Summer Fridays: What This Fashion Director Packs For Essence Festival

COOLS is celebrating summer vacation and long weekends with our “Summer Fridays” series. Each week we talk to a fashion insider about where they’re going for the weekend and of course, what they’re packing. This week, we talk to Jessica Andrews the Deputy Fashion Director at Refinery29 about what she’s bringing to Essence Festival in New Orleans.
This is my 10th time attending Essence Festival and, TBH, I don’t think I’ll ever skip it. New Orleans is my favorite city in the world: the food, music, energy, and history are all so magical. Add to that a festival that celebrates Black women and draws the biggest names in music across generations (Frankie Beverly & Maze and City Girls) and you can see why I’ve been a fan long before the Girls Trip movie.
Packing for Essence Fest is tricky because my day-to-day activities are all over the place. I need a swimsuit for pool parties at The Drifter, a sundress and flats for walking around the French Quarter, a “Hot Girl Summer”-worthy mini for concerts at The Superdome, a pretty dress for brunch at Commander’s Palace…the list goes on. And, of course, I wait until the last minute to pack! Here’s what I pulled together for my favorite festival of the year.


The Luggage:

Summer Fridays: What This Fashion Director Packs For Essence Festival 2

I am obsessed with this Calpak suitcase not just because of the (perfect!) marble print, but because I can stuff my belongings in it and it still closes. Magic. A great packing trick my friend Christina taught me is to put all the foldable items in your carry-on luggage and move your shoes to a backpack. Genius!


The Clothing:

Summer Fridays: What This Fashion Director Packs For Essence Festival In New Orleans

Summer is basically an excuse for me to wear every bright color in the rainbow. I love that Rhode’s sundresses are so versatile that if my schedule gets too crazy, I can wear one during the day, and switch from flats to heels for the evening. This Ganni dress is such a special piece, I think I’ll wear it to brunch with red sandals and a Staud bucket bag. Rihanna takes all my money, so no surprise I had to get the black Fenty oversized sunglasses; I can’t wait to wear them to The Drifter with a cut-out one-piece swimsuit. This Michelle Obama 2020 shirt is my fave to pack every year; I want to wear it to the Superdome when she hits the stage.


The Shoes: 

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I overpack in general, but especially when it comes to shoes. It’s a problem (my dad is definitely going to read this and side-eye me), but I’m getting better! I’m packing this pair of sensible heels from Cult Gaia that go with everything; they’ll be great for walking around the Convention Center. For the concerts, I’m pulling out these Malone Souliers gold pumps to wear with a slip dress, and these Miu Miu glitter shoes to go with a romper. The printed pumps (stripes  by Christian Louboutin, watermelon print bySophia Webster) will look so good with my favorite bright sundresses!


The Beauty:  

Summer Fridays: What This Fashion Director Packs For Essence Festival In New Orleans 1

New Orleans is so humid, it feels like I’m walking into an oven every time I go outside. That said, I go easy on the makeup: a little bit of Fenty lip gloss, my favorite Pat McGrath mascara, and Cover FX cream foundationthe only coverage that stays put in that weather. For nighttime, I’ll throw on some sparkly eyeshadow from Glossier Play and this super sexy fragrance I love by Tom Ford. I was never a believer in dry shampoo (and I’m still not fully convinced!), but this Bumble and Bumble find is clutch if I’m in a smoky club and want to get the smell out of my hair the next morning. Skincare is life, so I swear by this La Mer face cream.
My friend Deena and I had a very serious convo about SPF last weekend. She’s interviewed a ton of dermatologists and they all say sunscreen is the most important part of your skincare routine (and yes, you need it even if you have melanin). I love this mineral sunscreen from Supergoopit’s not white or chalky, and it gets the job done.
Lastly, I forgot to take a picture of my African Pride Olive Miracle edge control but it is the hardest-working item in my beauty routine, especially in the New Orleans heat.


La Mer

The Moisturizing Soft Cream – La Mer | Sephora



Fiona Dress | Rose Bouquet


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African Pride Olive Miracle Silky Smooth Edges 2.25 oz jar


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