L.A.’s Hidden Retail

Like to beat the crowds when you shop? At these below-the-radar boutiques, you can avoid them altogether

Library Store at Central Library
The bitsy shop, in the main library lobby, crams in an eclectic selection. Look for autographed best-sellers, letterpress stationery, fruit crate labels, and a rich children’s section of puzzles and books. //630 W. 5th St., downtown, 213-228-7550.

Jay Wolf
In an airy space with wood fixtures, classics-with-a-twist clothing spans suits to jeans to sweaters and shirts for men; for women, there are party dresses and work ensembles. The in-house collection offers larger sizes and more forgiving cuts than the European lines stocked here. //517 N. Robertson Blvd., L.A., 310-273-9893.

Chanel, Gucci, Vuitton, Hermès—Lady Gaga’s favorite secondhand store carries European labels from the past as well as such contemporary finds as one-offs from runway shows. In back is a warehouse three times the size of the deceptively small shop. //459 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., 323-951-9255 or catwalkla.com.

Mister Freedom
Christophe Loiron specializes in textiles and men’s clothing dating to the 1800s. Fashion professionals, who make up half his clientele, come here for “inspiration” garments like early American workwear. He also designs a mens­wear collection. //7161 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323-653-2014.

Big Kid Collectable
The minimall toy store stocks a cacophony of classics, from Felix the Cat clocks to vintage graphic T-shirts to action figures as well as genuine antiques. What’s puzzling is how easy it is to overlook. // 14109 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-785-9208.