Owner Ulrika Krivanek crisscrossed Europe as a diplomat's wife, collecting the vintage treasures here—1930's crystal decanters, gilded bowls, exquisite beaded tops, oil paintings. As design aesthetics go, "moody European" is a niche, but she makes it work.
Fairy lights and railroad-crossing signs hang from the walls at this down-home boutique, which mixes SoCal breezy with Austin roadhouse swagger—check out the huge collection of Frye boots. The prices, meanwhile, are maybe the best in town.
The jeans here are hyper-modern, while this sprawling space, on a lonely street in downtown L.A., is one keeper short of a crypt. Candles illuminate individual warrens, each showcasing the brand's highly covetable denim.
Die-hard crafters will swoon at the sight of The Urban Craft Center's studio facilities, which include sewing machines, spinning wheels, screen-printing equipment, a library of craft books and—yes—a Bedazzler.
There's a reason Wasteland tops every "best of L.A." list: Starlets can't be seen in the same thing twice. Their loss is our gain: The shop is swimming in barely worn, on-trend clothes at all price points.
"They make the coolest tables, which they can also customize. They did iron side tables for me that read DANGER and POISON, like old hazard signs. I also got a gorgeous '60s-era lamp for my living room."
"This is where you get the amazing evening gown for a big event—something to wear to your brother's wedding, not your friend's birthday. Plus, the owner—a charming, very L.A. woman—is a real character."
The designer behind this overwhelmingly successful collection was 31 when he started his line in 2005; now he can boast four gorgeous stand-alone boutiques. The Los Angeles shop was the third to open (there are others in New York and Tokyo), but it's arguably the best-looking, with painted foam walls and cool slate floors. An understated elegance is the abiding theme behind the clothes too, from lace-edged camisoles to pintucked blouses. There are also pieces from the organic Go Green Go collection.
The tiles on the walls of 06+ are cracked, the floor is scuffed, the lighting dodgy—surprising for a just-opened spot, but it's perfectly in line with the meticulously thought-out decor of high-concept stores of Tokyo, on which this boutique is based. All of the displays and offerings are fabulously offbeat, like a stunningly chic necklace that's strung together with safety pins and made of both cheap charms and precious stones. Look for inventory from fresh, emerging Japanese designers—like For Ceremony and Undercoverism—that you'll find only here.
There are only three locations of this much-loved French retailer in the States. The outpost in West Hollywood—just off bustling Melrose—feels like a general store, with cement floors and simple iron fixtures. It's an appropriate backdrop for the wildly chic, straightforward wares, which are cut in utilitarian shapes (streamlined printed dresses, perfectly draped trench coats).
This 2008 addition to West Hollywood looks like it was carved from a single piece of white material. It's an inspired and streamlined setting for the highly structured silhouettes, though we're particularly taken with McQueen's forward-thinking accessories.
A few of the local American Apparel stores also sell a curated selection of '70s-inspired vintage picks under the name California Select. One can be found at the Echo Park flagship, alongside an ample array of the company's bestselling leggings and long layering tees.
The largest part of this cavernous former car showroom hosts the mix of clothing for which American Rag became famous more than two decades ago (plum vintage alongside established labels like Helmut Lang). Its housewares wing, Maison Midi, brims with Provençal-inspired glasses and pillows, while a 2006 addition, the World Denim Bar, offers a hugely expansive array of denim lines.
This is the best spot in the Malibu Country Mart for those bohemian-tinged pieces that work so well at the beach. Anouk Krueger opened her wood-lined space two years ago and devotes most of the real estate to L.A. designers. There are tops from Deener, Dolan dresses, and Calleen Cordero shoes, all deftly mixed with Matta caftans and Tocca slips. Plus, she just started producing an in-house line of soft leather sandals and equestrian-style boots.
The Beverly Hills outpost of Anthropologie has the best selection of exquisite flea-market-esque home goods, as well as picks from its exclusive collaborations, including vintage-inspired slipdresses from Tracy Reese.
There was a ton of hype when Balenciaga opened in early 2008, and the excitement was entirely justified. The space is huge, supremely cool (it's dotted with asteroid-like tables and has an exposed-wood-beam ceiling), and packed with teetering stilettos and zipper-festooned handbags.
The Santa Monica Promenade is home to a Banana Republic flagship, which means that you'll find more of its chic, polished separates here than you will elsewhere in the city. Plus, it also hosts the new BR Monogram Collection, which is a small range of truly exquisite limited-edition dresses and tops.
The slightly younger and more affordable companion to Barneys is also more boutique-like: Expect a supremely well-curated array of picks from labels like Daryl K and Alexander Wang. The Grove location is the edgiest of the three area Co-ops.
This New York–based fashion emporium has a well-earned reputation for discovering some of fashion's biggest stars. There are loads of lines—like Surface to Air and Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair—here that are hard to find even in some of the most progressive local boutiques.
The Beverly Hills branch is BCBG Max Azria's biggest in the city, but we like the glam new Melrose location best: It has piles of long dresses, along with more casual tops and countless bags and shoes.
At celebrated L.A. restaurateur Melissa Richardson's first foray into retail, a fairyland theme prevails. Rebecca Minkoff bags rest on oversize crickets; a silver tree is dotted with Loeffler Randall heels; and soaring sheets of metal with laser cutouts of flowers snake through the rooms, separating the eveningwear (Chris Benz gowns) from the casual selects (Paul & Joe tops).
Though there's no lack of sophisticated pieces at this cozy boutique, Belle Gray really shines when it comes to more casual basics like tees, shorts, and jeans. Also a big hit: Madison Marcus tops and Genetic Denim jeans.
Despite the fact that it's a chain, this extremely well-conceived beauty resource fits right in on independent-boutique-laden Third Street—which makes this location our favorite, even though the Santa Monica spot is bigger.
Calleen Cordero's line is handmade in North Hollywood—which explains the bohemian feel of her accessories, all fittingly displayed in this simple and earthy shop. The soles of her shoes are made from alder wood, and the tops are crafted from vegetable-tanned leather, though there are touches of high-wattage glamour, like wedges in glimmery metallics.
This St. Barths–based empire, which is all about pastel silk wrap dresses and marine- and bohemian-inflected housewares (Calypso is named after Jacques Cousteau's boat), fits right in at the low-key Brentwood Country Mart. The Calypso Home store is particularly large—there's more here than you'll find in any of the other flagships. There's also a Calypso on Sunset, but the shopping experience in Brentwood is significantly calmer.
Owned by husband and wife Arlington and Jacqueline Johnson Forbes and Arlington's best friend from childhood, Anthula Nunes, this accessories-centric emporium is devoted to a slew of artily cool labels, like Rogan, Comme des Garçons, and A.P.C. In keeping with the name, the limited-edition sneakers, straightforward tops, and neon-hued sunglasses are shown alongside paintings by international artists.
While the fabled Beverly Hills outpost of Chanel carries its complete collection of clothing, the Robertson offshoot, which opened in 2008, is based on an entirely different premise. Espousing a gallery-like approach, the store's interior shifts frequently to match a constantly rotating, carefully curated array of goods, with an emphasis on handbags, jewelry, and shoes.
An unparalleled resource for fuss-free, slightly mod blouses and well-cut pants, this retailer has an appropriately clean-lined, sweeping space in Beverly Hills. There's also a small range of home goods that abide by the same aesthetic.
This recently relocated by-appointment-only space is easy to miss (it's tucked away in the back of a residential loft building from the '30s); once you're buzzed in, an impressive selection of sharply tailored items from designers like Vivienne Westwood, Acne Jeans, and Australia's Hem & Haw awaits.
Ilaria Urbinati, who honed her taste and reputation while buying for local style-setting boutiques Satine and Milk, finally has her very own, hugely anticipated shop (she partnered with two friends, including actor Danny Masterson). There are 5,000 square feet of labels like Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. We're big fans of such innovative conveniences as vintage phone-booth-style dressing rooms complete with handsets for calling in different sizes, plus a resident tailor.
Unconventional but fuss-free menswear-based shapes are Costume National mainstays, and they're all housed in this slick, uncluttered shop. We particularly love the ankle booties and slouchy clutches that are as chic as they are low-key.
Even though it's the younger and hipper spin-off of one of the most famous department stores in the world (Neiman Marcus), every Cusp maintains an under-the-radar, boutique-like feel. There are only six in the U.S., each offering a curated selection of indie labels like 3.1 Phillip Lim and Elizabeth and James.
A luxe hippie vibe pervades this valley favorite, flush with flowy dresses by 3.1 Phillip Lim and Rag & Bone blazers. Make sure to hit the store's biannual blowout sales, set for the day after Christmas and at the end of June.
12184 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-762-3274, shopdari.com
As a former trend caster for companies including Marc Jacobs and Prada, Desiree Kohan has an impeccable eye for exquisitely tailored but interesting pieces—in sizes up to 16—from names like Hussein Chalayan and Juan Carlos Obando. It's all deftly mixed with evening bags, vintage Chanel jewelry, and paper-thin Splendid tees in custom-dyed shades.
Diane von Furstenberg may have one of the most recognizable names in fashion, but there are only five DVF shops in the U.S. The Los Angeles outpost is stark white and sleek, which creates a canvas-like background for her winningly bright colors and patterns, all splashed across wrap dresses and billowy tops.
For the last decade, Diavolina—which started out on La Brea before landing on Robertson—has been the spot in town for a superlative roster of high-end shoe lines. The leopard-print-carpeted place also holds a slew of well-chosen clothing brands, including Alexander Wang, Grai, and Society for Rational Dress.
In the past two years, this affordable shoe collection—known for on-trend, and often trendsetting, slouchy boots and sky-high heels—has opened a smattering of stores across the country. Despite their whopping success, they all preserve the feel of finely tuned boutiques, packing the racks with picks from lines like Mara Hoffman.
The interior here is rustic and old-world-feeling (brick walls, rough-hewn wood shelving, and vintage signage are key elements). The full line of denim is at the Malibu shop, along with a bar for creating a custom pair of jeans. Plus, there are art tomes and picks from Belstaff, Majestic, and Modern Vintage.
The two designers behind Endovanera just started a line for women, but girls have been snapping up pieces from their men's collection since this Echo Park enterprise launched. Lots of the shapes are fitted, like blazers that look like they came from the boys' department, and others—like the hooded cardigans—are just irresistibly cool. The store, marked by an antique sign that says FRONT ST., is slick and pared down.
Just two doors down in Brentwood from where owner Navin Megji went to preschool, Feature is her interpretation of what a good neighborhood shop should be. Though she did a stint in New York at Thomas Wylde, she always wanted to come home to offer a slate of labels—Vena Cava, Wayne, and Karen Walker—that locals used to have to drive too far to find.
Every time we visit, we turn up cute, affordable finds. Recently spotted: floral '40s dresses, Victorian blouses, and '50s circle skirts, with prices ranging from $25 to $150. Make sure to ask about the secret stash hidden in the back of the store.
Dana Foley and Anna Corinna Sellinger met at a New York City flea market, where Foley was selling her handmade skirts and Corinna was dealing in vintage. More than 10 years later, they have two headily glamorous stores—the first is in Manhattan—to show for their winning collaboration. Corinna Sellinger still sources all the antique Mexican tops, while Foley turns out draped blouses and sexy dresses.
Amazingly, this luxurious chainlet (the original three outposts are in Northern California) is the only shop in Los Angeles to offer the Big Three—Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, and Christian Louboutin—under one roof. Among the heavy-hitting labels, you'll also find smaller lines like Valentino, Tory Burch, Pura Lopez, and Oscar de la Renta—all showcased in the store's 24 karat gold-leaf cubbies.
The biggest Forever 21 is in Pasadena (at 40,000 square feet), but we prefer the new Santa Monica location. The layout and organization are just a little bit tidier—which makes it easier to snag that perfectly of-the-moment going-out top or super-soft tank.
Spanning two buildings and 50,000 square feet, the Santa Monica branch of this L.A. institution (the two Fred Segals share a name but are actually owned by different people) is separated into more than 30 departments: There's an excellent apothecary and a huge section devoted to green living, plus loads and loads of picks from covetable designers like Inhabit and Rozae Nichols.
Named for the strip in Las Vegas frequented by icons like Frank Sinatra and Katharine Hepburn, this line recalls an era before sweatpants and flip-flops were the weekend uniform. The slick store, a 2008 addition to L.A.'s slightly dodgy downtown, is known for well-tailored, slightly mod pieces, like Peter Pan-collared blouses in menswear fabrics and cute pinafore dresses.
It's a bit of a toss-up when it comes to picking our favorite Los Angeles H&M. The Beverly Center store is the largest, at 20,000 square feet, but the one in Pasadena is quieter, and the racks are accordingly less picked over—all the better for snatching up pieces from this constantly on-trend retailer.
8500 Beverly Blvd., 310-855-1009; 60 W. Colorado Blvd., 626-793-8974, hm.com
Literally spilling out the door and onto the sidewalk, nearly everything in this eclectic secondhand store is under $200—from costume jewelry to oil paintings. New shipments arrive weekly, if not more often, and a portion of the proceeds benefits a high school in the Valley.
The beautifully crafted handbags are suspended by rope at this earthy-feeling spot. With their super-supple, richly tanned leathers and unusual closures (nuggets of wood), the totes here perfectly embody a cool rich-hippie sensibility. There are only a handful of Henry Beguelin shops in the U.S., which makes the pieces feel all the more one-of-a-kind.
With a grandmother who founded Montreal's Fraid's department store and a father who created Le Tigre, Hillary Rush has retail in her blood. A former advertising director for Gap, Rush opened her hugely popular shop in 2005, mixing Iro, Coven, and Tila March.
Everything about HLNR is futuristic, from the Transformer-style robots in the windows to its green execution (the building is solar-powered and constructed from renewable materials, and many of the pieces are eco-friendly). The enterprise also gets high marks for its airily stocked shelves dotted with unique avant-garde items from labels like Preen, Current/Elliott, Pencey, and Humanoid.
Helene Ige designed not only many of the items for sale at this quietly low-key duplex but also the shop itself. It's filled with little displays of gorgeous pieces: her own mobiles styled after Victorian birdcages, Marion Cage jewelry, and Klein Reid ceramics.
Though it resembles nothing more than a wood-walled yoga studio, Inago in fact exists to answer the call of partygoers across the city by stocking pretty much nothing but dresses—hundreds and hundreds of them. There are versions from an expansive list of labels: patterned wrap numbers from Issa, silk halters from Mara Hoffman, and jewel-studded caftans from Binetti. Most are tagged at $200 or less.
This always-excellent resource for super-soft T-shirts and tanks has its roots in Los Angeles, though there are now 13 stores across the country (including seven in California). A calm and low-key vibe prevails.
The sale racks at the Grove's J.Crew are always loaded with the items you would have happily paid full price for—perhaps because it has the widest selection of the entire deeply covetable collection here.
This British High Street chain made its introduction to the U.S. by way of the thoroughly chill Brentwood Country Mart—which is a nice backdrop for its perfectly bohemian wool scarves and slouchy boots.
This is a true find. Just off West Third, it's kept hidden, and it's loaded with ingenious pieces from little-known labels, like bow-topped silk baby-doll Meghan dresses and gold pendant Lisa Levine necklaces.
At over 1,500 square feet, the Santa Monica location of this much-loved, globally minded beauty and bodycare company is the most rewarding (and the most laid-back), but there are three more scattered across the city.
This Eagle Rock favorite is flush with whimsical, affordably priced pieces by up-and-comers like Collective Clothing and Mink Pink. Also in the mix: carefully considered vintage clothing, on-trend jewelry, and shoes.