Travel Like an Editor: What InStyle’s Kahlana Barfield Took to the Essence Music Festival

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InStyleBeauty Director Kahlana Barfield just got back from the 20th annual Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and gave us a serious case of travel envy! After dishing on all the unforgettable performances by artists such as Prince and Lionel Richie—and her hang out session with Solange Knowles (above)—the beauty expert got down to the serious business of filling us in on the key items she stowed in her suitcase to keep her looking her best throughout the Independence Day weekend event. Her fashion and beauty essentials ranged from a cool, distressed denim skirt, a bold red lip gloss, and, of course, practical yet stylish footwear.

Here is her four-step guide to looking cool in the Big Easy.

Step 1. Lay out some fun festival attire to kick off the landmark event:

Step 2. Go shopping (of course!) at Solange's boutique, Exodus Goods. "The store has such a mix of cool eclectic clothing and accessories!" Barfield says:

Step 3. Stroll in your comfy flats until you find some coordinating scenery. "It ain't easy being green," she captioned this Instagram shot:

Step 4. Ditch the practical heels at least once. Check out the embellished Alaïa sandals she wore to the CoverGirl #GirlsCan event, where Janelle Monáe spoke:

Click through the gallery to see more of Barfield's festival fashion and beauty must-haves.

01 of 09

La Mer Sunscreen

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"Sunscreen is an absolute must. This one blends right in—without feel tacky—and comes in the perfect size bottle ($85; cremedelamer.com)."

02 of 09

Alaïa flat sandals

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Alex Reside for InStyle.com

"I'm normally a heels girl, but I did so much walking during the music festival that flats were just more practical. I kept these Alaïa's on repeat."

03 of 09

Tom Ford sunnies

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"During hot summer months, I don't step outside without sunglasses. I love the cool pattern and round shape of these frames ($425; neimanmarcus.com)."

04 of 09

Philosophy Amazing Grace Bath & Shower Gel

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"Perfume usually raises my body temperature in the sun, so I usually opt for scented shower gel. This one is my new go-to. The scent is so soft and clean ($5 for travel size; philosophy.com)."

05 of 09

Beats by Dre Champagne Studios

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"Nothing gets me through a long flight like these headphones ($300; beatsbydre.com). Not only are they gorgeous, but they're also noise canceling so I'm able to relax.”

06 of 09

YSL Backpack

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"I steal this backpack ($890; ysl.com) from my boyfriend every time I travel. It's more comfortable than carrying a duffle bag—and looks much cooler!"

07 of 09

Rodarte top

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"This grey Rodarte tee ($125; shopbop.com) is my favorite piece to throw on when I'm traveling. I'd wear it everyday if I could get away with it!"

08 of 09

Current/Elliott skirt

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"I paired this denim Current/Elliott skirt ($218; currentelliott.com) with a basic tee and flats. The cool distressing on the skirt gave the outfit some interest."

09 of 09

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss

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"A bold lip is the easiest way to instantly look like I've put in some effort. This one from CoverGirl ($9; ulta.com) is the perfect shade of red."

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