Los Angeles may be an epicenter of the world's most forward-looking modern fashions, but the city loves to dress up in the past, too. Films and TV shows continually bring previous decades and centuries to life through detailed costuming, which means there's an ongoing demand for sartorial treasures of bygone eras. Hollywood's elite also look in the rearview mirror for fashion inspiration−many a starlet sashays on the red carpet in vintage couture as a nod to the Golden Age of film glamour. Plus, the past always ends up informing the present, as fashion revivals recycle historical trends, making seemingly outdated pieces suddenly look ultra contemporary. For all of these reasons, there's a robust collection of vintage boutiques here, and these five are the crème de la crème. Whether you're in the market for lavish designer couture or vintage work denim, you'll score some choice additions to your own wardrobe "department"!
Celebrities and stylists the world over flock here for glamorous gowns and other one-of-a-kind couture pieces from the likes of Chanel, Hermès, and Christian Dior, with a focus on items from the 1960s and '70s. Add a statement handbag and necklace, and you're ready for a spin on the red carpet.
The Way We Wore
Shopping at this expertly curated boutique is like taking a class in fashion history from the late 19th century to the present−only a lot more fun. Study up at the store's research library and browse the racks of designer day and evening wear, from 1930s chiffon gowns to 1960s bikinis.
Attention gents: there's a vintage store in the mix expressly for you, and it looks like denim nirvana. You'll find an unparalleled collection of jeans dating back to the 19th century, plus a variety of vintage options to wear on top, from military garb to flannel shirts to graphic tees.
Costume designers for TV shows like Mad Men set in the 1940s through 1960s regularly raid this treasure trove of ladies' and gents' throwback fashions for dapper suits and slinky cocktail dresses. But more casual pieces like Hawaiian shirts and capri pants are perfect for a daytime romp ("playclothes" indeed!).
This specialty boutique has a unique slant on vintage, focusing on a certain California bohemian aesthetic of the 1960s. Think Afghani tunics in bold colors and prints, lace mini dresses, ponchos, and suede fringe jackets. You may be inspired to put some flowers in your hair and disappear into Laurel Canyon.