Best shops in LA: Time Out's top 10 vintage stores

From boho-romantic frocks to discount Dior, there's plenty of au courant fashion finds at these top 10 vintage stores, some of the best shops in LA.

Photograph: Courtesy Mister Freedom
Mister Freedom

Searching for that perfect pink sweater set to match the ensemble worn by your favorite Mad Men character? Want to stand out on the red carpet with a vavavoom vintage glam gown? If you're shopping in Los Angeles, Time Out's here to help with a guide to some of the city's best vintage stores.

RECOMMENDED: The best shops in Los Angeles

Best for dresses: Shareen Vintage

Critics' pick

A big sign on the front door of Shareen Vintage proclaims that there are no boys allowed—and not just because there are no changing rooms inside (don’t forget to wear underwear!). Proprietress Shareen Mitchell buys strictly for the ladies, specializing in fanciful, affordable dresses from just about any 20th century decade imaginable, but mostly the ’50s through the ’80s. Her Downtown LA warehouse is stocked with hundreds of cocktail frocks, day dresses and bridal gowns, making it an ideal place to spend an afternoon playing dress-up with your girlfriends and the friendly, helpful sales associates.

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East Los Angeles

Best for sunglasses: Replay Vintage

Critics' pick

Although Replay has an absolutely pristine collection of vintage garb for men and women—on our last visit, we found several ’60s shift dresses that appear to have come straight from the Mad Men wardrobe trailer—you’d be forgiven for not making it past the front half of the store. For that’s where the dead-stock vintage sunglasses are on display, the product category for which Replay is best known. Leave plenty of time to try on the dozens of on-trend styles from the ’60s-’90s, which span everything from neon ’80s ski glasses to classic wire frame aviators and round hippie shades.

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Los Feliz

Best for accessories: Lemon Frog

Critics' pick

This cozy little storefront is packed literally floor to ceiling with ladies’ goods from the ’50s through to the ’80s. You’ll find plenty of dresses that wouldn’t look out of place on Zooey Deschanel, but what we come here for are the scores of accessories, which include both expected items (sunglasses, hats, shoes, bags, jewelry) and those that you don’t see at many other vintage stores (wallets, hair ornaments). The space is divided down the middle by price—items under $50 are closest to the front, while those over $50 are in the back—but there are also plenty of pieces under $10 for those who are truly willing to dig.

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Echo Park

Best for window shopping: The Way We Wore

Critics' pick

Out of all the high-end designer vintage stores in LA, this is one of the few in which we actually feel welcome browsing the rails without any intention of dropping several grand on a Chanel bag. Shopping at The Way We Wore is like taking a class in fashion history, where owner Doris Raymond has curated a mix of important womenswear from the Victorian era all the way up through the present day—there’s even an appointment-only “inspiration library” for designers that goes further back in time than that. And although most prices are out of reach for the average girl, Raymond holds 50% off sales twice a year—so start saving up now for that Dior jacket.

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Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea/Third St.

Best for bohemian vintage: Tavin

Critics' pick

Shopping at Tavin makes us want to move to Laurel Canyon, take up landscape painting and walk around barefoot with flowers in our hair. Owner Erin Tavin, a wardrobe stylist and popular Rose Bowl vendor, has one of the most distinct points of view of any vintage dealer in Los Angeles, consistently curating an offering of boho-romantic ladies’ pieces—breezy Indian tunics, white cotton sundresses and lacy Victorian nightgowns, to name just a few. It’s also a popular spot for brides-to-be, and we suggest keeping tabs on the newest arrivals on the store’s Facebook page.

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Echo Park

Best for guys: Mister Freedom

Critics' pick

Ask any denim designer where they go for inspiration, and it’s likely that Mister Freedom is on their list. Owner Christophe Loiron has amassed a huge collection of old-school men’s jeans dating back to the 19th century, including brands both well-known (Levi’s, Lee) and those that have long been off the radar. Be sure to look out for vintage military garb, graphic tees, flannels, western shirts and workwear, along with Loiron’s own Mister Freedom line—some of it made in the store with archival fabrics, and other pieces made elsewhere in the USA and Japan.

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Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea/Third St.

Best for avant-garde vintage: Scout

Critics' pick

Scout is the true fashion fanatic’s vintage store, boasting pieces that might be deemed a bit too conceptual for the general public. You’ll find pieces from big name designers—Thierry Mugler, Alaia and Calvin Klein are just a few of the names that have cropped up in the past—as well as lesser-known brands and sculptural jewelry that are just as jaw-droppingly rad, with price tags that refreshingly tend to remain under $200. Store owner Joey Grana is the co-founder of biannual vintage show A Current Affair, so you can also shop the best of the Scout goods there.

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Hollywood

Best Westside: Hidden Treasures

Critics' pick

This Tiki-style shack is home to our favorite vintage shop west of the 405, located deep in the heart of Topanga Canyon. Once you get past the dinosaur and pirates guarding the entrance, you’ll be privy to what appears to be the contents of a kooky grandmother’s attic—think: varsity jackets, military uniforms, ’80s graphic tees, Nordic sweaters, antique sleepwear and Halloween costumes all year round. Of course, they’ve also got a more traditional range of vintage gear for men and women, too—much of it under $30—but we recommend leaving no marching band jacket unturned as you explore this offbeat shop.

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Topanga

Best for a budget: Jet Rag

Critics' pick

Once you shop at Jet Rag, every other vintage store is going to feel wildly overpriced—that’s because just about everything on the rails, from 1960s evening dresses to 1970s polyester men’s dress shirts, is under $30 (and in shockingly good condition). This is not the store for those who like their vintage mix edited; rather, it’s for those who like to spend hours hunting through thousands of pieces for that unexpected something, no matter what the era or style, on racks so full that you can’t move hangers aside. For the ultimate bargain, show up at 9am for the weekly Sunday parking lot sale, where everything is $1.

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West L.A.

Best time warp: Playclothes

Critics' pick

Shopping at this costume designer favorite truly feels like you’re stepping back in time. Maybe it’s the sweet salesgirls with pin curls and red lipstick, or maybe it’s the old neon Moorpark Pharmacy sign that spans the back wall. Perhaps it’s the fact that local grannies, who were likely alive to wear the clothes when they were in style the first time around, are browsing the rails alongside trendy young things. All we know for sure is that Playclothes’ reasonably-priced pieces for men, women, children and the home—most from the 1940s to 1980s, both designer and ready-to-wear—is one of the most consistently fantastic in LA. We’ve never once left there empty handed, and are pretty confident we never will.

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Burbank

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