Just about any time you come to visit New Orleans, there's a reason to get dressed up – in costume, not black tie.
Dressing up isn't something you do for special occasions in this town. In New Orleans, where 20-somethings take swing dance lessons at the Spotted Cat on a weeknight just because they can, anything goes when it comes to pulling together an outfit to make a statement.
While Mardi Gras is the penultimate time of year to parade in outrageous duds, it happens at Halloween, Decadence, the Red Dress Run, Easter, St. Patty's Day . . . Well, you get the idea. For starters, you’ll need essentials like a wig, sequins, a mask and fantasy attire for any of these festive celebrations. Here's where to get started if you haven't BYOC (brought your own costume).
There's always a reason to dress up like Elvis in New Orleans — Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono
Uptown Costume and Dancewear on Magazine is quite simply one of the most comprehensive costumers around. Jam packed with wigs, hats, masks, glitter lashes, boas and costumes of all ilk, this place deserves to be a first stop.
Whether you plan to be a pirate wench or a scary zombie, the helpful staff at New Orleans Party and Costume Shop offer plenty of options. This CBD shop is full of wonders; it's also a great place if you're in need of technicolor facial hair.
If you want a wow rental, Southern Costume Company in the CBD is the bomb. They work with movie companies constantly, but anybody can rent an elaborate get-up. You can also buy standard outfits like monster or French maid, as well as enough glitter make-up to create your own fantasy ball.
Le Garage on Decatur is located in the French Quarter, so it's easy to get in and out, and the staff is super helpful. The shop is overflowing with vintage wear, used costumes and costume starters, old jewelry and even accessories.
Funky Monkey consigns intriguing duds year-round, but during Halloween, Mardi Gras and the like, the staff seems to pull out all the stops. From vintage carnival attire to majorette costumes, sequined band jackets, headpieces and flapper dresses, it’s all here and waiting for you.
Also on Magazine, Buffalo Exchange is a resale boutique that supplies locals with plenty of duds year-round. But the store that pioneered the idea of buying and selling in a consignment setting back in the '70s also has a costume section, outrageous shoe options and consigned sparkly numbers that will make you feel like playing dress-up any day of the week.