If you’ve chosen to station yourself here in New Orleans, we assume you own a costume box somewhere in your home. Get ready to increase your storage. Perhaps it’s your first summer here, and your box is more of a plastic bag with three strands of Mardi Gras beads. Maybe it’s your 53rd summer, and you’re still trying to stuff tutus into the three rooms and two crawl-spaces dedicated to your various colorful disguises. Either way, come as you are . . . we welcome you to the 2018 Red Dress Run!! This red flash event is held by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers (“the drinking club with a running problem”) on the 2nd Saturday of every August. As the name implies, the infamous event is an athletic race that starts in Crescent Park (2300 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70117) and continues throughout the French Quarter. Now it’s not completely crucial to sport a red dress—but every respectable costume closet in New Orleans holds a costume for every event! And if you want to be among the top fashionistas of this year’s race, you’ll start the perfect red dress hunt today.
Now it is important to note that not every individual wears a dress. If you don’t like following rules or your ankles in dresses or making memories with breeze and freedom between your legs, it’s going to be okay. There are plenty of acceptable red outfits you can arrange without an actual red dress. For example, the “inside-out red t-shirt & black athletic short” look, the “every red item in my household” look, the red romper (a.k.a “the remper”) look, or my least favorite (but most popular for NOLA summers!) “I painted my whole body red and you can’t really argue with me” look.
Weeks before this upcoming New Orleans classic, thrift stores and even chain shopping hubs separate one piece of clothing from the rest to assist the customer in a speedy choice. But don’t be tempted to take a back seat on this decision of yours; understand that this decision may be life or death. The Red Dress Run is one of the most crucial athletic fashion events of the season. Everyone will be there, wearing a freshly sweated-in outfit to throw in the costume chest after returning from the celebratory festivities in the Quarter. But don’t worry about this fashion emergency just yet; you have plenty of time to gather the materials for your best look by August 11. And to make things easier, we’ve researched the best places around town to find the perfect red outfit. If you’re traveling from afar to take part in the Red Dress Run, here’s an online resource for you that might help, Zaful. For those of you looking to search through a variety of options in person, I would suggest a trip to your nearest mall to browse through the cheapest surplus of colorful dresses at Forever 21. Fortunately, you don’t have to be 21 or lack commitment issues to visit this one. But if the glittered keychains and loud music get to be overwhelming, head over to a similar spot in price and variety, H&M.
For those of you thrifting, you’ll find the widest variety at the nearest Red, White, and Blue (5728 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70123). This is a fun shopping adventure that I’d suggest doing with friends, as it’s a large warehouse with sections ranging from traditional Japanese household items to red maxi dresses—but don’t forget to bring cash, as they won’t accept your credit or debit card! If you don’t find your hidden red gem there, head over to the nearest timeless staple, Goodwill (3400 Tulane Ave #1000, New Orleans, LA 70119). Another quirky used clothing/vintage shop that might have some great options still left hanging on the racks is Funky Monkey, (3127 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115). Personally, I have purchased many items here. Other New Orleans residents have found answers at a used clothing store specializing in vintage fashions and other fun, costume dresses, Elan, (5207 Magazine St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70115). But my last and certainly not least favorite is sure to provide you with some red for the occasion, Buffalo Exchange, (4119 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115). This is a hip and lively shop that not only resells used clothing from other patrons, but is also willing to buy your old stuff, too! Just imagine: You’ve grown out of your red dress this year, but it’s too lovely to throw away. Toss it in the used clothing ring there and let another runner try last year’s fashion—while you sport your own newly purchased, yet slightly used, rouge petticoat.