Passion for Fashion

GinaWare! Costumes & Clothing

GinaWare! Costumes & Clothing is a bit like “Brigadoon,” the Lerner and Loewe musical about an idyllic world that awakens once every 100 years. The store only appears the second Saturday of every month. It too is a blissful place, offering chilled mimosas and spicy bloody marys to its customers as they peruse the fanciful merchandise.

Gina Cristina, the store’s owner, loves to costume and is known for wearing fun and fabulous clothing. Her store allows her to share her passion with both friends and customers. It’s also an environmentally friendly business that lovingly sells recycled and vintage clothing. The store’s showroom is full of Hawaiian shirts, colorful sundresses, unique costumes, tiaras, flirty tutus, antique jewelry, beaded gowns, classic hats and one-of-a-kind neckties.

Cristina describes herself as an accountant with a shopping disorder. When she’s not crunching numbers, she haunts estate sales and garage sales where she often finds treasures she wants but really doesn’t personally need. She also can’t resist when Hollywood South productions put their costumes on sale. Sometimes those costumers even come to her.

“Gina has a great eye for pieces, especially those that suit the New Orleans carnival population and you can see it in her amazing collection,” says costumer Kate Adair on the store’s Facebook page. “She has helped me out multiple times when I've been under the gun on a hunt and she makes the process fun.”

Each month the store has a theme — from ugly Christmas sweaters, to the Red Dress Run, to St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Mardi Gras.

“This Saturday, we’re highlighting Easter hats and Jazz Fest fashions,” says Karin Curley, the store’s assistant and media specialist.

GinaWare’s marketing is simple but effective, using a combination of Facebook, e-mails and word-of-mouth advertising.

“We are different than other thrift stores because we emphasize wild clothes,” says Cristina. “Most of my merchandise is flashy and colorful. I’ll never buy a pair of plain black pants.”

GinaWare is also open by appointment for groups and special events. Not long ago, a bicycle club arranged a visit to the store during one of its excursions.

“I come here to find something that will make me smile,” says regular customer Barbara Oakley. “I always find something to wear when I come here and I never know what it’ll be.”

Lee Hoffman, a new customer, says the experience makes her feel like she’s on an episode of “American Pickers.” She bought three bracelets, a fancy vest and three lively Hawaiian shirts.

Have something you think Cristina would like? If you’re cleaning out your closets and want to donate to her collection she’s happy to help. Just no plain black pants, please.

“I love what I do,” Cristina says. “This isn’t about the money. I’m happy just to make the rent.”




GinaWare! Costumes & Clothing

4429 Bienville St
Open the second Saturday of every month
Next opening this Saturday, April 8
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Categories: Labors of Love