In Paris, one dresses in solids and ascots to look chic. In Tokyo, one dresses in a multitude of colors and tutus to look quirky. In New York, one dresses up to create the illusion of having money. In Los Angeles? Well, this is a city filled with millionaires who attempt to look as poor — and therefore as hip — as possible.
After all, it’s become passé to show off your money — that’s what Orange County is for. Instead, Angelenos have put their energy into weeding through myriad clothing piles found in the city’s most popular vintage stores.
Los Angeles has made vintage shopping cool again. Though it might be sophisticated of you to answer “Valentino” when someone asks where you purchased a dress, nothing is more hip and happening then answering with, “a vintage store on Melrose.”
La Brea and Melrose avenues are flooded with such shops. If you have the desire to bring vintage into the 21st century, hit up these two streets for a day of store hopping.
But be careful — vintage doesn’t always mean cheap. For wallet-friendly finds, hit up the Good Will on Figueroa Street. If you’re willing to sacrifice a few bucks for fashion, then check out the list below.
8214 Melrose Ave.
After getting buzzed in through the locked door and ignored by the staff, it starts to become clear that you shouldn’t enter Decades Two on Melrose unless you want a vintage dress to wear on the red carpet.
Not too long ago, “vintage” meant quality attached to a reasonable price. Apparently, Decades Two didn’t get the memo.
On one visit, the store was empty save for a film crew, the rapper Wiz Khalifa and his fiancée Amber Rose. Safe to say, it’s easy to feel incredibly out of place.
Decades Two was everything that good vintage shopping shouldn’t be. Vintage shopping is all about accessibility, warmth and the ability to see the magic in something decades old. Decades Two has transformed that magic into an absolutely robotic experience — rude staff and all.
825 N. La Brea Ave
Jet Rag on La Brea is a rare gem of a store: Though you have to do a whole lot of sifting and sorting, you’re bound to find something you’ll fall in love with.
Once you acclimate to the lack of air conditioning, you can’t help but be excited about the options that the store provides. The store is filled to the brim with clothes, shoes and accessories. It seems as if “space” is a word unknown to the owners.
A plus, however, is that Jet Rag is very well organized. A whole rack of jean shorts sits cleanly and neatly across from the old grandpa sweaters that will sell out during Ugly Christmas Sweater Party season. And for the curvier girls — Jet Rag has a great plus-size section.
If you’re afraid of frills and ruffles, then Jet Rag might not be the place for you. Dresses straight out of The Wedding Planner take up lots of space, but if you can weed your way through them, then you’re bound to find something special.
AMERICAN RAG CIE
160 S. La Brea Ave
A mixture of vintage and up-to-date fashion finds, American Rag CIE features clothes, furniture, shoes and DVDs. Part Urban Outfitters, part upscale boutique and part thrift store, it’s almost impossible not to find at least one thing to buy.
The front half of the store is devoted to the latest designer duds. T by Alexander Wang, Balmain and more take up a lot of the girl’s side. For those who are not looking to spend $4,000 on jeans, head to the back, where the vintage is amply stocked.
Beautiful ’50s- and ’60s -era bathing suits might be a bit overpriced, but when you notice the craftsmanship and originality of a sexy one-piece, it ends up looking like a steal.
A negative? American Rag only allows two garments per dressing room. So if you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe, it’s going to take a while.
THE WAY WE WORE
334 S. La Brea Ave
Even though The Way We Wore features a fun collection of shoes and scarves, the theme of the store is certainly evening wear — and expensive evening wear at that.
Most of the dresses are in the $500 and up range, with many price tags reading more than $1,000.
Black slinky dresses from the ’70s are bound to dress up any occasion, if you can find a college event at which to wear one.
Yes, the prices can get a little ridiculous, but it’s hard not to look like a movie star in any of these glamorous finds.