The hottest ticket in town every year for the Fourth of July weekend is the Essence Festival, but this year was particularly special. Essence Fest 2019 marked its 25th celebration of black music, fashion, and culture. This year, fashion took center stage, with the addition of Fashion House, a 3-day experience of fashion and pop-up shows from established and up-and-coming designers alike, along with eye-opening discussions about making it in the fashion industry.
NOLA brought the heat and YOU brought the fashion. Check out these fire looks from this year's festival, worn by your favorite celebs and influencers.
Trend #1: Neons
Beautiful melanin hues of all shades made the perfect backdrop for neons to pop. Whether accented with ruffles, 90's inspired slip dresses or athleisure, these ladies were the highlight.
J. Bolin's client looks radiant in tiers of ruffled fuchsia used to ground an equally voluminous one-shouldered floral top.
Lime green has never looked so sumptuous as on Claire Sulmers. Gold accents bring the luxe and patterned pumps take this look from the bedroom to Essence's center stage.
Kim Jayde shows us that mixing a romper and neon colors is a win, and adding sneakers takes it to the next level! Being a little risky/trendy/bold definitely paid dividends at Essence Festival this year.
Trend #2: Animal Prints
Leopards, Snakes, and neon, oh my! The animal print trend certainly proved it isn't going anywhere, showing up on everyone from the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul to a child of destiny.
Mary J. Blige did not come to play with NOLA's in this fierce studded leopard jumpsuit, baby! All hail the queen!
Toya's snakeskin boyfriend blazer paired with her neon green bodysuit really pulled the outfit together in a sexy, sassy and trendy way.
More neon + snakeskin, plz!
Trend No. 3 Suit Sets
Michelle's look takes us right into the next trend. Suit sets were seen all over Essence Festival this year. While pastel-hued pant suits ruled this Spring, patterns, florals, bold colors, and shorts sets sizzle this Summer.
Sometimes more is more. You can never go wrong in a monochromatic head-to-toe look. Don't be afraid to wear all over pattern either.
Elaine Welteroth's cool robin's egg blue 3-piece suit is giving us throwback Spice Girls vibes. We're affectionately calling her Melanin Spice.
Go floral or GO HOME!
For the few of us who can wear a 3-inch inseamed short for work, THIS is how you do it!
Trend No. 4-Stripes
Want to look taller? How about slimmer? How about both?! There's a reason stripes are one of the top trends this year, scroll below and get your life!
Creme of Nature showed up and striped out at Essence Festival this year clothing their models in striped maxi dresses and tops.
Dare to take the plunge in this sexy stripe halter maxi dress, worn by one of our fave motivational speakers, Lisa Nichols!
Want some more self-care tips? Wear more stripes!
Trend No. 5-Rompin Around
Easy, breezy, and comfortable, rompers are a natural choice to navigating the New Orleans summer heat and the festival crowds. See how these ladies spiced up the style for Essence Fest.
Beauty boss, Melissa Butler looks every bit the CEO we know and love in a sleek and flirty, ruffled romper! She looked effortlessly chic in the crowded venue. (p.s. steal her look here!)
Find your inner peace when combining TWO trends at once... homegirl looks amazing with a romper AND stripes, and looks very relaxed in an outdoor green space :)
Who said rompers couldn't go glam? Silver sequins give this number oomph, and definitely help stand out in any crowd!
Trend No. 6-African Prints
If there's one trend we couldn't get enough of seeing at Essence Fest this year, it was beautifully patterned, bold, and colorful African prints! We loved seeing melanin queens dripping in fashion that pays homage to our roots.
Our girl Angela is absolutely slaying in this orange Ankara dress, and we are completely here for it!
Sis is stunning in an African-printed shirt dress hemmed in fringe, with fiery red lace-up heels completing the look and adding a big POP in color to the outfit. We love it!
Tamron Hall absolutely killed it in this maxi dress with bell sleeves and a gold-mirrored belt, cinching her snatched waist! The pattern is gorgeous, and the whole look really flatters the figure.
Yandy Smith shut the Essence Festival stage down with this 2-piece with the hat to match! Yas, sis!
Trend No. 7-Summer Whites
Wearing white during the summer months has increasingly become a staple in wardrobe for keeping you cool and collected. These next ladies know the meaning of looking good while staying as fresh as possible!
Slits and ruffles give Christine's gorgeous cocktail dress an ethereal feel, proving that white not only provides a bit of relief from the heat but looks classy and sophisticated as well! We love the asymmetrical look of the dress, and the black piping elevates the look of the dress.
Tamron Hall slays again, this time in a classic wide-leg jumpsuit pulled together by a Chanel belt and crisp white pumps.
Up and coming group, June's Diary was serving lewks on lewks on lewks while belting out "Amazing Grace" to the one and only Ms. Tina Lawson at Essence's Black Excellence Brunch during Essence Festival 2019.