Best of L.A.: The 27 Best Places to Shop in 2016

From vintage watch stores to celebrity tattoo parlors, these are about to become your new favorite places

Coveting those gaucho pants you’re seeing in all the stores? We know which shop has flattering fits. We’ve also sussed out the best destinations to score denim jackets, men’s shoes, vintage watches, patio umbrellas, children’s furniture, table linens, and more. After a long day of shopping, we’ve got pampering covered, too, from foot massages to facials to spas for the crowd averse. Once you’ve worked up an appetite salivating over these goods, check out or list of 24 Food and Drink Winners in 2016, and browse our full coverage of Best of L.A. winners here.

Men’s Polo Shirts — Gant

A photo posted by GANT (@gant1949) on

Long a destination for preppy sportswear, Gant and its namesake polo remain summer staples. The updated classic, the Diamond G, is favored for its flattering fit and three-button placket, while the piqué polos in stripes and hibiscus patterns capture a beachy vibe. Just please don’t pop the collar.

» 1308 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 424-272-9558 or gant.com


Body Jewelry — Body Electric Tattoo 

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From tiny black diamond studs to thick gold rings, Body Electric Tattoo offers an array of jewelry for clients of chief piercing artist Brian Keith Thompson. Patrons here include Beyoncé and Rihanna, who are in good company with the body jewelry from heavyweights like Industrial Strength and Body Vision.

» 7274 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 323-954-0408 or bodyelectrictattoo.com


Gaucho Pants — COS

A photo posted by COS (@cosstores) on

The pants-meet-skirt hybrid is notoriously difficult to pull off: Too often it can appear wide and bulky. Not so at COS, where the cuts are right (flattering) and the fabrics seasonally appropriate (cotton, denim, leather, wool). The styles range from tailored office-ready to laid-back pull-ons.

» 357 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-734-3472 or cosstores.com


Baby Gifts — Children’s Book World

A basket filled with, say, Dr. Seuss tales from Children’s Book World will stand out among the flood of pastel onesies and booties at any party. The savvy staff create custom packages and pride themselves on choosing classic yet surprising titles (I Took the Moon for a Walk instead of the ubiquitous Goodnight Moon). Baskets are finished with plush animal rattles.

» 10580 W. Pico Blvd., Cheviot Hills, 310-559-2665 or childrensbookworld.com


Denim Jackets — Current/Elliott 

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Los Angeles may be the denim capital, but finding the right jean jacket can still present a challenge. Most brands cater to thin or boyish frames by sticking to a single skintight fit. The Current/Elliott flagship store in Venice offers easygoing military styles as well as the longer, short-sleeved Trucker jacket, with its forgiving ’80s shape. Even the shrunken snap jacket boasts ample stretch.

» 1132 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 424-291-3300 or currentelliott.com


Men’s Shoe Boutique — Sole Junction

The tightly edited collection of sturdy shoes, boots, and sandals at Sole Junction makes shopping delightfully straightforward. Whether it’s a lace-up Red Wing work boot, a sleek suede Puma sneaker, or a strappy Birkenstock, the stealthily hip brands look as good as they feel. The shop’s upbeat sales associates ease the ever-present tedium of trying on multiple shoes, too.

» 2818 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake, 323-660-0723


Men’s Jewelery — Todd Reed

A photo posted by Todd Reed (@toddreedjewelry) on

The 1,800-square-foot Venice studio of Colorado-based designer Todd Reed is a work of art. So are the raw diamond and forged metal pieces, wedding bands of carved jade, sterling-and-sapphire belt buckles, and chain-link bracelets that are the hallmarks of this jeweler to the stars.

» 1511 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-450-7840 or toddreed.com


Women’s Size 14 and Up Clothing — City Chic

 

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Imagine a clothing store where size 14 is considered extra small. At City Chic, an Aussie enterprise with three locations in L.A., belted floral dresses add charm, not volume; monochromatic tunics smooth out the bumps; and the wall of bras means options for just about everyone. The staff are well informed with a dash of sunny, and you’ll want to take up residence in the roomy, well-decorated dressing area at the Glendale branch.

» Glendale Galleria, 100 W. Broadway, Glendale, 818-396-5821. For other locations, go to citychiconline.com

RELATED: These are the Best Vendors You Never Knew About at the Melrose Flea Market


Canine Collars — Maxwell Dog

Dog owners resemble their breeds of choice, or so the adage goes. With such symbiosis in play, it makes sense to match a pet’s collar to the person. Maxwell Dog in studio city offers these perfect fits.

» 12336 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-505-8411 or maxwelldog.com

For the Pop Culturalist

BOLA Collar 1

Photography by Evan Mulling

Santa Barbara-based Green Bean Dog stitches patterned textiles bearing hearts, anchors, stars, waves, and other warm and fuzzy images into hemp backing. We fell for the Hopisque sunbursts ($22-$25).

For the Millennial

BOLA Collar 2

Photography by Evan Mulling

The cool designs by Brooklyn-based SHED are screen-printed by hand onto fair-trade hemp webbing with nontoxic water-based inks ($30-$34). Its customers wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the Socially Conscious

BOLA Collar 4

Photography by Evan Mulling

Chamula women in Chiapas, Mexico, weave the nylon collars for Seiba, a Bell Canyon enterprise founded to aid endangered indigenous communities. Your outlay for this one-of-a-kind item? $110.

For the Sophisticate

BOLA Collar 3

Photography by Evan Mulling

Semiprecious stones and other elegant bling embellish the collars by Roddy and Soo Novotny of RN Design. Made by hand in West Hollywood, some might set you back $130 or so (but Rex looks great in gems).


Non-Perfumed Candles — General Store Venice

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Butterbean Studio’s three-wick beeswax blocks at General Store Venice are a rare find: candles that don’t smell like fake flowers. Rather, these beauties are redolent of honey, even before they’re lit. Fashioned by artist and farmer Erin Pata on her sprawling family ranch in Santa Barbara County, the tapers pair nicely with the shop’s refined home goods.

» 1801 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, 310-751-6393 or shop-generalstore.com


Vintage Watch Store — Wanna Buy A Watch?

Older watches have stories to tell, and you’ll hear them from devoted raconteur Ken Jacobs, owner of Wanna Buy A Watch? Jacobs has an enthusiasm for the small details that make a watch worthy of wearing 30, 40, or 50 years after it was made. The shop guarantees every piece it sells or services.

» 8465 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 323-653-0467 or wannabuyawatch.com


Facials For The Allergic — Dtox Day Spa

 

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From the street Dtox Day Spa seems unimpressive, but inside the waiting area a giant Buddha flanked by waterfalls presides over a Zen-like space. For the 50-minute custom facials, technicians not only use paraben-and fragrance-free products, they address all allergy and skin sensitivity issues when tailoring treatments.

» 3206 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village, 323-665-3869 or dtoxdayspa.com


Shirtdresses — Steven Alan

 

A photo posted by Steven Alan (@stevenalan) on

Go to the source, the Steven Alan boutique, for an urban take on that fashion stalwart, the shirtdress. A pioneer of the shorter, looser shirtdress with a smaller collar and cuffs, Alan is not averse to belted styles. He also conjures such breakthrough silhouettes as a gauzy Japanese cotton cocoon. After making your selection, ponder this: To button or unbutton?

» 123 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park, 323-938-1542 or stevenalan.com


Patio Furniture — Universal Patio Furniture

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Photograph courtesy Facebook/Universal Patio Furniture

For more than 70 years the family behind Studio City’s Universal Patio Furniture has been stocking attractive protection against the sun. The shop features lines by Treasure Garden, Galtech, and Tuuci that include market umbrellas for outdoor dining and cantilevered canopies for poolside lounging. Fade-resistant Sunbrella and O’Bravia fabrics in solids and stripes are standard, but the store workroom can fabricate custom covers, too.

» 11055 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-762-9088 or unifurn.com

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Kid’s Furniture — Kid’s Cottage Furniture

Baby furnishings—adorable indulgences you use for a few months—are plentiful. When it comes to bigger-kid staples that will stick around, you’re largely limited to a certain Swedish megastore. The three women behind Kid’s Cottage Furniture custom-design their solid wood pieces, from storage bunks to princess dressers to racecar beds, most of them built by local carpenters using nontoxic materials. Color combos are infinite; turnaround time is eight weeks or less.

» 14444 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-783-3055 or kidscottagefurniture.com


Kids’ Dance Duds — The Dance Store

Current and former dancers make up the staff at The Dance Store, so they know the unspoken rules—such as the requirement at most ballet studios to show up in pink tights. The organized shop carries sweet tutus in a half-dozen colors for dancers as young as two. Once the kids graduate to leotards, the spectrum widens. Footwear spans ballet, jazz, and tap; there are three expert fitters for pointe shoes on-site. A mini studio with a wood floor and barre allows for testing out the merchandise.

» 2509 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverlywood, 310-271-3664 or thedancestore.com


Biannual Clothing Sale — Opening Ceremony

 

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Every summer and winter the West Hollywood fashion emporium Opening Ceremony holds epic sales. This past June’s event featured markdowns of up to 60 percent on sculpted suit jackets from Acne Studio, leather dresses from Opening Ceremony, and chic sunnies from Thierry Lasry. Pro shoppers know to wait for the final 70 percent price slash, when Proenza Schouler handbags and Kenzo embroidered lace pants can be had for a song. We’re guessing the men’s T-shirts from Alexander Wang and Comme des Garçons didn’t sit around for too long.

» 451 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove, 310-652-1120 or openingceremony.com


Nail Art Studio — Enamel Diction

Home to some of the city’s most respected nail artists, Enamel Diction specializes in rhinestone tips and matte ombré polish, but the shop can handle most custom requests. The chairs are extra comfy, and the in-house playlist—primarily hip-hop and slick Top 40—will have you feeling like you’re in a friend’s living room.

» 5405 W. Pico Blvd., Mid Wilshire, 323-900-0355 or enameldiction


Table Linens — Yves Delorme

We appreciate the modest prices for the vibrant cotton tablecloths and napkins at Maison Midi on La Brea, but for more sumptuous tabletop finery, go to Yves Delrome in Beverly Hills. The local flagship of the French company, founded in 1845, carries floral patterns that are reminiscent of watercolor paintings, jacquard tablecloths in deep fiery shades, and keepsake linens with delicate cross-stitching and embroidery.

» 9431 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, 310-270-4210 or yvesdelorme.com


Car Wash Waiting Room — Blue Wave Car Wash

With its sizable gift shop of toys, greeting cards, and books, Blue Wave Car Wash in Westwood turns having the car cleaned into a pleasant chore. There’s even a massage chair and $5 shoeshine service. Grab lunch from the nearby taco truck or recharge with a cappuccino at the Peet’s Coffee next door. You’ll find enough distractions that your car will be waiting for you, not the other way around.

» 10854 Santa Monica Blvd., Westwood, 310-474-6551


Day Spa For Men — Chuan Spa

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For those guys who want to de-stress without the rose petals, Chuan Spa at the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena provides executive class relaxation. At the secluded wellness center, you’re unlikely to run into a naked coworker (which can happen too often at the overcrowded Wi Spa in Westlake). Bliss out in a hot tub bookended by an aromatic steam room and a cozy dry sauna. Finish with a glass of complimentary champagne while kicking back in the waterbed room.

» 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, 626-585-6414 or chuanspa.com


Stackable Rings — Ariel Gordon

In her downtown studio Ariel Gordon creates skinny bands—some dotted with diamonds, others tied up in knots—that can be piled on fingers in eye-catching displays. It takes ten to fifteen days for your custom ring to be made. Gordon releases a new line of jewelry two times a year, spring and fall. Starting price for the best-selling “Love Knot” is $110.

» 448 S. Hill St., Ste. 818, downtown, 213-488-2618 or arielgordonjewelry.com (by appointment only)


Florist — Birch & Bone

Birch and Bone United Artists Best of LA BOLA

Photography by Jessica Sample

After Lindy & Grundy butcher Amelia Rose Posada hung up her meat cleaver in 2014, she opened a floral and botanical design shop (and DIY terrarium bar) in the historic box office at the Ace Hotel theater downtown. Birch & Bone operates from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, then decamps so that the box office can sell tickets for shows. Posada’s exotic bouquets might feature a carnivorous-looking bloom or two, and her darkly gothic palette never fails to intrigue.

» 929 S. Broadway, downtown, 213-612-4997 or birchandbone.com


Birthstone Jewelery — Irene Neuwirth

At Irene Neuwirth in West Hollywood, an aquamarine-and-tour-maline pendant makes us wish for a March or October birthday, though December offers temptations such as tanzanite cabochon bracelets. Whether it’s pearls for June or garnets for January, this precious gem purveyor has every month covered.

» 8458 Melrose Pl., West Hollywood, 323-285-2000 or ireneneuwirth.com

RELATED: 5 Phenomenal Hotel Gift Shops You Need to Visit (Even if You Aren’t Spending the Night) 


Foot Spa — Pampered Foot

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Photograph courtesy Yelp/Emily S.

A bland Studio City strip mall setting belies the comforts that await at Pampered Foot. After your feet are soothed in a hot water bath, strong hands administer a full-body massage as you relax (fully clothed) on a small sofa. Indicate even the slightest fear of bruising, and the staff respond accordingly. The $25 per hour fee means you can focus on unwinding and not on your credit limit.

» 11384 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-763-8988


Birding Supplies — Wild Wings

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Photograph courtesy Facebook/Wild Wings Backyard Nature Store

The emphasis at Wild Wings is to bring the birds to you, though the owners also lead periodic walks to avian-rich locales in Los Angeles County. The Sherman Oaks operation stocks backyard feeders and birdhouses that encompass a wide range of species, from woodpeckers to bluebirds to owls. The seed mixes are blended specifically with local birds in mind as well. Should you desire to get out into the field, the shop carries a reasonably priced selection of Vortex binoculars. Guidebooks include signed copies of Birds of Southern California by L.A. birding guru Kimball Garrett.

» 4337 Woodman Ave., Sherman Oaks, 818-995-0022 or wildwingsla.com


Artisan Flea Market — Artists & Fleas

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Photography by John Henry Baliton

Classic-rock posters, woven baskets, crocheted dinosaurs, and geometric planters are just a few of the wares that beckon at Artists & Fleas. The Brooklyn-born market specializes in vintage pieces and artisanal goods from L.A.’s up-and-coming craft talents. The no-admission, no-attitude gathering is staged Saturdays at the corner of Traction Avenue and 3rd Street downtown and, on the Westside, at 1010 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.

» 310-900-9987 or artistsandfleas.com

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