Photo by Kathy Bradshaw

Gearing Up for Mardi Gras: Six Places to Shop for Your Carnival Attire

15:00 February 03, 2021
By: Laurel Shimasaki

Even without parades, New Orleans dreamt up a multifarious number of activities for celebrating Mardi Gras in a socially distant way. Whether you're going on a biking/walking tour of the house floats or driving through City Park for Floats in the Oaks, we've hatched occasions to dress for, out of nothing but our own will. Even if you're not doing anything special, you don't have to justify your Mardi Gras ensemble. In the words of the great contemporary ideologist Ariana Grande, "You like my hair?/Gee, thanks, just bought it./I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it."

Plush Appeal

Plush Appeal is a family-owned store in Mid-City that has been supplying the city with Mardi Gras novelties and beads for 31 years. New this year is their selection of limited-edition Krewe of Orpheus signature papier-mache flowers, available for the first time ever. Their apparel is pretty cute, too. We want the "purple, green, and gold sequin-trim-sleeves, black long-sleeve shirt"—sequins are usually melodramatic, but these just provide a pop of shine instead of an entire spectacle. 2812 Toulouse St., (504) 482-0000,

Uptown Costume & Dancewear

On Magazine Street, there's an audaciously orange building that sticks out from the rest of the street, exactly the way a costume shop should. If you decided at the last minute that you need a whole entire look (maybe for your upcoming Floats in the Oaks trip), Uptown Costume & Dancewear has you covered from head to toe, literally. They have goggles, wigs, and hats galore, and those are just the trappings for your cranium. Their store is sure to have something for all sizes and styles. 4326 Magazine St., (504) 895-7969,

Arc of Greater New Orleans

Arc is a nonprofit that empowers people with disabilities by providing jobs and services. Their "turn beads into jobs" initiative repackages and sells trinkets, costumes, and accessories in eco-friendly and exciting packages. Maybe you've seen their donation receptacles around town, or maybe you've volunteered there yourself. No matter if it's the first time hearing about Arc or you know all about them, shop their DIY Mardi Gras 2021 online store; it's the way to go if you're in the know. 925 Labarre Rd., (504) 324-1919,

Mardi Gras Costume Sale at The Kingpin

The 12th Annual Mardi Gras Costume Sale at The Kingpin is an all-outdoor, socially distanced opportunity for you to get your gear while supporting local artists. This year, they're advertising "one-of-a-kind headdresses, handmade and vintage costumes, leather masks, fancy hats, sparkly shoes, weird accouterments, and many, many more things to assist you in your costume adventures." If you missed the sales on January 30 or February 1, don't despair. You'll have one last shot on February 8, from noon to 4 p.m. 1307 Lyons St. (at Prytania, behind Zara's), (504) 891-2373,

Home Malone

Is your house dressed up for Carnival yet? In a pandemic, these are the questions we must ask ourselves. Home Malone carries festive yard signs, king cake mask spray, seasonal door hangers, and more, by over 150 Southern artists. "No need to sift through mass-produced gifts here," their online presence says. From owner Kristin Malone's first sale (which was a refinished chair put up for sale on Craigslist) to their current retail incarnation, everything at Home Malone is as idiosyncratic and adorable as their name. 4610 Magazine St., (504) 766-6148,

Nikki's Boutique

A year-round, 24-hour Halloween store in the French Quarter comes in handy for a city that finds excuses to wear festive regalia at least 15 times a year. Nicole Voltolina of Nikki's Boutique is described on her Yelp bio as "fueled by her passion for Halloween." She and her team voyaged the country visiting local companies, catching the best trade shows, and meeting with costume designers. Their work culminated in a store where you can get everything from party supplies and props to costumes and body paint. 107 Chartres St., (504) 302-2095,

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