Oct. 15 2013 07:55 PM

Junc and Mimi + Red battle for best shopping for cheap-ish trends

Junc Life
Jeffrey Parish, in his carefully cluttered natural environment at Junc
Photo by Aaryn Belfer

    Even the most wardrobe-abundant woman finds herself in the desperate situation of having absolutely nothing to wear. If you take away Syria, Egypt and Miley Cyrus, it's downright tragic. But a quick shop for the right piece can make your old ones seem new again. And since nobody in her right (or wrong) mind wants to find herself throwing elbows for junk at Forever 21, I suggest a slow perusal of the treasures at Junc Life & Style (2209 Fern St. in South Park) instead. 

    A friend of owner Jeffrey Parish says the proprietor has a "good eye for beautiful decay," evident in his carefully cluttered mélange of the beautiful and the strange. Juncman Jeffrey has a carefully curated selection of clothing and accessories, all of it interesting and sure to alleviate any bored-of-my-wardrobe malaise. 

    Here you can find a timeless dress with an intriguing cut or long-sleeved tee with a wide-open back. There are the staples: jeans, belts, caps and—for me—ruched or drapey anything. Most of it feels one-of-a-kind, even if maybe it's not.

    Parish also has a whole lot of Everything Else You Didn't Know You Needed. That skeleton head of a tiny bird? Buy 11 of them, because everything's better in a collection! A stuffed mountain cat? Taxidermy is hot. Clocks, journals, bangles, earrings, a Jesus nailed to a nail-infested cross—it can all be yours. This place is a trove, and you'll want to take time and discover which particular bit of gypsy-pirate-voodoo stuff fills your void.

    Of course, if strange and deranged is not your quite your thing, but you smartly reject the mall as the place for people who want to look like everyone else, don't miss the threads at Mimi & Red(3032 University Ave. in North Park and 5630 La Jolla Blvd. in La Jolla). The shop is small but packed with mostly very affordable on-trend clothes; there's something here for everyone. 

    I fell in love with the Audrey NYC tunic online, but didn't inquire once I walked through the door, because—Hello! Everything else! Maxis and tunics and rompers, oh my! I was stopped in my tracks by the Everly Chevron Shift, but it's the accessories that are the real winners, as they're ridiculously affordable, enabling a girl on a budget to change a whole outfit with one $12 pendant. 

    The only thing that put me off was the destroyed rock-band T-shirts by Chaser. I almost caved and bought the Pretenders, but damn if I'll spend 60 bones on a holey tissue tee. Not everything is wallet-friendly, and this means danger for one without impulse control. Trust me: Do not try on the RVCA oversized sweater if you don't want to end up taking it home. 

    The winner: If you're looking for clothes and only clothes, Mimi & Red has the bigger selection. But I'm into a little bit of funk and lean toward the twisted, the bizarre, the unexpected while rejuvenating my wardrobe, so Junc Life & Style wins this round. 

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