Fashionova blog: Shopping like a star in Los Angeles
Feeling the cold of an Aussie winter, Fashionova has escaped to sunny Los Angeles to shop like a star. With the Aussie dollar not horrendous, she shares her tips in case you want to celeb shop and spot too!
Before even hitting the shops, the first thing you notice about LA is the palm trees (okay, and probably the infamous Los Angeles traffic). There’s something sooo Hollywood about the streets lined with tall palms, stretching way up into the brilliant blue sky, swaying with that California breeze.
They certainly get you in the mood for one of two things: drinking margaritas…or shopping! And when your USA getaway coincides with escaping an icy June, it is tempting to just want to celebrate the sun with a cold bevvy!
LA is really a city of variety. Because it’s so spread out, and everything takes so long to get to (again, that traffic), you’ll feel like you’re in another town, when you’ve only just crossed into another suburb.
Downtown LA has a real industrial feel to it. Plenty of old warehouses are being converted into massive, airy lofts, and the bars all seem to be old ‘somethings’. One might be an old theatre, another one an old hotel. It’s actually quite like Melbourne, in that everywhere seems to be hidden in an alley or up a secret set of stairs. Long-time LA residents rarely venture downtown, but it’s definitely worth a geez. Especially with locals, and especially at night.
The shopping in the downtown core really represents that trendy, restored vibe – with one-off boutiques stocking up-and-comers, and a couple of vintage stores. Because downtown is a bit underground, it’s not the place to find the biggest and best H&M store. But trust me, that’ll come.
When you’re in LA of course you have to hit Beverly Hills just so you can say you've been in the famous 90210 zip code. Depending on your budget, you may not walk away with much, apart from a possible celebrity sighting. Robertson Boulevard contains the famous Ivy restaurant, where stars go to be photographed on the patio. And stores like Kitson are a fave with Paris Hilton, who was snapped on a spree there just days after I visited. Dammit!
Beverly Hills is also where you’ll find one of the most famous shopping streets in the world – Rodeo Drive. Expect all the high-end labels and international designers like Chanel, Versace, LV, Dior and Gucci, plus plenty of frocked-up blondes and their frou-frou dogs.
If you’re after something more affordable (yes, please!) head to the Beverly Centre, or the ‘Bev Cent’...yep, I’m such a local after one visit. This is where you can go fashion-mad in the huge H&M and Forever 21 stores. It’s so good, and so cheap – Australia just doesn’t have anything that compares to the joy that is H&M! One word of warning – make sure you’ve checked out the ENTIRE store before hitting the changerooms. Often they separate the women’s fashion into two sections, with the guys’ stuff in the middle. You try on everything you like and head off to buy, only to realise you’ve only done half the store. Amateur mistake. While you’re here, make like Lauren Conrad, and grab a yogurt at Pinkberry.
I really wanted to do the vintage trawl in L.A, and Melrose Avenue is the place to go for that. It’s definitely grungier than Beverly Hills, with plenty of skate shops, tattoo parlours and cool streetwear stores. Make sure you do American Apparel to stock up on basics (it’s cheaper in the States than here) and another US favourite that we don’t have here, Urban Outfitters.
Then, grab a beyond-massive coffee at Starbucks...after all, ‘when in Rome’...and wander up and down the Ave to find that one-off vintage piece you can give a new loving home. Some of the stores focus on designer labels, but most contain affordable and quirky pieces in good condition. Wasteland, Slow, American Vintage and Resurrection are some of the better-known ones. I came out with an olive-green '80s Diane Von Furstenburg onesie that I’ll keep forever, a pair of near-new ankle boots and a Chicago Cubs t-shirt (for the next time I hit up the baseball, I guess?).
Finally, when you’re decked out in your new LA outfit and can't possibly carry another carrier bag, it’s time for that margarita.