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Designer Duds at the Santa Monica Vintage Fashion Expo

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Do you fancy wool letterman's jackets from the '50s, slick yellow thigh high boots from the '70s, or delicate beaded flapper dresses from the '20s? Then you might be familiar with the Vintage Expo held three times a year at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. As a self proclaimed thrift junkie, this LAist staffer decided to check out the chichi event that attracts starlets, fashion designers, and magazine editors.

Though the $10 entrance fee seemed a bit ridiculous (why pay just for the opportunity to spend more money?), I decided to treat this like a visit to a museum costume exhibit where I could touch the clothing and take photos freely without hovering guards. Printing out a $2 discount coupon and utilizing street parking also helped a bit.

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I didn't run into any movie industry types, just teens scooping up colorful bangles and groups of middle aged women trying on hats from the 1940s. Since my shopping tastes run more toward Good Will and the PCC Flea Market rather than the achingly hip vintage stores on Melrose, I experienced sticker shock numerous times throughout the day.

Fortunately I did not leave the expo empty handed; at a booth ran by a friendly woman from Texas I found the perfect item to complete my Jackie O. Halloween costume: a tiny black pillbox hat with netting. It set me back only $8.50. Not bad, but I think I'll stick with eBay from now on.

(More Photos Under The Cut)