LA Vol. 3: Style in Suburbs

Style :

Before I left for Los Angeles, I said I would hunt out the best Style Stars of fashion design, but I failed. It was not through lack of trying, but what we consider style here, is very different from LA. Chain stores such as H&M and Zara stock totally different styles from Spain and England, an aesthetic that is clean, relaxed but slightly perfected.

I wanted to dispel the thought, one that I once had, that LA was Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue - high-end, high maintenance and high priced. But whilst there are many stores in LA that break this mould, this is evident more so in Long Beach. A city that is strangely a suburb rolled into one city set in LA County, it is home to the Queen Mary (the old Cunard liner) and some of the best vintage shopping I have ever seen.

Visiting my friend Robbie (more of him later) and staying with Dillon close to East 4th Street and Cherry Ave, the main 'high street' for the area, we had plenty of time to rummage and hunt for some bargains. It really is a different world around this area, a vast contrast to the assumed bustle of a city the size of Birmingham or Nottingham. Slotted alongside bars, cafe's and a bicycle shop, there is the odd charity shop (quite a rarity in the States apparently), some more high end thrift stores and the best; a mix of everything and anything vintage and slightly old. Please forgive the pictures, they were taken at night as believe it or not, it was too sunny during the day.

Liberty is a fantastic, Rock 'a' Billy type store that is an eclectic mix of new and vintage clothing, sunglasses, shoes and accessories. It also houses a record store, which makes this place a great synergy between style and music. It is one of the more stylized yet edgy stores on the block, with some great necklaces too; so I picked up this.

Brother and sister store, these are two of the more high-end thrift stores that house some pieces that many would give an organ for. I found the best short trench in camel with large black buttons that was $150. A little too much than I was prepared to pay, but I think if it's still there, I will have it Fed-Ex'ed over because it was just incredible. The store's also have hand-made jewelry made from rusty nuts, bolts and screws which retail for around $67. Like I said, it is a little high-end but I think if they reduced their prices it would, I think, be a lot busier.

La Bomba is an emporium of everything from the 60's to the 90s, as well as providing a custom service. This is vintage shopping at its best because everything is well priced, organized in a strangely disorganized way - like desks or a filing system - and has the 'pile sale'. This was something else.

Every so often, the 'pile sale' is just that and for a minimum buy of $10, you are free to rummage to find everything from trousers, jeans, tops, jumpers and anything else that can be worn. However, the shoes are set out in pairs that makes life a whole lot easier.

I doubt I will ever see anything like this again. Anywhere.
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