Mondette’s Top Ten LA Vintage Shops

A Current AffairMondette is the insider’s guide to Los Angeles. Covering everything from fashion to art to food and real estate, the website and daily newsletter serve as the ultimate resource guides for what’s going on in the City of Angels. And since fashion is our favorite flavor, we’ve asked Mondette’s very own Christina von Messling to take us on a personal tour of the town’s best vintage shopping spots.

Los Angeles is not about history—this youthful city is more about looking forward than digging through its past. Except when it comes to clothes. Our city is an elaborate haven for vintage finds with ample stores, pop-up shops, flea markets and appointment-only boutiques. And here are our top ten recommendations for vintage finds:

Lily et Cie (9044 Burton Way, Beverly Hills) is undeniably the most exclusive stop for vintage lovers, where A-list actresses such as Penelope Cruz and Renee Zellweger get their red-carpet stunners. But beware, these exquisite frocks demand a steep dip into your wallet. Decades Two (8214 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles) and The Way We Wore (334 S La Brea Ave., Los Angeles) are similarly high-end and well located, with national recognition and no introduction needed.

Beau + AeroIf you’re looking for that same level of vintage somewhere off the beaten path, head to Sielian’s Vintage Apparel (9013 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood). This is where the Olsens actually buy things (not being gifted), and where Rachel Zoe picks up all her Halston.

Those in search of extraordinary finds that aren’t necessarily named Chanel, YSL or Dior, must go to Scout (1646 N Cherokee Ave., Hollywood). Owner Joey Grana has an undeniable eye for the great, and his well-curated shop takes the digging out of the vintage. The same goes for Santa Monica’s Beau + Aero (2307 Main Street, Santa Monica), whose quirky interior design and native-inspired decoration has, among others, an extensive collection of vintage lingerie.

LA Vintage ExchangeEmbodying the East Side spirit are Weltenbuerger (1764 North Vermont Ave., Los Feliz) and Ragg Mopp Vintage (3816 West Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake). Expect avant-garde pieces with West Coast ease and an approachable price point at the former (the owner Bryan is German and also imports a few very interesting Berlin-based labels not available anywhere else in the States), and your typical charming, filled-to-the-brim establishment at the latter.

A trend that has conquered the city over the past few years is the appointment-only store, run by part- or full-time vintage enthusiasts who prefer a more personalized approach to selling. Although many of these places come and go, LA Vintage Exchange (email LAVintageExchange@gmail.com for an appointment) is one that has proven staying power. The high-low approach curated by owner Courtney Lowe (I found a pair of YSL sandals as well as a no-name floral-embroidered ’70s fitted white tee) is refreshing.

Santa Monica Vintage ExpoLast but not least, the pop-up shops and flea markets are well-known entities in the city. Of course there is the legendary monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, where hundreds of vendors offer everything vintage—from apparel to accessories to furniture to knick knacks. But for a strictly fashion-only experience, the Santa Monica Vintage Expo is the best option. Filled to the brim with apparel and accessories, the sprawling grounds and endless rows can take up a day of wandering. Stop by the beach afterwards—it’s a half a block away!

And here’s a bonus shop that can’t be left out: The relatively new A Current Affair pop-up began last year and has come to the rescue with a tightly edited selection of the best West Coast vendors. Held at an airy Downtown penthouse, and offering something at every price level, this is vintage shopping at its best.