Our 9 Favorite Shops To Buy Vintage Clothes In Los Angeles
Vintage shopping is the best kind of shopping. It's tougher but more rewarding: there's an element of magic when you happen to stumble upon a piece that just happens to be the right size and style. You get something unique that won't go out of fashion too quickly—and often not for much more than you'd pay at Forever 21. It's also arguably more ethical: buying used is definitely more earth-friendly (one of the three R's is reuse!) and you're not supporting sweatshops (directly, anyway). You might have to sew on a few buttons or get out a couple stains, but it's pretty much win-win. Here are some of our favorite places to buy vintage. We know Southern California has a wealth of great shops, so add your own favorites in the comments.
Tavin Boutique (Facebook)
This vintage shop has a very distinct, very Laurel Canyon vibe going on. So if your bod is caftan ready for summer or you're already planning next year's Coachella outfit, this is the place you'll want to hit up. There are sarongs, kimonos, dainty Victorian lace dresses and pants with legs wide enough for you to feel the canyon breeze. Many of the items—including wedding dresses for the bohemian bride—will probably qualify as splurges unless you're living off the royalties from your 1970s folk band.
Tavin Boutique is located at 1543 Echo Park Avenue in Echo Park, 1543 Echo Park Avenue
If you've got a good eye, you'll want to check out Jet Rag's $1 Sunday sale. It's a little chaotic going through piles of clothes and we can't guarantee you won't have to use your seamstress skills or use some Shout on whatever you get. But for $1 and the potential for some great finds, are you really going to complain? The store is great during the rest of the week, too. They've got two floors of clothes arranged helpfully by style and era, so you know where to go whether you want to get your James Dean, American Hustle or 50's housewife on. They've got a little bit of everything: blouses and dresses, a decent selection of coats and purses from just about every era and you can even get old-school teddies or nightgowns. The racks are packed and with the exception of some big-ticket items, the prices are affordable.
Jet Rag is located at 825 N La Brea Ave. in Fairfax, (323) 939-0528
A+ vintage, A+ neon (Photo via Playclothes)
Their dressing rooms are super adorable (Photo by Emma Gallegos/LAist)
Sometimes going through racks upon racks of vintage clothing to find just the right piece can be a grind—a grind I happen to enjoy, but a grind nonetheless. But Playclothes does the work for you. The store is beautifully laid out and decorated (check out that vintage neon sign!), and they've clearly put a lot of effort into picking out each piece. Each piece has a tag letting you know the era from whence it came. They specialize in mid-century pieces, which has made it a favorite of costume designers for shows like "Mad Men." The emphasis here is on clothes, but there's vintage furniture, bedding and kitchenware, too. Some of the pieces are from as far back as the 1930s, but they're in great shape. And yet despite all this, you're going to find some pretty amazing steals. I'm not sure how they swing it, but my guess is the loyal customer base, cheaper real estate in the Valley and maybe "Mad Men" fandom itself somehow factor into the equation. If you don't find what you're looking for here, Magnolia Boulevard is a hot spot for vintage and pin-up style shopping.
Playclothes is located at 3100 W. Magnolia in Burbank, (818) 557-8447
Chuck's Vintage (Facebook)
This is the place for denim junkies on a vintage kick: you'll find overalls, customized Levis, Boss of the Road, Can't Bust'em and other rare finds sourced from all over the country (and even Japan). You might even find jeans from the 19th century. They also specialize in old band T-shirts, work shirts, work boots and if you want something frilly, they've got lace dresses. This laid-back, working class fashion won't work on a working class budget. But uber-cool owner Madeline Harmon (often seen with a cigarette in hand) will help you find the right fit and style, and you'll be in good company since stylists who know their biznass come here: It Girls Lana Del Rey and Miley Cyrus count themselves as customers.
Chuck's Vintage is located at 8012 Melrose Ave in Fairfax, (323) 653-5386
The Japanese-themed Popkiller shops throughout SoCal really make you feel like you're stepping into a shop in Japan. The store has fun, wacky gifts (think Wacko Soap Plant) and has a mix of vintage and new clothing. It's a great place to get some crazy-patterned dresses from the '50s to '70s, and they range at decent prices from $25 to $40. Popkiller also has a great selection of retro jackets (also with colorful designs) and old school t-shirts with Disney and cat-themed artwork. And if you're looking for something a little fancier like a vintage leather jacket or fur coat, they've got you covered (but those items can get a little pricier, of course). —Jean Trinh
Popkiller is located at various locations in Hollywood, Los Feliz, Little Tokyo and Costa Mesa
Wasteland can be exhausting, but it wouldn’t be uncommon for the careful shopper to walk away with one exquisite purchase. Nestled in the shopping district near Melrose and Fairfax, Wasteland offers a mixture of new, vintage and resale items. Many are high-end name brands like Armani or D&G, and some are quite unique. It’s a great place to get something for an exclusive event where you want to stand out. Don’t go on a tight budget or a strict time limit, and you’ll probably walk out with something special that you love. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
Wasteland is located at 7428 Melrose Ave. in Fairfax, (323) 653-3028
The selection at The Way We Wore (Facebook)
The Way We Wore
This place is definitely a splurge, but they have clothes that date all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century—including some great Jazz Age Era dresses. If you do not have a trust fund, look for their sales. If you're the kind of person that likes window shopping more than buying, you can catch the shop on the teevee show LA Frock Stars. This shop claims the reigning queen of vintage Dita Von Teese along with Adele, Laura Mulleavy, Kat Dennings and Lady Gaga as clients.
The Way We Wore is located at 334 S La Brea Ave in Hancock Park, (323) 937-0878
Lemon Frog Shop (Facebook)
This shop in Echo Park may be on the smaller side but it's well-stocked and well-curated. The owner clearly has an eye for finding standout pieces from the 1950s through the 1980s that have stood the test of time. The store has an especially great selection if you're looking for accessories: hats, jewelry, purses and shoes (including platforms). Oh, and cowboy boots—this is Echo Park after all. The store is stocked with items at a variety of price points, so you can go all out for name brands or a unique piece of jewelry for just $10.
Lemon Frog Shop is located at 1202 N. Alvarado St. in Echo Park, (213) 413-2143
St. Vincent de Paul (Photo by Omar Barcena via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
This place isn't for the faint of heart. Maybe pack some trail mix and water, because you gotta go big or go home when it comes to this huge warehouse in Lincoln Heights. It's not just about clothes: you can find furniture, dinnerware or basically anything someone might want to donate to this Catholic charity. There are well-organized sections, but you're still probably going to have to do some digging—and you might need to give your clothes a couple good washes before you think about wearing them—but you will find diamonds in the rough. Even though prices have ticked up and there are "boutique" sections, the offerings are still pretty dang cheap.
St Vincent de Paul Thrift Store is located at 210 North Avenue 21 in Lincoln Heights, (323) 224-6280