Thrift shopping for vintage treasures is easy when you know where to find them. Here are seven of our favorite thrift shops in Los Angeles.
With all the celebrities, stylists, red carpets and generally stylish people that crowd Los Angeles, it’s no surprise the city offers some of the best vintage shopping there is to be had. There are loads of thrifty options where you can really score great bargains, but where this west coast city really shines is in the high-end vintage department – with gowns, sequins and old-school Hollywood glamour galore.
Vintage shopping is part skill, part luck and part perseverance, but you can stack the odds in your favor by hitting up stores known to always stock good stuff. Here are seven of our favorite thrift stores in the city of angels. For those of you located elsewhere, many of these also have online shops.
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Not a store, but a classic LA weekend destination, the flea market at the Rose Bowl is held every second Sunday of the month, rain or shine. Frequented by celebrities and Hollywood stylists, the 2,500 or so stalls here feature a great selection of everything vintage. Admission is on a sliding scale ($8-20) depending on how early you get there. This is definitely a place where the early bird gets the best bargains, so aim to be there early. Bring a cart, lots of cash and don’t be afraid to haggle.
Rose Bowl Flea Market, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena
Council Thrift Shops
There’s nothing fancy about this chain of thrift shops, it’s classic rifle-through-the-racks-for-hours thrifting. With a bit of patience and luck you’ll be guaranteed to come out of here with something incredible. The National Council of Jewish Women has locations peppered about the city, but two favorites are the one on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City and the one on Pico Boulevard in Mid-City.
National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shops, nine locations throughout LA
This Hollywood store is fueled by rock and roll music and bargain-hunting hipsters. It’s fairly affordable and organized and you can surely score good finds in the store, but much of the appeal of Jet Rag is their Dollar Sundays. Be prepared to sharpen your elbows and really fight for the good stuff at this parking lot clothing sale bonanza. Once the bags are opened it’s a free-for-all – grab the good stuff and hold on to it because it gets crowded and crazy. Everything is a dollar, so good bargains are sure to be made. Bring lots of dollar bills and arrive early to find parking.
Jet Rag, 825 North La Brea Avenue, Hollywood
No boys are allowed in this store, due to the fact that there are no dressing rooms. Here, clothing is tried on right in the store, so remember to wear nice underwear. There are also no price tags, you walk up to the register with the items you want and they are appraised on the spot. This may seem counter-intuitive to bargain shoppers, but most of the items are in the $35-$80 range. Black velvet hangers and red dot tickets are used to indicate that an item is over $90. Owner Shareen is a vintage expert and will gladly offer advice. Look out for the occasional $3 sales, that’s where the real bargains are.
Shareen Vintage, 1721 N Spring Street, Los Angeles
This cozy little shop in Echo Park is filled to the brim with well-preserved, reasonably priced vintage finds. Some of Flounce’s specialties are beaded evening bags, 50s cardigans, floaty 30s chiffon dresses, 40s rayon swing dresses, atomic print skirts, and accessories like gloves, bags, hats, jewelry and shoes. Owner Lisa is highly knowledgeable about all things vintage and is more than happy to answer questions and, if you can’t find what you are looking for, find it in the back for you. Look out for sale racks on the sidewalk from time to time for really good sale scores.
Flounce Vintage, 1555 Echo Park Ave, Echo Park
The Way We Wore
The Way We Wore offers an extensive collection of vintage clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories that span the entire 20th century. All merchandise is personally curated by owner Doris Raymond, who selects each piece for its design, quality and contemporary wearability. There’s an amazing selection of gowns, organized by decade, and vintage jewelry, Chanel pieces in particular. Sometimes, the store has a 50% off sale, in which case you should be prepared to rub elbows with stylists looking to score red carpet dresses for their high-profile clientele.
334 S La Brea Ave, Mid-City West or Shop online
Possibly the best-known high-end vintage store in LA, Decades is a go-to destination for all things vintage glamour. In 1999, Cameron Silver partnered with style connoisseur Christos Garkinos to establish the Hollywood-based consignment boutique Decadestwo as a complement to vintage couture shop Decades, which specialized in couture from the 20th Century and back. Now, the two stores have joined forces, under the name Decades, to become the ultimate global destination for luxury vintage and modern designer clothing and accessories. You’ll find all the big brands here, at prices up to 80% off retail. In addition to the LA flagship store, Decades also does pop-ups around the country and have an amazing web-platform with a well-stocked shop, searchable by size, type of item and brand.
8214 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood or Shop Online