Shopping Guide to Los Angeles

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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 the latest Outkast CD 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

  1. Check Out a Sample Sale Event. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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”.
  5. Stay away from the malls. Remember the movie “Valley Girl”? If not, rent it – and see why we advise you to stay away.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Pay Your Taxes. Clothing. Eating Out. Water. Air. Everything is taxed in L.A.

Los Angeles’ Top Shop

Last Chance Boutique in Culver City

Address: 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.

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  • Julie

    Great tip on the sample sales. I just bought a ticket for the Sassy City Chicks on November 3rd! I have been to one they did in San Diego…. I scored some really cute dresses and cheap makeup!

  • I had great success at Ross Store in Hollywood when I visited LA! I bought Kenneth Cole heels for $25!

  • Ashley

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    Pop-up resale shop at 8420 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood (across from Diane Von Furstenberg)

    Amazing pieces from fashion editors, stylists, models, socialites, and celebrities closets

    Carry: Chanel, Valentino, Gucci, Missoni, Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Marni, Chloe, Lanvin, Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Balenciaga & much more at up to 70% off!

    Amazing clothing, shoes, bags and accessories.

    Open for the next week everyday day from 10 am-6 pm.

    *Portion of proceeds to benefit the LA Union Rescue Mission homeless shelter in downtown LA

  • camping tourist

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  • amy

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    Anyone know of a great consignment/used wedding dress store in Los Angeles?

    Thanks!

  • >

    Hi there. Actually food in grocery stores is NOT taxed in LA.  And a lot of places that are super posh offer free parking for three hours (like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica).  As a former Chicagoan, I can always appreciate free parking!
    Visit LA, you’ll love it.

  • Kendra

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    I just moved from LA to Houston. Got any Houston hot spots to visit? I love to shop but I also need to clean out my closet to make room for the new stuff. Any advice of making $$ off your used but still fashionable items?