Best Places to Go Thrifting on L.A.'s Westside

Cherry PickedEXPAND
Cherry Picked
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

A few months ago, I explored thrift stores from East Hollywood to Montecito Heights and found that there was some confusion as to whether some of the stores were “thrift” or “vintage.” On the Westside, however, there is much less crossover. Between West Hollywood and Santa Monica, you’re either hard-core thrift (think: Salvation Army), or you’re 100 percent vintage. Most of the thrift stores I visited were benefiting local causes (the neighborhood school, rehabilitation facilities, etc.), and most of the vintage shops had WeHo looks for WeHo prices. That being said, while the Eastside thrift stores were a treat, the Westside has a great (dare I say, superior?) selection of secondhand stores. Here are eight of the best.

BTS Thrift's chandelier collectionEXPAND
BTS Thrift's chandelier collection
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

BTS Thrift Store
Near the Sony Lot, right off Overland, is a thrift shop that honestly looks a little grim from the outside. BTS doesn’t have a particularly welcoming exterior, but once you walk inside, you'll want to stay until you’ve completely refurnished and redecorated your home. BTS has higher-end donations (often from estate sales), and its selection of art, furniture and kitchenware is beautiful for secondhand and reasonably priced. In a way, being in BTS is like antiquing in the middle of West L.A. — it often has an appraiser on site who can show the value and history of some of the pieces, including some realllllly chic-looking chandeliers. All the proceeds from the store go to Beit T’Shuvah, a nonprofit addiction-treatment center.
Hidden gem: The art gallery in the back room. Also, the wedding dresses.
Vintage or thrift? Thrift, with an antique-store twist.
10409 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 204-4669, btsthriftstore.com.

Filth MartEXPAND
Filth Mart
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

Filth Mart
Located in West Hollywood, Filth Mart curates ’60s and ’70s vintage pieces, and its selection has a heavy focus on music. Think: Authentic Rolling Stones T-shirts and anything you could’ve worn to a Sting concert 30 years ago. It has a great selection of jackets — army jackets, denim, etc. — for somewhere in the range of 60 bucks, and records everywhere. Even if you came to shop for clothes instead of music, set aside a few bucks.
Hidden gem: The $5 records.
Vintage or thrift? Vintage.
1038 N Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 848-8613, filthmart.net.

So many hatsEXPAND
So many hats
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

Helping Hand Thrift Shop
Squished between two vintage shops in Little Ethiopia is a well-priced thrift shop where all of the proceeds go to Chabad Sola, a Jewish Montessori school. The selection is a mish-mosh of dropoff donations,  but it also does pickups in the area for anyone moving and/or Marie Kondo–ing their apartment and purging their belongings.
Hidden gem: There’s lots of furniture, but the true gem of the store is the selection of hats. They’re not so hidden, and perfect if you’re looking for your signature summer hat. It also has cute purses and wallets for a good price.
Vintage or thrift? Thrift.
1033 S Fairfax Ave., Carthay. (323) 857-1191, helpinghandthriftshop.com.

Love the City Thrift
Instead of having price tags on each item, there’s a sign that says, “Women’s Clothing” and then gives a price list: $3 shirts/blouses, $1 T-shirts, $1 tanks, $3 sweatshirts, $4 skirts. See where this is going? Great. Prices. There’s $2 lingerie, too, if you were curious. There's also a huge selection of sunglasses for under $2, a 25-cent bin and, when I visited, an adorable kid in hip glasses was playing in the middle of it all. So, two thumbs up for general ambiance. This shop is incredibly welcoming, and I fail to see why you’d buy $200 sunglasses when you could buy more than 100 pairs at Love the City for the same amount of money.
Hidden gem: The 25-cent bin — or maybe the corded phone my family owned 18 years ago.
Vintage or thrift? Thrift.
4325 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City. (310) 437-0090, ltcthriftstore.com.

Cherry PickedEXPAND
Cherry Picked
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

Cherry Picked
Cherry Picked fills an almost impossible niche: a thrift shop that feels like a boutique. It’s definitely thrift, but it's also curated, which was apparent as the store’s founder walked me around pointing out pieces from the '50s through '90s, and explaining that it gets a ton of people who stop by not only before Halloween and Christmas but also before Burning Man to find the most appropriate boa possible. They’re currently redoing one side of the store to highlight the retro and vintage-y pieces, and it was honestly a small miracle that I walked out without buying four sequined tops.
Hidden gem: The pile of Ralph Lauren stuff hitting the shelves in July.
Vintage or thrift? Thrift.
2807 W. Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 998-5858, facebook.com/Cherry-Picked-Thrift-Shop-A-Just-Cause-Foundation-123053634395159.

Cat AllianceEXPAND
Cat Alliance
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

Stray Cat Alliance
It’s easy to miss Stray Cat (even though it’s on Santa Monica Boulevard) if you’re not looking for the green and black cat flags in front of the shop. There’s also green and black paint on the windows telling passers-by to SHOP NOW. You’ve really got to give Stray Cat credit for the consistent color branding. It requires “thrifting” in the truest sense of the word, meaning that the shop isn’t the most organized and you'll have to dig around for the good finds. All the proceeds go to help cat rescue, though, and among the stacks of plates and bowls and racks of clothes are inexpensive summer clothes in really great condition.
Hidden gem: The pictures of cats and the gently used kitchen appliances.
Vintage or thrift? Thrift.
11677 Santa Monica Blvd., Sawtelle. (310) 905-4142, straycatalliance.org/events/charity.

UCLA ThriftEXPAND
UCLA Thrift
Maya Kachroo-Levine

UCLA Thrift Shop
UCLA Thrift is huge, and all of the proceeds go to UCLA Medical Center patient aid. The selection is constantly being replenished, and the selection definitely appeals to a 20- or 30-something crowd, because it includes popular brands and collared shirts that actually aren’t misshapen from a bad run-in with a dryer. The prices are on par with Goodwill, but the store is easier to navigate and the purse selection is on point.
Hidden gem: Urban Outfitters–looking scarves for less than $10.
Vintage or thrift? Thrift.
11271 Massachusetts Ave., Sawtelle. (310) 478-1793, uclathriftstore.com.

WastelandEXPAND
Wasteland
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

Wasteland
The appeal of Wasteland is mostly that it’s a good reprieve from the other shops on Melrose. It’s a beautiful store, and it fills a clothing store niche that Nasty Gal somehow ... doesn’t. It’s a secondhand store in that it buys designer labels from people looking to sell their old Gucci (no, really), and then sells the clothes back to the public. So it’s a perfect way to find secondhand designer clothes, but while Wasteland has great deals on high-end labels, I’m not sure you could call it “affordable” in any real sense of the word. I found some great dresses for around $40, and some nice leather jackets for about $120.
Hidden gem: The people-watching.
Vintage or thrift? Vintage.
7428 Melrose Ave., Fairfax. (323) 653-3028, shopwasteland.com.


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