American Rag et Cie
Don’t leave the neighborhood without stopping at the big momma of new/vintage clothing retailers, American Rag et cie. Admittedly, it’s geared to a young crowd, but every age can love the connecting French housewares department and café, Maison Midi and Café Midi.
ATF (All Things Fabulous)
This quirky knitwear shop is the brainchild of a Venice local, and it stocks unique printed sweaters and tank tops in an airy, light space. Prints are unique and formulated in-house, ensuring one-of-a-kind finds for all customers.
A cotton candy–hued dreamland, Bountiful stocks everything one's heart could desire, from gorgeous ceramic cake stands to vintage pill boxes and statement costume jewelry. Devotees rave about the wide-selection and friendly service, but be warned–prices are steep.
Brentwood Country Mart
A visit to this big red barn with fabulous little shops and a few family-friendly places to eat has been a tradition since 1948. On weekends, celebrities and their kids eat at picnic tables surrounding an outdoor fire pit.
Burning Torch caters to Venice Beach’s hipster crowd, turning out recycled, on-trend clothes and accessories for women. The collection is made from sustainable materials that are in step with the brand’s socially conscious philosophy. Shop for one-of-a-kind 1970’s sunglasses alongside Victorian fine jewelry–everything is for sale in the brand’s Abbot Kinney flagship store, from the vintage wall tapestries to the antique chairs.
Chariots on Fire
A former darling of San Francisco’s boutique circuit, Chariots on Fire recently relocated to Los Angeles after owner Ritz Yagi decided she needed a change of scenery. Yagi has already made a splash on the Boulevard, teaming up with super-cool label Tortoise for a sold-out jewelry collaboration. The store stocks a variety of artisanal gems, from solid perfumes and luxurious body balms, to hard to find jewelry from the likes of Marianne Anderson and Polly Wales.
French-born, LA-based Clare Vivier turned into a handbag designer by accident in 2008 when she couldn’t find a stylish yet functional laptop bag. Since then, her simple and chic leather bags, including the signature foldover clutch and messenger carry-alls, have been selling out across the globe. Browse her entire collection at her flagship store in Silverlake, which was modeled after a French pharmacy.
With her skill at providing tomorrow’s fashion trends to today’s tastemakers, owner and buyer Nevena Borissova keeps Curve’s selection one step ahead. Celebrating over a decade of style in L.A. and recently opening up shop in Soho, the bicoastal boutiques deliver an eclectic mix of luxury and sportswear options, stocking everything from couture Viktor & Rolf jackets to popular 7 For All Mankind jeans. Since the selection tends toward the avant-garde and fashion-forward, it is helpful that the stores’ personnel act as stylists—showing you how to pair a Samantha Treacy boxy blouse with Bruno Pieters neutral cuffed shorts or Blur’s draped leather jacket with a 16-strand copper and crystal necklace by T. Ciya. Curve also offers a handful of special services such as trend forecasting, wardrobe maintenance and personal shopping.
Decades, atop a leopard-carpeted stairway, is one of the city’s headquarters for designer vintage dresses and aged status bags. Don’t expect warm and friendly service, however. Unless you’re a recognizable face, a lot of attitude accompanies a shopping experience here. Decades Two, just downstairs, feels more approachable with its more recent castoffs.
Created on a whim by founder Erinn Berkson, Firefly is a one-stop shop for magical gifts for yourself and loved ones. There is something for everyone in this hodge-podge of a store that stocks cards and stationary next to delicate necklaces from a slew of California jewelers. For those with little ones, pop next door to Firefly Kids, which has a great selection of quirky little toys and togs.
Strictly for the young and hip (or those who can still pull off being young and hip) Fred Segal, a collection of stores, encompasses lingerie, luggage, shoes, gifts, men’s and children’s departments, a women’s designer department with labels such as Marni and Jovovich-Hawk, plus a few roomfuls of jeans and an extensive selection of Juicy Couture. A classic LA trove.
Owner Nilou Ghodsi has an eye for understated and exceedingly wearable pieces, with a particular affinity for up-and-coming European designers including Isabel Marant, Giada Forte, and Mes Demoiselles. Don’t miss the stunning labradorite-encrusted rings by Pippa Small.
Another famous Los Angeles fashion emporium that started out with one well-edited store that has spawned into seven boutiques. Don’t expect any real surprises, but the trove of big-name designers in a convenient one-stop shop continues to have a following.
Malibu Country Mart
This wonderful, ocean-close (and extremely open air) shopping center provides residents with the essentials of life, be it sushi at Nobu Malibu; Chrome Hearts-designed Ugg boots at Chrome Hearts, also known for its cross-and-dagger motif silver jewelry; vintage cowboy boots or jeans from the rough and tumble Double RL & Co., or Pucci bikinis from Ron Herman. A sandbox with plenty of climbing equipment keeps the little ones happy.
Another LA classic, Maxfield includes a mix of men’s and women’s fashion (Rick Owens, Libertine and a touch of Chanel), books and cool things for your home, like ‘70s chess sets and beat-up Louis Vuitton steamer trunks. But it’s possible that the cases of vintage Hermès and Gucci leather goods, watches and jewelry are the most staggering things you’ll encounter on your L.A. shopping travels. Owner Tommy Perse is the father of T-shirt designer James, whose own store, James Perse, is across the street.
Founded in 2008 by Venice local Brian Lee, Milkmade embodies the laidback, California cool look, offering clothes for both men and women. The shop offers vintage-inspired threads from local brand Bedwin and the Heartbreakers, soft knits from British knitwear company CASH CA and cozy Reigning Champ sweatpants. There is also a fantastic collection of bath and body products from Aussie-import Aesop.
Nick Fouquet Hatmaker
Nick Fouquet handcrafts hats in his expansive, quirky studio. He strives to make every hat unique, employing unorthodox techniques including firing and hand-painting his creations.
The women’s clothes at Noodle Stories are always interesting, including Japanese labels, plus tables full of cashmere sweaters and good T’s, not to mention unusual socks.
While you’re in the Melrose neighborhood, visit this funky conglomeration of men’s and women’s high and low. Labels include everything from Rodarte to Kate Moss’s Topshop Line and Grey Ant knits. It’s housed in what was once Charlie Chaplin’s dance school, now intentionally raw and unpolished. Men’s shirts are found in a room made of wall-to-wall Legos.
Designer Pamela Barish sells her beautiful, ladylike and expensive women’s collections in her small shop, where she also takes custom orders.
At the shocking pink Paul Smith store, the knighted London designer sells his English bone china, men’s and women’s collections, and oddities such as needlepoint throw pillows and vintage Rolexes remade with brightly enameled faces.
Known for dressing the wealthy local denizens in Tuleh, Jil Sander, Alberta Ferretti and Lanvin. Savannah also sells a small, beautiful collection of made-to-order special occasion clothes, all silk and in a choice of colors. Orders are filled in two-and-a-half to three weeks.
This sleepwear and loungewear brand is predicated on the idea that creative types – artists, musicians, writers – often work best when comfortably lounging in their PJs. Test out the theory with a pair of their luxe pajama pants (some even featuring Liberty of London fabrics), short robes or comfy underwear. The fun boutique also stocks Regime de Fleurs perfumes, vintage books, clothing and other home decor items.
The perfect basic T-shirt, made from supima cotton and modal, launched this LA-based clothing company into fashion fame back in 2002. Since then, the brand’s easy, breezy maxi dresses, swimwear, intimates, and uber-cute kiddie line, Splendid Littles, have all met with equal popularity. Browse the bright, loft-like Santa Monica store along Montana Avenue, then hit the beach, naturally.
This impeccably curated store took off after being featured in the New York Times' magazine and has been going strong since then. Located in the trendy Brentwood Country Mart, the high-concept gift store stocks minimalist, tasteful treasures. The wide offering ranges from organic body care products to gossamer cashmere scarves, ensuring that no visitor leaves empty-handed.