What to Pack for Nashville—and When Not to Wear a Cowboy Hat—According to a Local
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Nashville Experience Tours isn’t running the “party wagons” you might see loudly parading down Broadway — instead showing visitors the real Nashville through behind-the-scenes tours that focus on hidden gems, insider tips, and local history. The team consists of many lifelong Nashville residents, but its newest member, spokesperson Elia Esparza, has already made her mark on Music City.
In addition to her work for the tour company, Esparza is a singer/songwriter who’s performed at vibey spots like The Listening Room and Hampton Social — and, as her colleagues say, she “embodies Nashville fashion from head to toe.”
“Nashville style is where casual, glam, and Americana intersect,” she told Just Packed. “Wearing rhinestones on a night out isn’t unfamiliar here.”
It may surprise visitors that they truly have the option to dress up or down, Esparza added. “Dinner and drinks can mean a band tee with flare jeans and Tecovas or a cocktail dress with heels if you’re feeling fancy! Nashville style brings new meaning to the phrase, ‘big city, small town.’”
Above all, Esparza says the most important thing is embracing the city’s style and making it your own. “Nashville is big on love,” she said. “We love to make you feel at home. Step out in your Sunday best or keep it casual. Either way, the city will welcome you with open arms.”
What is one style mistake to avoid if you don't want to look like a tourist in Nashville?
“Believe it or not, a cowboy hat! There’s a time and a place for it, but wearing one every day gives off tourist vibes.”
Do you have any favorite shops in Nashville?
“If you’re looking for a fanny pack, Stoney Clover Lane is a must! ABEDNEGO is great for classic styles and jewelry. If you’re looking for more elevated fashion and designer denim, try Emerson | Grace. My personal favorite is Hip Zipper Vintage in East Nashville. They're my go-to for finding certain pieces!”
You're packing for a trip to Nashville. What is the first thing you put in your carry-on?
“Phone charger! Between the city skyline and colorful murals, you’ll want to capture every picturesque view Nashville has to offer. Check out The Bobby Hotel or Noelle’s rooftop bars to get panoramic city views.”
What’s your go-to pair of cowboy boots?
“You shouldn’t pay more than $200 for a pair of boots down here! Nashville Boot Co. is a great place to shop for staple cowboy boots.”
“Wide brim and trucker hats! Rustler Hat Co. is a great place to pop in for a custom wide-brim hat for brunch or even a night out! Magpies has a great collection of pastel trucker hats to add a pop of color to any casual outfit.”
“You can never go wrong with a classic denim jacket or flare jeans. Imogene and Willie are my go-to for denim in the city. My favorite pair from them is the super high rise catherine black selvage rinse.”
One item to pack for every girls' trip? “Don’t forget your reusable water bottle or an umbrella! The weather in Nashville can change on a dime. Stay hydrated while you’re browsing through SoBro or having lunch in The Gulch.”