let the good times roll in preparation for parade night. In true Mardi Gras fashion, attendees go all out—with attire ranging from sleek tuxes and glamorous floor-length gowns to creative costumes based on the parade’s theme. 

Regardless of the vibe, it’s important to plan out your look. And, while most of these balls are taking place soon, rest assured local boutiques and shops have you covered. 225 took a peek at the dress codes and themes local Mardi Gras krewes have for their upcoming balls to curate a list of what to wear, from long dresses and cufflinks to vintage pieces and costume accessories. How are you dressing to impress at Mardi Gras balls this season? Tell us at [email protected].

For balls with themes, costume attire or relaxed dress codes 

Check out party stores

Local shops like Party Time are stocked with items for Mardi Gras and even have displays curated with parade-specific attire, like pink Spanish Town accessories. At Party Time, find flamingo hats and headbands along with some items that go along with this year’s Margaritaville theme, like leis and flamingo-printed Hawaiian shirts. Along with its other Mardi Gras displays, Party Time also stocks novelty beads, Carnival masks and even year-round Halloween costumes that can be fitting for those balls with fun themes. 

Spanish Town Ball outfit ideas courtesy Party Time and Queen of Sparkles

Find on-theme attire

If you’re attending a themed ball or one that doesn’t call for a black-tie dress code, you can still dress up for a glam night. Find frocks, bowties or formalwear to match the parade’s theme or play on the krewe’s signature colors. We recommend browsing Time Warp’s curated racks or scrolling its Instagram for Mardi Gras ball looks. Or look through a selection of glittery collections from local designer Queen of Sparkles for pieces that go hand-in-hand with themes and will ensure a comfortable yet flashy look on ball night. Accessorize with headpieces like handmade hats and millinery from Chapeaux, or choose jewelry that resembles parade mascots like this squirrel cuff from Mimosa Handcrafted for Mid City Gras or these flamingo earrings from Frock Candy for Spanish Town. 

For more formal, black-tie balls

Elevate a tuxedo

While a black-tie dress code usually calls for men to wear tuxedos, guys can still have fun with their outfits by choosing a few local accessories for a pop of color or local flair. Give a nod to Louisiana’s famous animals by choosing these tiger or alligator head cufflinks from Mimosa Handcrafted. Or play with patterned bow ties from the Baton Rouge brand Jack Duncan, which also offers vibrant pocket squares to lend a little color to the all-black tux. 

Black-tie attire ideas. Accessories courtesy Mimosa Handcrafted and Head Over Heels Boutique. Dresses courtesy Chattabox Boutique and Swap Boutique.

Find floor-length gowns 

For formal balls, women typically don floor-length gowns. While any color is fair game, you can’t go wrong with the classic Mardi Gras color palette of purple, green and gold. Formal dresses at Chatta Box Boutique meet the length requirement and bring the glamour. If you’re attending more than one ball or are looking to shop secondhand for the one-night event, try shops like Swap Boutique, which consigns designer dresses that are as good as new and in style for the Mardi Gras season. Don’t forget to accessorize with jewelry like these teardrop stone earrings and platform gold heels from Head Over Heels Boutique.  

Local Mardi Gras ball lineup

Contact the krewes for info about admission.

Jan. 19

• Karnival Krewe de Louisiane

Jan. 20

• Spanish Town Ball

• Mid City Gras Ball

• Mystic Krewe of Achilles Ball

Jan. 24

• DC Mardi Gras Queens and Princesses Breakfast

Jan. 27

• Krewe Mystique de la Capitale Ball

• Krewe of Southdowns Ball

• Krewe of Iduna Carnival Ball

• Krewe of Romany Ball

• Krewe of Apollo Ball

• Krewe of Lyonnesse Ball

Feb. 3

• Krewe of Tucumcari Ball

• Krewe of Orion Masquerade