For the fashion girl, getting the latest trends is an expense that adds up quickly like the weekly grocery bill. It’s a long list of rules to stay in trend with the current fashion scene. It doesn’t help when the list adds up quickly with the addition of college expenses like tuition, books, insurance, rent and more. If you identify as the fashion girl, your fashion expenses rank higher than your grocery list. You won’t resort to walking down the streets of Beverly Hills in tacky, grandmother hand-me-downs.
Here are some tips and tricks to achieving all your dream looks in Los Angeles.
Trying to achieve a one-of-a-kind look with one-offs from a fashion show or fashion label’s studio can be challenging. But in Downtown L.A. every week in the Cooper Building, sample sales range from a variety of designers from those emerging on the fashion scene to well-known brands like ALC, Joie and Paige denim. Sample sales often include those unique pieces not found in a department store either; some include designs that never left the designing process. You don’t have to be a size 0 to find an item–sizes range from size 0 to 14.
The prices are usually up to 75% retail price for brand new pieces. Some are catwalk samples or unsold merchandise with tags from retailers such as Bloomingdales. Sometimes there are luxury sample sales of accessories from brands like Prada, Givenchy and Miu Miu, but the premium brands have a discount between 20%-50% depending on the collection. You have a chance of adding to your treasure chest a Swarovski encrusted Miu Miu bag, oversized Prada cat-eye sunglasses, and perhaps a wedding gown from Oscar de la Renta.
Shopping doesn’t only stay in Downtown–sample sales happen sporadically through Los Angeles County, on the shopping app Chicmi there are lists of locations in Santa Ana, Venice, Beverly Hills, Commerce and Westminster. Also, samples aren’t limited to fashion pieces per se. There are items from furniture, candles and beauty care to give your dorm that upgrade.For the girls who have an eye for the more rustic items, vintage shopping in Los Angeles is a haven. Crossroads Trading has some of the best unused, secondhand and lightly used clothing, with a mix of vintage and trendy clothing. You can score a current piece sold at Zara for half the price or a vintage Dior blouse from the ’80s for little to nothing. One time I found one for only $20.Crossroads Trading also accepts your secondhand clothing for full store credit or getting half the estimate value in cash. However, they stay true to buying only current fashion styles, whether it’s a color or designer or silhouette of a garment. Crossroads Trading has locations ranging from Santa Monica, Pasadena, West Hollywood and Culver City.
For the girls who want authentic pieces from the 1910s-1990s without following the fashion magazine, there are quite a few stores for those desires too. The Way We Wore, Decades and Recess, located in Los Angeles county, offer those classics people scout for. Outside of the big city, Playclothes in Burbank has exclusive styles for Victorian-style lovers.
The most fashionable streets of Los Angeles, where the wealthy fashionistas, Hollywood stylists and runway models shop at premium boutiques. Most people feel hesitant to go shopping on luxurious streets like Melrose in North Hollywood, but this street has a treasure chest of secondhand luxury clothing. The RealReal on Melrose offers secondhand luxury clothing, accessories and handbags for up to 80% off the retail price. If there is a certain collection piece from the 1990s, early 2000s or a piece from last year, the RealReal is like the designer storage store. You will find it. The prices are perfect for a girl on a budget because a pair of Fendi flats for $97 or that vintage Chanel tweed skirt for $147 will not make your check bounce.
“For a while, I wanted to purchase the Longchamp Roseau leather tote bag, when I saw the bag retail for around $500, it was too high for my budget. I saw the same bag at The RealReal in an excellent condition for $329,” said East Los Angeles alumni Diana Adams. “It was an amazing price for a great quality bag, I had to purchase it without hesitation.” There isn’t a particular price range, it makes quality items accessible for the general public while also doing good for the environment. The best part of the RealReal is their online site where you can purchase an item and have it shipped to your front door. Or you can be notified once a piece is in the Melrose location to try on a garment you really desire.
If you love quality shopping without the crowdedness of the inner city or hectic LA traffic, consider a shopping destination at an outlet. The Outlets at Orange, Ontario Mills, Citadel Outlets and Camarillo Premium Outlets are all outside of Los Angeles, but they aren’t on the other side of the state. All the merchandise at outlets are current and past season merchandise with eye-opening deals from 25%-80% off, depending on the seasonal promotion. “Before I decided to purchase my Prada belt, I had my eyes on it around May. The price tag, however, was still too costly for me to spend,” said California State University, Los Angeles alumni Emily Tam. “A few months passed and I came across the same belt at a lower price due to sales. Without hesitation, I bought it in a heartbeat. You can always own luxury items without breaking the bank.”
Fashion doesn’t have to be purely a weekend pleasure. A Current Affair is a vintage fashion Expo in Los Angeles is a two-day event that happens once a year at the Cooper Building in downtown. To be granted entry to the 500 plus private vintage exhibitors, you have to buy a ticket in advance on their website. The golden ticket grants you access to pieces that you couldn’t find in shops in Los Angeles because the exhibitors are from across the United States. If you’re out of the Los Angeles circle and love vintage fashion, you can shop Los Angeles vintage boutiques at other fairs. A Current Affair hosts the same fair in New York and San Francisco.