Los Angeles is vintage for savvy shoppers looking for special pieces from decades past. My blogger pal Sandie Ward aka The Food Stalker (pictured above, and below in a Golyster outfit) is a LA native and former model with an eye for vintage fashion, and here are her tips:
- The Way We Wore:
There are a handful of vintage fashion personalities in Los Angeles, but very few are as beloved — or as knowledgeable — as Doris Raymond, proprietress of The Way We Wore. Raymond carries only the most exquisite pieces from the late 19th century through the late 20th century, but she curates her collection with the eye of a modern fashionista, so you never feel like you’re in a museum. Raymond may dress some of the biggest A-listers in town, but she is among the most democratic fashionistas you’ll ever meet, and will happily answer your dorky questions about how to get that “Edie Sedgwick vibe” or that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s look”. Just go in, soak up Doris’ warm vibes and behold her dazzling selection of 1960s Pucci, 1970s Halston, 1980s Bob Mackie, 1990s Versace and millennial Lanvin. It’s a vintage pilgrimage you’ll never regret. 334 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park
- Golyester – Painfully Hip:
Yves Saint Laurent once said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal” — but he could have been talking about Golyester, a vintage clothing and textiles mecca that has, like the goods inside, withstood the test of time. It’s the kind of place where you can imagine the ghost of Joan Crawford peering over Ginger Rogers’ shoulder as she caresses the racks of pristine camisoles and pencil skirts. These kinds of finds rarely come cheap but vintage rookies and the underemployed shouldn’t despair. Window shopping will always be free. 136 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park
- I love the Pasadena Flea Market for hip cool vintage finds as well – 2nd Sunday of every month at The Rose Bowl.
A new, easy-to-follow itinerary created by Starline Tours and accessible via their Hop-On Hop-Off bus routes opens the doors to vintage gems, combining a city tour with vintage shopping in LA’s most renowned spots. The Vintage Shopping Itinerary features store descriptions, route and stop numbers and is downloadable from Starline’s CitySightseeing Hop-on Hop-off website where a 48-hour unlimited stop ticket may be purchased in advance at a discount.
- The largest collection of vintage stores can be found on the Red Route of the Starline Hop-on Hop-off Tour – which covers Hollywood, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills – and includes Melrose Avenue, which is often considered the mecca of vintage shopping in LA.
- Fans of high-end designers will find Gianni Versace and Oscar de la Renta at Sielian’s Vintage Apparel owned by Sielian Lie and her husband, Tsutomu Carton. This place is a favourite stop for current designers who need inspiration. If you delay purchasing something you adore – you might see it on the red carpet next week. (Red Route, Stop 6)
- Shoe lovers in search of Manolos or Louboutins will want to visit entre nous (Red Route, Stop 9). This designer boutique also has clothing from designers like Pucci and Prada. Then just a couple of stops further along (Red Route, Stop 11) at Re-Mix Shoes, shoppers will find hand-tooled leather shoes mixed in with vintage footwear, and at nearby Hotel del Ville, get an eyeful of vintage eyeglass frames as well as newer styles from Europe, with vintage photos and furnishings as part of the décor and ambience.
- The mother lode of vintage shopping is located on Melrose Avenue (Red Route, Stop 12). Decades has been doing vintage here for longer than their name. The store has access to celebrity closets and items from here are often seen on top award shows and at events around the city. If denim, vintage t-shirts and leather jackets worn with cowboy boots is more your style,Chucks Vintage will be your go-to establishment.
- Or, visit Reformation where vintage fabrics and other items take on new life in what is called environmentally sustainable fashion! Scout, curated by owner/designer Joey Grana, helps inject retro flavor with vintage clothing from Missoni, Jiimmy Z or Ann Demeulemeester as well as a wide selection of hard-to-find baubles.
- Melrose Trading Post is a huge outdoor marketplace with nearly 200 vendors. This treasure trove for serious shoppers and people watchers on a laidback Sunday is so entertaining that there is a small admission fee. If you only have a buck left after Melrose Trading Post, look for the $1 Sunday yard sale at Jet Rag (Red Route, Stop 13) which happens to be one of Gwen Stefani’s favorite vintage stops in LA.
- Not to be outdone, the Iguana Vintage Clothing has three floors of merchandise which are organized by decade, color and type of garment. Want something orange, purple or neon green? Head for the racks. Pick just one, if you can. (Red Route, Stop 15).