What’s not to love about L.A.? You’ve got the beach, the sun, and the stars. Even traffic on HWY 10 is bearable when you’re blasting Outkast in a convertible in February.
Shopping in L.A. is an endurance sport, because of the sheer distance between each point. In an effort to save gas and sanity, build your day around sections of the city. For example, if you know you are going to be in the Venice area, plan to do all of your shopping and activities in that area on the same day.
Save tourist traps like the Santa Monica promenade (which is nice in an outdoor mall sort of way) or Rodeo Drive (yeah, right), for after you have done your real shopping.
The Budget Fashionista’s Los Angeles Shopping Tips
Go to a Sample Sale
Sample Sales in LA are more shopping events than the down and dirty sample sale events in NYC. Most involve celebrities, drinks, and a killer gift bag. For an overview of when these sale events usually take place, visit my guide or head to sites like Sassy City Chicks, Billion Dollar Babes, Fashion Co-op, or Queen Bee Beverly Hills to score an invite to their next sale event.
Rent a Car
Public transportation sucks in L.A.. Spend a little extra money and score a convertible. Warning: Gas prices are out of this world.
Hit the Discount Boutiques
L.A. is the land of the boutique. Here’s some of my favorite ones. Last Chance in Culver City where the owner gets her goods directly from the pricier Melrose and Rodeo boutiques. Lisa Kline, whose main Melrose store is a favorite of celebs like Nicole Ritchie and Lindsay Lohan, has an outlet store that has incredible designers at prices that normal people can afford.
Last, but not least, is Rodeo Drive Resale in Sherman Oaks, which sales both consignment and new designer fashions at a major discount.
Visit Fred Segal
Nothing about this store is budget. However, it’s an L.A. institution and you may find yourself looking through the racks with an A-list celebrity. FYI: Fred is no relation to Steven Seagal or the kid from “The Wonder Years.”
Stay Away from the Malls
Remember the movie “Valley Girl”? If not, rent it – and see why we advise you to stay away.
Visit a Swap Meet/Flea Market
There are several throughout the city. Visit the one on Lincoln Avenue in Venice; it’s open every Saturday.
Visit the FIDM Scholarship Store
Support up-and-coming designers from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and score white knit tanks for $1 and a wedding dress for under $50. Who knows? You might buy a dress from the next Vera Wang.
Dress in Layers
No, you’re not going through menopause at 28. You’re experiencing the varying temperatures of L.A. Wear layers and drink an extra cup of soy.
Shop Loehmann’s in Beverly Hills
Skip Vegas— Loehmann’s in Beverly Hills is the best place to catch a fight on the West Coast. Watch Lycra-clad Barbies battle budding starlets for the last pair of discounted Seven jeans. To avoid death by Manolo, head to the store on a weekday morning.
Pick up an L.A. Weekly
The L.A. alternative paper has the most comprehensive listing of activities in the area. Plus, it’s free.
Pay Your Taxes
Clothing. Eating Out. Water. Air. Everything is taxed in L.A.
Los Angeles’ Top Shop
Last Chance Boutique in Culver City, 8712 Washington Blvd., 310-287-2333
Hours: Monday-Friday 10-6, Sat 10-5
Last Chance Boutique is like a Melrose boutique, but cheap and in Culver City. Find designers like Vivienne Westwood and Prada at unbelievable prices. Owner Samira keeps this small store stocked to the brim with goodies.
More Los Angeles Information
- LA.com – The inside scoop on LA, including a detailed shopping guide.
- Venice Beach – Learn why steroids are a bad thing
- CBS Studios – Free tickets to your favorite show
- Santa Monica Pier – Amusement rides, video games, and annoying birds. Very L.A.
- Grauman’s Chinese Theater and Hollywood Walk of Fame – Just to say you’ve been – and to compare your paw prints with those of the stars.
- Beverly Hills – See what wealth and stardom can buy you.
Have a great shopping tip for LA? I wanna to hear it. I really do. Post it in the comments section below.