Fashion designers from around the world flock to LA to go vintage shopping. Why? Because some of the best vintage clothing and accessories on the planet exist in Los Angeles, and everyone from Marc Jacobs to Tom Ford to Alexander Wang find inspiration for their collections by scouring the best pieces from decades past. Since we have the luxury of running to these stores over our lunch break, we felt compelled to share the wealth and let you in on our favorites. Los Angeles is a destination for many reasons, but you could plan an entire trip based entirely around vintage shopping. Here’s where to go and what to expect when you get there.
Your Guide To Vintage Fabulousness
Photo: Adam Katz Sinding
This is a world-class venue for collectible and historic clothing. The shop is filled with pristine vintage Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Alaia, Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, Vivienne Westwood, Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and more—the list of designers goes on and on.
Resurrection, 8006 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-651-5516
At this tucked away store, you'll find a highly curated collection of immaculate vintage from fashion designers including Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel and Hermes. These rare and often mint-condition pieces from a wide array of decades (naturally) are more than a little pricey, but that should be expected when you're in the market for a navy blue crocodile Birkin.
Decades, 8214 1/2 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-655-1960
Set aside a chunk of time to browse this downtown destination that boasts 7,000 square feet of vintage from the '30s though the '90s. They specialize in retro day and evening dresses and have become the go-to for indie brides looking for one-of-a-kind, satin, lace or tulle gowns.
Shareen, 1721 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, 323-276-6226
Expect a wide range of price points ($50-$15,000) and a mix of designer and non-designer vintage from the '60s through the '90s, with a focus on the '70s. Items like beautifully constructed silk maxi dresses, printed jumpsuits and avant-garde knitwear are the kind of scores you'll find here.
Bustown Modern, 8166 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-951-0290
If you're obsessing over your festival wardrobe, you need to know about this vintage outpost. It's filled with embellished sundresses, suede fringe jackets, tooled leather belts and classic Levi's. There are excellent deals to be found here, making it worth the trip to Los Feliz.
Squaresville, 1800 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027, 323-669-8464
The Way We Wore
The racks of amazing vintage at this store are brilliantly grouped by category, including vintage swimwear, cover-ups (tons of Pucci), disco jumpsuits, cotton sundresses, boho fringe and crochet. The extensive collection includes fashion and accessories from every decade of the 20th century—be prepared to be seriously inspired!
The Way We Wore, 334 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-937-0878
This treasure trove is is filled with fabulous embroidered coats, party dresses, delicate chiffon dresses, nighties, opulent jewelry and quirky hats. The collection focuses on vintage from the early 1900s through the '70s, with a few amazing cocktail dresses from the '80s and '90s. Playing dress up is welcome here.
Golyester, 450 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-931-1339
Hotel de Ville
This store stocks vintage sunglasses so special, you may leave with more than one pair. Their selection of designer shades range from bright retro frames to demure cat-eye styles. Don't be surprised if you leave the store looking way cooler than when you arrived.
Hotel de Ville, 7422 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-634-9911
Lemon Frog Shop
This store features a wide range of prices, but its motto is reassuring: "Hundreds of items for $10." It's busting at the seams with everything from Victorian-era lace dresses to disco jumpsuits—you'll have to do some digging, but there is something for everyone.
Lemon Frog Shop, 1202-B N. Alvarado Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026, 213-413-2143
This store is well organized which allows you to easily navigate the selection of vintage and contemporary designers. If you're looking for something specific, you can actually find it here (an often difficult task in a vintage store). Don't forget to peek in the jewelry cases full of spectacular costume pieces.
Recess, 111 N. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-931-4009
Vintage creations from the Victorian era through the '90s are mixed with current pieces from Japanese designers. This eclectic shop has a little bit of everything at a range of prices.
Shabon, 7607 1/2 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-692-0061
If you're looking for a designer gown for a special occasion, make an immediate appointment here. Boasting a well-edited selection from the '20s through the '90s, it's the type of place where the dress will find you.
Sielian, 8629 1/2 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 310-246-9595
What Goes Around Comes Around
This store has a mind-blowing arsenal of one-of-a-kind, vintage rock T-shirts and distressed Levi 501s. These beyond cool rock 'n' roll finds are mixed with vintage dresses from Saint Laurent, Moschino and Alaia, to name only a few.
What Goes Around Comes Around, 159 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-933-0250
If vintage Americana is your thing, you'll be impressed by the stacks of denim and racks of broken-in T-shirts here. With pieces from the '30s all the way to the '70s, this is the place to find the ultimate denim jacket all your friends will want to steal.
Chuck's, 8012 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-653-5386
The buyers here use regular customers and as the driving force behind what they buy—if everyone is asking for fringe, the store is stocked with tons of '70s, if people want mod booties, '60s pieces magically appear. The focus is usually on the 50s through the 90s—the stock changes frequently so there's always new pieces to obsess over.
Painted Bird, 4208 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029, 323-522-3368