Style-wise, Silver Lake and Echo Park have become synonymous with an adeptly thrown-together look that’s both quirky and effortless (well, at least it appears to be ... we all know it ain’t). Whether you’re a neoraver, nouveau-hippie, ghetto-fabster or punky fashionista (or a little of all four), these Eastside hoods remain on the tastemaker pulse thanks in large part to a few select shops in the area (some brand-new, some that were here long before the area’s cool factor became cliché).
Best High-Low Style: Sirens and Sailors
Sirens and Sailors made the E.P. a wardrobe-stylist pit stop almost a decade ago, back when nobody actually lived there. Now that the entertainment-industry types and connoisseurs alike have invaded the area, Sirens endures as a post for high and low chic, with punky designs from local up-and-comers to more established innovators like Grey Ant and Vivienne Westwood. Even if you don’t have the bucks for the designer stuff, the shop’s stock of accessories always has something to funk ya up, like substantial-statement necklaces, handmade earrings and hot shades to bring out anyone’s inner siren.
1104 Mohawk St., L.A., (213) 483-5423 or www.sirensandsailors.com.
Best Block Party: Show Pony’s Monthly Art-and-Fashion Pony Show
Show Pony, the fashion and art installation space, has been around nearly as long as S&S, and its laid-back artsy vibe is akin to rummaging through an eccentric pal’s closet (and her acid-trip art explorations). Owner-artist Kime Buzelli not only has great taste, but she also has great energy, which makes shopping here a treat. The Pony knows how to party, too. Along with Han Cholo, purveyor of pop-cultcha-inspired gilded baubles (sassy Star Wars–themed rings and pendants, among other blingy things), and the stores that surround them, Show Pony is part of a long-running art block party that unveils works by local artists every first Saturday of the month. It’s hard to leave either shop without snatching up unique adornments for both bod and boîte, especially after all that free booze.
Show Pony, 1543 Echo Park Ave., L.A., (213) 482-7676 or www.iloveshowpony.com.
Han Cholo, 1549 Echo Park Ave., L.A., (213) 482-9180 or www.hancholo.com.
Best Indie-Rock High Fashion: Front St.
Speaking of buying with a buzz, the edgy yet highly wearable designs of Endovanera have their home base right next to the Echoplex under the Sunset Boulevard bridge at designer David Hershberger and Mitch Moseley’s shop Front St. The store often becomes a slackerama during the Echoplex’s bigger shows, but the designs offered within are anything but haphazard — the sleek and smartly fitted trousers, jackets and vests for both sexes manage to look basic and bombastic at the same time. Definitely the hood’s hottest house of high fashion, especially for indie boys not limited by indie-clothing budgets.
1154 S. Glendale Blvd., L.A., (213) 413-6666.
Best Recycled Retro: Lemon Frog Shop
Chock-full o’ cuteness, the little charmer of a boutique called Lemon Frog Shop has the best selection of recycled retro on the Eastside, if not all of L.A. There’s only one way to make absolutely sure you don’t end up in the same frock as that headband-sporting (not) hottie at the Echo or the Short Stop. Ya gotta go vintage, babe, and a visit to Lemon Frog is always fruitful. The store stocks an amazing selection of vintage dresses, from Marcia Brady minis to Cher-style maxis, plus tops, sweaters and jackets that are obvious inspirations for today’s biggie designers. The sandal and platform selections are impressive, and now that fall is here, owner Micky Curtis has a bonanza of coats and boots. The best part about vintage outerwear and footwear? It’s already broken in! Get walkin’.
1202 Alvarado St., L.A., (213) 413-2143 or www.myspace.com/lemonfrogshop.
Best-Edited Sample Sale: The Circle
There’s always lots of new stuff to love at The Circle, which bills itself as an “indie-designer outlet.” Imagine a bunch of different designer sample sales all under one roof, and you get the idea of this style sanctuary. There’s tons to plow through here, including lots of under-the-radar local-designer stuff and better-known brands, like Rachel Pally, Trina Turk and Mona Li, to name a few. You’re not going to find the lowest-priced brands in town here (markdowns are done by percentage), but you’ll definitely find some of the most noticeable, especially if you wanna impress those in local fashionista loops.
2379 Glendale Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 665-5336.
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Best Handmade Fashion: Matrushka Construction
Dressy bessys who aren’t stereotypical S’Lake waifs should check out Matrushka Construction, where each piece is handmade right there on the premises and tailored to fit if needed. The superflattering dress designs go for a little more than $100, but an equally fetching look-at-me T-shirt can be had for a lot less, and tailored in entirely different ways. The shop’s “T-Construction” nights offer patrons the chance to make their own shirt designs in a party atmosphere. Choose from an assembly line of swatches and statement patches, many with a DIY (obviously), eco-friendly and anti-Bush bent. So-o-o Silver Lake.
3822 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A., (323) 665-4513 or www.matrushka.com.