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An Excellent Vintage 

For 10 years, Funky Monkey (3127 Magazine St., 899-5587) has been a popular destination among young shoppers -- male and female -- looking to add a vintage vibe to their wardrobes.

"We're known for our well-priced resale clothing and accessories," says Sara Wheelock, who owns and operates the business with her husband Alex Watkins.

Funky Monkey isn't just for recycled regalia; it's also a clothing exchange (the store offers in-house credit or cash for items it accepts) and a one-stop shop for unique costumes by local designers such as Jennifer Toups, Darlene Hargreaves and Mo Lappin. Hargreaves turns out traditional costume options like Roman gladiators and Indians, while Lappin's Howlpop line offers a cheeky, debutante-meets-punk-rock alternative with its selection of deconstructed prom dresses. Toups creates reconstructed pieces adorned with fanciful objects like pinwheels.

"Usually, we get a little bit of everybody in here: high school students, college students and thirty- and fortysomethings," says Wheelock. "But Halloween and Mardi Gras are definitely our biggest times of the year."

Wigs, sunglasses, stockings, handbags, scarves, shoes, jewelry (knock-off pieces from the 1980s featuring animal heads; crystal, jet, and thin bangles studded with rhinestones are currently hot sellers), and vintage style T-shirts advertising '70s rock bands and local companies like Hubig's round out the mix and provide the finishing touches.

The store's quirky, off-beat inventory, all neatly displayed and easy to see, also includes some new ready-to-wear garments and accoutrements -- check out the sundresses, $15 metallic clutches, 1970s-style hoop earrings and jeans -- that will break you out of a nothing-to-wear rut without breaking the bank.

The men's side has lots to offer as well. Fat Tuesday masqueraders will want to peruse the large stock of new and vintage costumes, which includes pirates, warriors, devils, pimps and pieces from a now-defunct Carnival krewe, while hipsters will want to survey the stash of disco shirts, afro wigs, chunky Elvis rings and gold lamŽ jackets. Customers can even design their own custom, heat-transfer T-shirts made by graphic artist Chris Reams or choose from among the hundreds of in-house designs available.

click to enlarge Funky Monkey gears up for Mardi Gras with wigs, costumes, - boas and boots.
  • Funky Monkey gears up for Mardi Gras with wigs, costumes, boas and boots.
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