Slow Southern News

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When the #?%! is it getting cool?

So y’all know that fall doesn’t really exist in Southeastern Louisiana. These past few weeks have been a tease with nights dipping into the upper 70s only followed by a week of 85 degrees and high humidity.  Everyone eagerly anticipates the crispness of cool weather in September but it always remains hot around these parts until Halloween or later.  That said I’m still pining for some new fall clothes as I’m tired of wearing summer dresses and I long for an entirely new winter wardrobe.

 The Black to Basics Skirt is a great base for a myriad of NOLA winter options. At $34 you can certainly purchase a handful of accessories to wear with it. Available at Francesca’s.

I’m kind of loving these Sanita hot pink clogs available at Feet First. They would be cute with jeans or cords when comfort is a necessity.

I’m in love with this feather and rhinestone headband available from LF. This is a great piece to wear with just jeans and a tee or the topper on a fanciful look.

If Owls are your thing Fossil has a sweet little coin purse available at Dillard’s. I like the teal and dusty rose combination with the silver studs they used for the eyes.

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Costume Season

My year revolves around two holidays- Halloween and Mardi Gras. Any reason to don a costume in NOLA is a good one as evidenced by the myriad of events we have such as the red dress run, running of the bulls, Krewe of Cork, and the list goes on. Sadly during my 3.5 year stint in Arizona I was left out of the Mardi Gras loop but I still made my mark for Halloween. Prior to Katrina I had only missed one Mardi Gras. That said a New Orleanian will always do it right, no matter where y’at.
I present to y’all the costumes that I have photographically documented.
My first Halloween away from home was October 2005. I had previously worn this Mardi Gras of 2004 if I remember correctly. This was a quasi goth southern belle.
Wig: Buffalo Exchange Blouse: Urban Outfitters Gloves: remnants from high school prom
Corset: custom made Skirt: Bloomin’Deals vintage dress that I chopped the top off
Thomas, my husband,  as a rhinestone cowboy. Note the red glitter belt and silver spray painted shoes and hat. I should note that he actually has a really short haircut. In every picture he is wearing a wig.
Shirt, belt, and pants: Buffalo Exchange
Picture020.jpg picture by nolagurl
Admittedly this wasn’t for Halloween or Mardi Gras. When I lived in Arizona we had a hair metal dress up day at work. It was always my personal challenge to usurp everyone else.
Picture009.jpg picture by nolagurl
This is part of a his & her matching square dancing ensemble. The tights came w/ strawberry bows which I lopped off and made into barrettes.
Dress & matching apron, striped tights: Buffalo Exchange Wig: Easley’s
A saloon girl costume that I’ve worn many times. I purchased the dress at a Las Vegas thrift store and added gold trim to the bodice. I also pinned up the skirt so a petticoat would stick out the bottom.
Mardi Gras ’05
I was a dark fairy or something like that. I hand beaded an inexpensive corset and made the skirt out of a vintage evening gown. Thomas wore a Legolas costume.
banana.jpg picture by nolagurl

envie.jpg picture by nolagurl

And we come to the grand daddy of Mardi Gras 2009. All I can say is that our first Mardi Gras back home was nothing short of magical. I actually bought the dress, which included the cape and gloves, in Arizona! The hat and wig were purchased here in New Orleans. The dress was waaaay too long and I didn’t have time to hem it. To compensate I made a “hoop skirt” out of a garter belt, fun noodle pool toy, rope and duct tape. We must have had our picture taken a 100 times that day. I even had one woman get mad at me because she thought that I was a part of the Rex parade and I failed to throw her anything!

My wig: Fifi Mahony’s Entire costume: Buffalo Exchange 
His costume: Funky Monkey

So, what are you going to be for Halloween?

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bike in style

It is often easier to get around New Orleans on a bike vs. hopping in your car. Finding a parking spot is problematic in the French Quarter and it is so much quicker to chain your two wheels to a light post than parallel park and hoof it to your destination. I found myself in a bit of a dilemma one Saturday night. I wanted to bike to the Quarter but needed a dressy enough outfit to nosh at a mid priced eatery.  The problem lay in my clothing options. All I had were impractical handbags or my functional, yet not very fashionable, Timbuk2 messenger bag. My husband and I opted to take a slightly sleeker Tumi backpack to carry our necessities since we wanted to imbibe at Muriel’s later in the evening and didn’t want to look like tourists. I opted to wear a just below the knee, voluminous cotton skirt so I could maintain modesty en route and not feel under dressed upon arrival to our destination. I know lots of gals that use bikes as their main transportation and functionality is a must.

A lot of hiking brands have been offering more casual pieces that are designed for an active lifestyle. The cut is crucial for comfort, the length important unless you don’t mind flashing unsuspecting pedestrians. For everyone’s sake keep the cut loose and the length around the knee.

Isis Lily SkirtIsis Lily skirt from REI

If  want something dressier  branch out with different fabrics.

DKNY printed full skirt from Dillard’s

 I’m a big fan of how functional and sturdy Lucky Handbags are. The Abbey Road from Zappos marries form and function with a cross body strap and top handles, perfect for when you need something dressier than a messenger bag . 

This B. Makowsky, available from Nordstrom’s is also a great option when you need your hands free. 

B. Makowsky Buckle Detail Crossbody Bag

Unless you want to tote a second pair of shoes I’d suggest wearing something cute yet sporty. 

Lacoste Sollie Flats at Zappos

 Diesel Water Lily also at Zappos

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Slow Southern News

I had a vision of doing some sort of weekly news links but just as the title suggests the South is sloooow in the fashion news front. I’ll share my three measly links anyway.
  • Karen Elson opened a vintage store in Nashville, TN. This might be a good reason to travel to Tennessee! I haven’t been since I was a kid. 
  • New Orleans Fashion Week is having a casting call for models on September 19th at the W Hotel. The website says 5 to 8 but doesn’t indicate if that is a.m. or p.m
  • The SPCA is looking for models to work a fashion show benefit in February. 
I’m getting set to do some more local designer interviews and shop profiles so brace yourselves!
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Fashion at any cost

With all this talk of high end goodies a representation of a lower priced option is needed.  I’ve always had a penchant for well designed, well made clothing while retaining a budget frame of mind. I like to think of myself as less frugal, more smart shopper. The trick to outfitting yourself in high quality goods without spending high quality prices is scouring second hand shops, something I’m literally a professional at. The beauty of these shops is that many take clothing on consignment or better yet, buy pieces outright so you can swap out your gently worn garments for new (to you) items. I’ve listed my top three second hand stores in New Orleans. Feel free to add to this list in the comments section.

Seahorse earrings

In my slightly biased opinion Buffalo Exchange is the best in terms of selection, price, and style. The company was founded in 1974 and is still run by the original owners. This much loved chain has a location in the Garden District with men’s and women’s selections. There is a large range of price points and brands, from Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Nine West, Coach, Gucci, and Tory Burch to name a few.

Swap Boutique is the newest consignment shop in New Orleans, located Uptown. This certainly has an upscale boutique feel immediately when you walk in.  While they specialize in high end labels there are many mid to lower priced pieces to be found as well. They stock a good selection of sunglasses, bags, jewelry, as well as clothing. On my last trip I found Chanel sunnies, J. Crew blouses, and formal wear.

Native American Turquoise ring

If your style is more vintage than Funky Monkey is the store for you. This is Magazine St. mainstay is a given for costumes as they stock them year round, in addition to a great selection of vintage/retro jewelry, t-shirts, and more. I often find finishing touches for costumes here.

More terrific pieces I’ve procured thanks to secondhand shopping. All items were purchased at Buffalo Exchange. I apologize for the shoddy pictures and promise better photos in the future.

Lucky Brand handbag

J. Crew Collection flats
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A Big Easy Mainstay now in PDF format

Rubenstein’s is like the Nordstrom’s of the South, only better. Having opened in 1924 this upscale men’s clothing store knows a thing or two about how to dress a man. They are also known for their impeccable service.

In order to help you better integrate your new seasonal purchases with your existing wardrobe, we offer our clients a complimentary closet consultation. One of our sales associates will visit your home and provide suggestions on creatively mixing and matching your wardrobe.

In addition to the personal closet cleaner they also offer complimentary delivery, home/office appointments, shoe repair, tailoring, gift wrap, and a concierge service.

They are also involved with The Forum, an online magazine that provides style advice and offers tips on how to tell a quality shoe, designer profiles, and fashion editorials. While the content is similar to GQ or Details magazines it features the individual shops that are involved with the publication. I highly encourage y’all to check it out. Even if you can’t afford to dress in Brioni, Zegna, and Hugo Boss doesn’t mean you can’t steal some stylings from the best.


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