For Variety’s Sake

It’s carnival time y’all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you have any idea what this means? It’s my favorite time of year, and I can’t freaking wait. This year I’m going to be documenting the creation of my Mardi Gras costumes, since so many people always ask me for tips on how I make mine. Fashion designer I ‘aint, but I know enough to make ’em look good. In fact I wrote a DIY Mardi Gras costume article for this month’s issue of New Orleans Magazine, pick up a print copy or read it online here.

Photo courtesy of Charle’

I’ve been working on my Mardi Gras costumes since Halloween and I already have a jump start on next year. Yea, I might be slightly nuts but this is serious stuff.

 I took a trip out to Jefferson Variety last Saturday to purchase some important finishing touches for our costumes. Normally I try to thrift and re purpose everything, but sometimes a girl just needs to buy brand new sequins. Enter Jefferson Variety, an unassuming building in an industrial looking part of town. 

Walking into this place is like dying and going to Mardi Gras Indian heaven, or beauty pageant queen heaven, whichever you prefer. Everything was starting to get picked over when I went, but there were still mountains of sparkly trim, appliques, and fabrics luxurious enough for Carnival royalty. 
Appliques for days
No idea what I’m using these for, but sequined shrimp had to come home with me.
Rhinestones in every shape and size
Sparkles everywhere
So many bolts, the options were endless

So have you started working on your Mardi Gras costume yet? Any idea of what you’re going to be yet?

Jefferson Variety
239 Iris Ave.
Jefferson, LA
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Hidden Treasures of the Cabildo: Carnival Edition

This post was written by Elizabeth McNair, one of Slow Southern Style’s interns. You’ll get a chance to meet her in the upcoming weeks but for now check out her blog, Life of Lovely, and be on the look out for her bio soon.

Now that the holiday festivities are finished, you might be wondering what to do on your quiet evenings in January.  Why not view Hidden Treasure: Carnival Edition at the Louisiana State Museum?

The Carnival Collection at the Louisiana State Museum will allow a small number of visitors to see the museum’s large collection of costumes and other pieces related to Carnival.  While the public does not usually have the chance to view the entire collection, Wayne Phillips will take visitors through the museum’s storage rooms to get the full experience.  The location for these tours will be the Museum’s Collection Storage Facility at 1000 Chartres Street in the French Quarter.

This special opportunity is hosted by the Friends of the Cabildo.  For two days only, January 17th and 19th, tours will take place at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  The cost for this exclusive tour is $15 per person or $10 for Friends of the Cabildo members.

If you’re interested, you will need to call Rebecca Duckert at 504-523-3939 to make the required reservations.  Call soon because spots are limited.  

Interested, but can’t make it to this tour?  Another event Hidden Treasure: Decorative Arts Edition is planned for March 20th and 22nd showcasing Newcomb Pottery and led by Curator of Decorative Arts, Katie Hall.  

Elizabeth McNair

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Tapping our way down Frenchman Street

Halloween is exhausting y’all. I love it but I’m always secretly glad when it is over since it is a CRAZY time of year for me at work. Anyone who works in a shop that sells costumes, whether year ’round or seasonally can attest to my tiredness and enjoy a good night’s sleep come November 1st. I’m not getting that much of a break though, in the next two weekends alone I’ve got three wardrobe consultations lined up and I’m getting my butt out to the Freret Market this Saturday since I missed the October one. Oh and I’ve already got some fabulous Mardi Gras costumes this year. How’s that for planning ahead? But back to the present, err recent past our Halloween costumes this year were Broadway performers, for lack of a better description.

When in doubt, the more sparkle the better

I failed miserably at making a 2 foot tall treble clef fascinator so this plain gold topper had to suffice. Jumbo pipe cleaner doesn’t cut it kids, stick to foam if you want a sculpture on your noggin. Aside from my headpiece woes these were easy, no sew costumes. I’m putting so much effort into our Mardi Gras costumes that I slacked for Halloween but I still think we looked pretty darn good.
See that expression? I’m so excited to have my brother in law’s thumb in the shot.
And not to stray off subject too much but the Halloween shootings in the downtown area were sad and unacceptable. It’s bad for locals and tourists alike when such stupid decisions are made.

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Scary time in the South

Oh yea, it’s costume season. Y’all know my unending love for playing dress up and New Orleans is really just the gateway drug for my habit. There’s always a reason to costume here, no matter if it is Halloween, Mardi Gras, Red Dress Run, the list goes on and on. When Halloween falls on a weekday it means everyone needs multiple costumes for multiple nights. I  like to unveil a new creation every year on Samhain itself which means we’ll dust off old favorites so they can make a reappearance on other nights. This past Saturday we biked downtown, the only place to be unless you’re throwing a house party. Frenchman and Decatur Streets are hands down the best spots in the city to see the most creative costumes. In other words, you have to bring it and I’m not talking about some cheap drug store bagged crap. My husband busted out his warrior costume from two years ago and I was a red headed boa constrictor, something I’ve only worn once to work. Yea, I get to wear costumes at work, pretty awesome right?

 Speaking of work I was interviewed on Crosstown Conversations to talk about Buffalo Exchange and costumes this past Thursday. It was my first time doing radio and of course I had an entire script in my head and completely forgot what to say once we were live on the air. Regardless it went pretty great (either that or my family was lying to me) so take a listen on their website, the costume segment starts around the 40 minute mark. And if you want some visual inspiration check out all of my past costume posts, but please don’t wait until the last minute to get your costume again okay?

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Cree’s Cheap Chic 10th Annual Costume Sale

Halloween is coming up and y’all need a costume. October 31st is a big night in New Orleans and the town goes wild with goblins, political figures, and creatures that crawled out of the swamp. I’ve written a slew of blog posts if you need a little help deciding what to be this year but what you really need to do is get out and start shopping before all of the good stuff is gone.

Cree McCree, founder of Righteous Fur is having her 10th Annual Halloween Costume Sale this weekend to help you get on the right track. There will be vintage and recycled costumes for men and women, Halloween cocktail couture items such as bat bustiers and skeleton hand bras, and a $5 rack and $1 boxes with “costume makings for all you creative types.” Check out the flyer below for times and location.

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Wig Party at Eiffel Society

Y’all know that I love a good wig. Check out all of my costume posts here if you don’t believe me or read my guide on how to style a wig. So when I found out about the Wiggin Out Party at Eiffel Society I thought “what a great way to spend a Friday night!” Now the real question is which wig to wear. Don’t own a wig? Shame on you! Mention the Eiffel party at Fi Fi’s and get 10% off the wig of your choice.

Three from my *ahem* vast collection.

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Mardi Gras Day the Slow Southern Style Way

I live, sleep, and breathe for Mardi Gras. Nowhere in the world can you have so much fun with so many other people for no other reason than celebrating life and love for New Orleans. The traditions of carnival time run deep here, from king cakes, parades, Mardi Gras Indians, carnival balls, walking groups and the list goes on.  If you don’t understand Mardi Gras or just straight up don’t like it then we probably can’t be friends anymore and yes I’m being serious. Fat Tuesday is basically my Christmas and Halloween is my Thanksgiving.

I often plan my husband and I’s costumes months in advance and this year was no exception. He was Poseidon and I was a nondescript sea goddess thingamajig. I never really set out with a theme in mind, instead I let the theme choose itself from pieces that I find throughout the course of the year. When I see a good piece of fabric or a choice accessory in July I’m going to buy it. I have a serious  obsession and have costumes backlogged that haven’t seen the light of day yet.
His beaded and sequined shirt and cape were actually a woman’s matching blouse and skirt. In order for the top to look more king of the sea, less drag queen I took out the shoulder pads and lopped off the sleeves. Then I ripped the seam out of the taffeta skirt and voila! instant cape. He purchased the white pants and I hemmed them and added the gold netting on the bottom.
Yes that is my camera nestled atop my bosom. When you don’t have pockets you have to improvise sometimes. I decided my sequined dance costume was a little boring so I added the shells to tie in the sea theme. Yes, I really did just call a sequined body suit boring.
My cape was a thrifted scarf that I added that same gold netting to. Hubby bought sea shells and tied them in using fishing wire. I procured the crown probably about a year ago and have been waiting for a chance to wear it ever since.
Hubby was a hunchback? Nope, that’s just a backpack underneath the cape that we stuffed with the essentials. Toilet paper (the bars and porta-potties always run out), camera, phones, liquid courage, and I think a pb&j made it in there as well. 
Lugging around an actual trident would have been difficult, especially when you factor in biking downtown. This Trident Splash was much more portable. You always need two hands free for the Marigny since you never know when an impromptu dance party will break out in the middle of the street.
A silly moment- I serendipitously found this picture of a guy with a Burmese Python, who I’m assuming is a wrestler. Since the photo had a safety pin attached it was practically asking me to wear it so I did just that.
Phew! And that my friends was Mardi Gras 2011. 
To see all the photos taken that day, including street shots and images of friends go to my Flickr account.
So how was your Mardi Gras? 
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Where Mardi Gras Happens

Mardi Gras is almost here y’all! Today is Lundi Gras, and to help celebrate a few of the Southern Fashion Bloggers are doing our March blog posts on my favorite holiday of the year. No matter if you live in New Orleans or not you can  celebrate in your own way by wearing the traditional purple, green, and gold colors or just wear something extra fanciful tomorrow.

I wore this outfit to work this past Saturday. I wanted to dress up but not get stuck working all day long in a costume so this was a pretty good compromise. Even if you don’t want to don a fully themed outfit having a few festive pieces is important at this time of year. 
Feathered t-shirt- Forever 21
Iridescent skirt- Tara Jarmon via Buffalo Exchange
Peep toe flats- Feet First

Now I had every intention of showing y’all a slew of costumes but between putting the finishing touches on my Fat Tuesday costume, catching parades and working I’ve had no free time to speak of. Instead I’ll share some of the pictures I took at Endymion, one of the best parades and certainly one of my favorites this season. 

As usual check out the rest of the Southern Fashion Bloggers posts to see how they’re livin’ it up!
Stylish3- The Blonde
Prototyle Mama-
Style Cakes-
NO(LA) More Chains-
Seams That Way-
Miss Malaprop-
Odelma Vintage-
Wanna participate in our April round of guest posts? Keep up with the Southern Fashion Bloggers on our new Twitter account at @southfashblogs.
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Mannequin Monday- Frou Frou at Fifi Mahony’s

If y’all know one thing about me and one thing only it is this: I love Mardi Gras. Just yesterday at the Southern Fashion Blogger’s first event (more on that soon) I was talking to Mallory of Miss Malaprop about how I don’t own very much “real” makeup but I’ve got enough glitter and metallic eyeshadow to last me several Carnival seasons. Of course the makeup plays second fiddle to the wigs, and I have no shortage of those either.

Fifi Mahony’s is the wig shop in New Orleans that everyone knows and loves. I’ve been shopping there for years and it is always a fun, glamorous experience. Their window displays always reel me in, like I really needed an excuse to go in anyway. Once inside the frivolity never ends as each corner you turn something even more glamorous, sequined, and feathered lunges out at you. From rhinestone cocktail rings the size of my head to false eyelashes longer than I am tall (which isn’t saying much) Fifi Mahony’s is one glitzy dream of a store and everything just begs to be brought home.

So ‘fess up ladies! I know I’m not the only one with a Fifi’s fetish. What do y’all have sitting in your closets that is ready to get dusted off for Mardi Gras?
934 Royal St.
New Orleans, LA 70118

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Halloween 2010

I love Halloween but I’m always glad when it is finally over. As much fun as I  have the slew of events, last minute costume tweaks, not to mention my work load increases substantially so November 1st is always a peaceful day. That said I had a great time this year!

If you haven’t experienced a New Orleans Halloween then you are really missing out. An entire week’s worth of celebrations and special events take place and this year was no exception. 

On Saturday night we went to Eiffel Society for their costume party. 

Hubby threw together this last minute genie costume with great results. I buy costumes for us year ’round and had purchased the jacket for him on a whim. A gold turban and an old Mardi Gras costume later and he was granting wishes in style. Bonus points for finding the floating carpet at the event!

I just threw together something I’ve already worn. A corset and ruffled bottoms are easy and fun to do.
Of course Sunday night we broke out our actual outfits, Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Frenchman St. and Decatur St. are the hot spots for people watching and this year was as good as ever.
The bulk of what we bought came from Buffalo Exchange. His skirt is actually a grey silk J. Crew and the white leather strips was another skirt that I cut up and made into this. My outfit is an old dancing costume with a gold lame bodysuit and leggings thrown underneath.

We had our pictures taken several times by complete strangers, which I always consider a mark of a good costume. We also had lights, purchased from REI. I sewed his around the perimeters of his cape and wrapped mine around my waist. 
So how was your Halloween?
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