How to Dress for a Mardi Gras Ball

Every year, when Mardi Gras season rolls around, there are a host of questions on the minds of newcomers and tourists alike. If it’s your first time being invited to a Mardi Gras ball, there’s probably one question at the very top of the list: what do I wear?
There are several things to consider when deciphering the dress code on your invitation. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

Mardi Gras Ball Dress Code: How Formal Is Formal?

Chances are, your invitation mentioned the dress code as “strictly formal” or “costume de rigueur.” For men, this means a tuxedo complete with white tie and tails. For women, this means a floor-length gown (one length throughout, no high-low hems, and no dress pants). White gowns are strictly reserved for the debutantes of the ball, so stick with something colorful.

Mardi Gras Ball Gloves: How Long? What Material?

Then there’s the matter of gloves: the material, the length, and how they should be worn. There are a few important requirements to keep in mind when purchasing gloves. Material should be strictly white kid-leather, no cloth. There are three typical lengths to consider: opera-length, elbow-length, or wrist-length gloves. Opera length is typically worn with sleeveless, cap, or short sleeves. This is the length worn by most female attendees, and we carry silk-lined pairs here. Elbow length is worn with sleeves or three-quarter sleeves. Finally, wrist-length gloves are typically worn with long sleeves and are a good choice for men to accompany their tuxedo.

Mardi Gras Ball Etiquette: What's Allowed?

Now that we’ve covered dress code, there are a couple little-known matters of etiquette that are important facets of the ball. Photos and videos are strictly prohibited; the ball is a private event and should be treated as such. Women in the front of the court procession should note that drinks and leg-crossing are not allowed, and they should take care to make sure their gloves are of appropriate length.

Mardi Gras is an exciting time of the year, and an invitation to one of the Mardi Gras season’s private balls is something to be equally excited for. We hope this guide has helped you prepare for the big night!