April 4, 2013

Shopping Guide to LA

Throughout the week a stream of pop songs featuring various lyrics about California have been running through my head (i.e. California Girls by Katy Perry, obviously), but they're quite accurate in glorifying the Golden State. From San Francisco to Los Angeles, the California-cool character is palpable and infectious. It makes me want to get 5 shades darker, don my largest sunnies, and slip into a gauzy maxi dress.
Between this year and last I have experienced many different parts of California and the most buzz-worthy is definitely Los Angeles. There are numerous shopping destinations, star-sighting spots, and famous landmarks to be seen. Since this is a fashion blog I'm just going to be focusing on the fashion-oriented places, but there's something for everybody & every interest in LA. So here's my top five shopping havens:

1) Melrose Avenue
The long line of stores ranges from Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen to American Apparel and vintage shops. In the more affordable area, many of the stores have been there for decades and have similar merchandise, but it's all very cute and I've found some unique pieces among them. While some of the stores are super feminine, the overall effect embodies the grungier, street-style of LA.

  • If you plan on going to Melrose, you must visit Wasteland. It is the best consignment store I have ever been to. It's full of designer finds that are gently used and sometimes more than half the original price. On my most recent trip I scored a leather blazer by Trouve for $75 that was previously $200 (You'll see this on my Spring Break(down) video next week!)
2) The Grove LA
This outdoor shopping center is fairly new and has developed quite a scene. It's newest acquisition to its collection of stores (Including Nordstrom, Barney's, Zara, Abercrombie, etc.) is Topshop/Topman which opened in February. I can always count on a statement piece from Topshop, and it's one of the three locations in the U.S. There's also a myriad of different restaurants and a Dylan's candy bar to satiate your sweet tooth.

  • I prefer this mall to others because it's kept so clean and accessible. Even though it has a lot of the same standard stores the village-like layout makes it seem charming in a way. Plus, the public restrooms are seriously the nicest one's I've ever been to. There must be tons of people who go through there every day, but they are kept pristine. (This may not be that important to some people, but I found them to be a wonderful part of my experience).
3) Rodeo Drive
I'm actually not too crazy about Rodeo because of the degree of fussiness that goes with it, but if your pocket is deep enough this would be the place to shop all of the designer brands. I enjoy just walking Rodeo and admiring the stores that aren't available in Washington like Chanel and Versace, but it's easy to find yourself in a sea of tourists who insist on snapping pictures of every label in sight.

  • Overall, I find Rodeo to be a bit overrated and I think the heavy load of tourists that mill about are obnoxious, but if you're going to be in LA it would be sad to say you didn't experience Rodeo at least once. If you can, go through the hills, past Bel Air, and then down into Beverly Hills to get to Rodeo for a more scenic route.
4) Old Town Pasadena
While this isn't in LA, I thought I should mention it because I love it so much. It's about half an hour away from LA by car and is totally worth the drive. It's a quieter experience than the buzz of the city, but it will meet your shopping needs. From Forever 21 to J. Crew, it has it all.
  • Many people consider Old Town the real downtown of Pasadena, because it's where the most of the action is. All of the shopping is on Colorado Boulevard, which has never seemed too packed with people any of the times I've visited. If you're in the mood for a relaxed shopping trip, this is the place to go.
5) Santee Alley
I haven't actually been to Santee Alley when it was open, but from what I've heard it's the best place for cheap finds. It's located in LA's Fashion District right in downtown. There are about 150 stores/vendors in the Alley (it literally is an alley between two blocks) that are open every day of the year. Be aware though, a lot of the "bargains" are really just knockoffs.

  • I arrived right when all of the vendors were closing down, but from what I saw Santee Alley is equivalent to Canal Street in New York. Personally, I'm not a fan of those kinds of vendors, but I know a lot of people who don't mind it. Who knows, you might find something great! There's shops for clothes, accessories, shoes, cosmetics, etc. with everything at reasonable prices.
The best part of LA shopping is the diversity of experiences you can have within a few days. Sometimes you just have to be in the right mood for a certain place, but no matter what you'll find somewhere you enjoy in the LA area.

1 comment:

  1. My first time visiting LA was in August last year and I love the grove too :)