The Guide to Vintage Shopping in Los Angeles

Photo courtesy of Tavin, Facebook
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With such a storied legacy of entertainment, arts and music, it’s no surprise that Los Angeles boasts one of the most vibrant and eclectic vintage shopping scenes in the nation, as the wardrobes of Hollywood’s models, starlets, and Oscar-winning costume designers — past and present —overflow into its network of beautifully-curated vintage boutiques and world-class flea markets.

It’s possible that your new pre-owned Victorian prairie lace blouse by Gunne-Sax once lived in Stevie Nicks’ closet. Maybe your sparkly silver sequined blouse was worn by a cast member of Dynasty, circa 1984. And that pair of striking Streamline Moderne suede and leather heels from the 1930s — did Bette Davis kick them off, after yet another awards ceremony? If you’re lucky, you might even score pedigree vintage at Goodwill, which has a flagship store in Atwater Village.

REPLIKA VINTAGE

Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier at Replika Vintage
Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier | Photo courtesy of Replika Vintage, Facebook

Located in the Arts District of Downtown L.A., this appointment-only boutique is your '90s avant garde couture dream come true. Founded by a wardrobe stylist and costume designer, Replika Vintage reads like a 1990s Kate Moss i-D magazine spread — Comme Des Garçons, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, Helmut Lang, Issey Miyake. The collection of rare Japanese pieces is especially impressive.

SQUARESVILLE

Vintage clothing at SquaresVille
Photo courtesy of SquaresVille, Facebook

Location, location, location. And prices, prices, prices. The edgy selection at SquaresVille is filled with quirk and flair, and best of all, it won’t break the bank — you’ll find peasant blouses, concert tees and crazy printed caftans here for under $20, not to mention 1950s dresses and 1970s bell bottoms for under $50. Some of items lean towards the absurd, but you’ll have a whale of a time trying them on, and you’ll almost certainly stumble upon your next favorite pair of pants in the process.

Avalon Vintage

Vintage dress at Avalon Vintage in Highland Park
Instagram by @avalonvintage

Carmen Hawk, model and former design partner of Milla Jovovich, curates looks from every era at her Eastside shop, where French style maven Lou Doillon and stylish singer Vanessa Paradis have been known to browse. Located next to a Vietnamese restaurant in Highland Park, Avalon Vintage has an eclectic collection that spans from the 1900s to the 1990s — anything from '30s silk pajama sets to chunky 80s sweaters, alongside more than 6,000 handpicked records curated by Hawk's boyfriend and business partner Rodney Klein (who founded the former Plastic Fantastic records in Silver Lake).

FOXHOLE

Custom denim at Foxhole
Custom denim at Foxhole | Instagram by @thefoxhole

Foxhole is a cozy store that specializes in recycled denim, and the owners, skater Jeff and fashion designer Miss Fox will even stitch your initials on to them if you ask. Their imagination knows no bounds - denim pillows, ponchos, purses — as they say “WE DREAM IN DENIM”. Their selection of vintage tees, jackets, and accessories makes it hard to leave this place empty handed. 

TAVIN

Vintage clothing at Tavin Boutique
Photo courtesy of Tavin, Facebook

Earthy, romantic, bohemian, and specializing in 1960s and '70s wares and gorgeous Victorian lace, Tavin is L.A.’s gypsetter mothership, catering to the woman who easily identifies with “Laurel Canyon, Morocco and the Parisian Gypsy” inside. This dreamy fashion outpost was founded in 2009 by Erin Tavin, who began her career as an actress on the East Coast and transitioned into costuming and styling for film shortly after moving to Los Angeles. She wanted to create a place to lose oneself in; “not just to shop, but to get lost as in a dream…a place to relax in beauty.” Go see for yourself, and live the dream.

PAPER MOON VINTAGE

Paper Moon Vintage
Photo courtesy of Paper Moon Vintage, Facebook

Channeling Ginger Rogers, Marlene Dietrich, and the Ziegfeld girls, the motto at Paper Moon Vintage is "the older the better.” Looking for a flapper style 1920s cloche hat? A Deco style silk dress? Edwardian lace blouses? You’l find nothing past the 60’s at this old-timey fashion outpost, named for the turn of the century craze paper moon photo shoots, from the earliest days of photography.

MELROSE TRADING POST

Melrose Trading Post
Photo courtesy of Melrose Trading Post, Facebook

Warning — once you start digging around L.A.’s flea markets and swap meets, you might find it hard to go back to paying regular vintage store prices. Melrose Trading Post is a weekly outdoor marketplace at Fairfax High that boasts nearly 200 vendors selling antique furnishings, vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories. Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission is $5. 

SCOUT

Vintage Issey Miyake mesh coat at Scout
Vintage Issey Miyake mesh coat at Scout | Instagram by @scoutla

Scout is more than a high end vintage store - think high end pieces from Comme des Garçons, Yves Saint Laurent, Margiela - it’s a tastemaker. The carefully curated collection is beloved by the most stylish and knowledgeable dressers in the city, who then go on to influence the rest of us. From the everyday comfort wear to statement pieces, you’ll treasure your Scout buys forever — owner Joey Grana will take your vintage gems off your hands. 

ROSE BOWL FLEA MARKET

Rose Bowl Flea Market
Rose Bowl Flea Market | Instagram by @nobunobu14

It's all about the thrill of the hunt at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, taking place at Rose Bowl Stadium every second Sunday of the month, rain or shine. Browse 2,500 vendors at arguably the best flea market on the West Coast. Head through the furniture section, cross one of the small bridges, and voila — you’re in floral dress, lace-up boot and fur coat heaven. We love Vlad Ravkin’s studded punk boots, and the vintage Dior shades at the Spectacle Shoppe. Go early, don’t forget to wear a great hat, and comfortable shoes for this al fresco shopping extravaganza. And don’t forget to (politely) bargain — it's part of the flea market experience. Admission is $9 - $20, with VIP entry at 5am and Early Bird at 7am.

FIDM Museum

Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition at FIDM Museum
Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition | Photo courtesy of FIDM Museum, Facebook

For added context and vintage brownie points, don’t forget to visit the FIDM Museum. Located on the ground floor of the Downtown L.A. campus of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, the museum houses a collection of more than 12,000 costumes, accessories and textiles from the 18th century through the present day, including the early Hollywood Costume Collection on loan from the City of Los Angeles.