5 Essentials to Pack For Essence Festival

Bianca Lambert


Mae B "Hello Sunshine"Postcard 



It's that time of year again! Essence Festival is just two days away! The New Orleans scenery, the wonderful food, and the beauty that is Essence Festival is here. Last year, I compiled a list of my must have's for the weekend, so it was only right that I do it again!

Here are my 5 must-haves:

1. A Lightweight Foundation

Photo: Bobbi Brown

Most of us change our foundation formula during the summer months because heavy foundations can feel icky on the skin as temperatures soar. Since Essence is a special occasion, I know you might be tempted to pull out all of your beauty favorites. If you've been to New Orleans in the summer months you know it gets HOT and crazy humid.

If you're going to wear makeup, I suggest going with a lightweight foundation that will still give you nice coverage and conceals your problem areas. My personal favorite for the summer is Bobbi Brown's Skin Foundation. I like to follow up with MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer to conceal under my eyes.

This Summer Foundation Guide from The Style and Beauty Doctor, Danielle Gray, is a great guide for finding the best summer foundation for your skin type. 

 2. Flats

Flats will be your best friend. Trust me. My first year attending Essence Fest, I rocked my Sunday best along with my favorite 6 inch heels. I quickly learned that the New Orleans streets were unforgiving to my favorite heels and my poor feet. My go-to footwear for exploring New Orleans are Converse and a fun, comfy pair of flats.

Here are two of my favorites:

Ann Taylor Merritt Jeweled Patent Leather Sandals

This sleek, feminine flat is a great way to add a subtle sparkle to any #ootd. Oh, and this stunning pair are on sale at Ann Taylor and


This classic shoe looks great with everything from a pair of denim to a casual midi dress. The other great thing about this classically, stylish shoe is that you can always find them at a reasonable price. 

3, A Crossbody Bag

Photo: Zara

I know it can be tough to edit your purse when you're headed out for a long day, but your shoulder will thank you. In the past, I was the queen of overpacking my bag. My achy shoulder was the reason I developed a love for carrying less in a crossbody purse. It was an adjustment, but one that has changed my packing habits for the better.

I love crossbody bags. They are a great way to carry your essentials and offer a stylish, lightweight option. When packing your purse each morning take a moment and ask yourself, " I am I really going to use everything in my purse today"? That question has helped me edit my purse on many occasions.

4. A Portable Charger

Essence Fest is jam-packed with performances, celebrities, and #blackgirlmagic, which means you're going to want to have your phone ready to go at all times. Taking a portable charger will ensure you don't see the dreaded 1% at the top of your phone. 


5. A Great Attitude 

Essence Fest is such a fun, fulfilling event. Every year, I leave with this sense of pride and community that I take with me back to Atlanta. Essence Fest is also an event jam-packed with people, panels, parties, shows, and lots of walking. With that said, taking in the full experience means you have to go in with an open mind and willingness to go with the flow. You will probably need a vacation after this vacation, but I promise you this experience will be worth it!


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