How To Shop Like An L.A. Local
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Credit card burning a hole in your pocket? There’s no better place to get your fashion fix than beautiful Los Angeles. Just a short hop from the east coast of Australia, it’s the shopping destination you were born to visit.
From Rodeo Drive to Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, the city is home to some of the most iconic shopping strips in the country. But, to be honest, most locals don’t actually shop at these high-end hotspots – they know the precincts that are even better.
If you’re looking to shop like the L.A. locals do, here are five essential places to visit.
Row DTLA – Downtown Los Angeles
Westfield Century City and The Grove are great if you like your chain stores, but if you’re in the market for something a little more on-trend, Row DTLA is worth checking out. Located in the downtown area, it’s a stylish new hub for food, fashion, creativity and innovation.
Dating back to 1923, the site has undergone a huge heritage-sensitive restoration project – part of the downtown area’s ongoing revitalisation efforts – and now boasts a carefully curated tenant list, which brings together complementary retail, restaurant and creative brands.
Oak NYC, Bodega and Banks Journal are just a few of the boutiques, plus there’s a great weekly Sunday market known as Smorgasburg, where you can find dozens of food vendors, cool pop-ups, workshops, and enough stalls to spend an entire afternoon exploring.
Gentlemen’s Breakfast – Echo Park
Men’s grooming and fashion was a niche market just a decade or two ago. Beard oil? Many of us had never heard of it, let alone knew what it was for. Fast forward to today, however, and it’s a booming global industry. Men are required to look good, smell good, and dress well at all times – and, thanks to shops like Gentlemen’s Breakfast, it’s easier than ever.
Located off Sunset Boulevard in hip Echo Park, Gentlemen’s Breakfast is a 200-square-foot store where licensed optician Van de la Plante revamps vintage eyewear brands’ dead-stock by repairing and filling them with your prescription. These are some of the trendiest yet old-school glasses on the market, and they’re all fitted perfectly for your own eyes and face.
Gentlemen’s also stocks a variety of classic American-made accessories including ties, tie clips, and watches, as well as a range of boutique whiskies and cigars. The bitter chocolate brown interior and antiques add to the rustic, hunting lodge feel of the store.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard – Venice Beach
Hearing an area described as ‘the coolest block in America’ can lead to vastly different reactions in people. For some, it’s like a siren song beckoning you in to explore, yet others hear alarm bells of yet another over-hyped (and probably overpriced) tourist trap.
Thankfully, Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach really is as cool as everyone says it is. A mile-long stretch of designer outlets, Abbot Kinney is a favourite local shopping haunt with more than a few gems to explore. Eyewear, food, fashion, accessories – it’s all here.
Socially conscious shoe creator TOMS, which also donates shoes to kids in need; small-batch designer eyewear brand Ahlem; Aviator Nation, where the spirit of the 70s lives on; and men’s store Enda King are a handful of the must-visit stores found along this sunny strip.
Brentwood Country Mart – Brentwood
Don’t be fooled by the rustic barn-like styling, Brentwood Country Mart is an ultra-hip retail and dining precinct home to more than its fair share of boutique and designer brands. Sure, it’s a little kitsch, but if it’s good enough to attract Julia Roberts, it’s good enough for you.
Opened in 1948, this local favourite has had a renaissance in recent years and is now home to a collection of stores including actress-turned-lifestyle-guru Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, Christian Louboutin, and tailored menswear store Sid Mashburn, to name just a few.
Whatever you’re in the market to buy, chances are you’ll find it in L.A.
Squaresville Vintage – Los Feliz
If this age of global mass-production, it can sometimes be a challenge finding quality clothing that doesn’t lose its shape after one wash. Rather than say a little prayer to the wash gods each time you clean your favourite shirt, take a trip back in time at Squaresville Vintage and find something that was truly made to last.
Opened back in 1996, this two-storey vintage mecca in Los Feliz stocks everything from men’s and women’s retro-chic clothing to shoes, accessories and designer brands, and it’s all but guaranteed you’ll find a piece on the rack that helps you stand out from the pack.
Follow them on Instagram for sneak peeks at the constantly rotating stock and style tips.
(Lead image: Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach Photo: Abbot Kinney)
Published 11 December, 2018