#1: Shareen Vintage
1721 North Spring Street
What: A 6,400 sq ft converted warehouse in Downtown LA carrying up to 5,000 pieces of women’s garments (even bridal gowns) and accessories at any one time, displayed according to look or era. Owner Shareen Mitchell curates her impressive range from used clothing dealers across the US, cleaning and restoring the pieces in her workshop on-site.
Another speciality: clever reworks sold under her eponymous label, her way of saving pieces that are too damaged or unpopular. She uses the fabric from gaudy 80s printed frocks, for example, and converts them into bandeau and cropped tops with matching skirts for the spring season. Note: The shop floor doubles as a communal changing room.
Why Visit: Whether you want to emulate the city’s grunge-influences It girls or are into fun, flirty day dresses from the ’60s and ’70s, you’ll find them here. On-site alteration services are a bonus.
Who Goes: The indie style set, including actress Michelle Williams, and singers Florence Welch and Lana Del Ray. And designers teams from labels spanning Guess to Ralph Lauren have been known to drop by for research. From US $34 (S$43) for a top to UUS$198 for an evening dress
8021 Melrose Avenue
What: The intellectual vintage store that specialises in arty or minimalist designer and non-designer pieces – mostly in black and white – dating from the ’70s to the early 2000s. Owner Joey Grana has been a buyer in the industry for two decades and is also a co-curator of the hip semi-annual vintage pop-up fair, A Current Affair.
What he looks out for when sourcing for his vintage pieces: “Interesting shapes, prints and concepts and relevance… I prefer to carry pieces that can be easily integrated into a contemporary wardrobe, and tend to stay away from status items or anything that immediately looks era-specific.
Why Visit: For good-as-new early Margiela, Comme des Garcons, Ann Demeulemeester and Helmut Lang. Collectors of rare ’90s labels like Romeo Gilgi and Ozbeck would get a kick too.
Who Goes: Cool model types. Eric Wasson and Vanessa Traina are reportedly fans, while Frankie Rayder has modelled for the store’s blog. From US$48 for a t-shirt to US$498 for a designer dress
#3: The Way We Wore
334 South La Brea Avenue
What: The store that can rival a museum, with an extensive range of mint condition elaborate gowns and pieces by key designers from every era, dating from as far back as the ’20s ( spotted: Vionnet from the ’30s and Dior from the ’50s). One of the owner Doris Raymond’s most valuable pieces is a pre-World War 1 Paul Poiret opera coat.
Next door, she runs what she calls “the inspiration space”: a dizzying archive of reference books, vintage clothing patterns, prints and fabric swatches, and even embellishments that’s open to industry clients.
Why Visit: You’ll be spoilt for choice looking for that red carpet-worthy evening dress; browsing the racks alone is a treat.
Who Goes: Reports have named A-listers like Angelina Jolie, Adele, and Lady Gaga as customers. Dita Von Teese also popped by in the sixth episode of L.A. Frock Stars. From US$25 for accesories to over $US100,000 for collectibles
An adapted version first appeared in Female‘s July 2013 issue.
Fashionable Creatives Sabrina Elman And Charmaine Seah On The Importance Of Good Food And Good Times
Fashion Photographer Chuck Reyes Shoots A Series Of Intimate Portraits Of His Wife On The Eve Of Lockdown In Paris