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Best Secret Trendy Bargain Bin

(Illustration by Ronald Kurniawan)

I hate to tell you about this place. I really do. So I’m going to make it difficult for you to find. It’s a real buried treasure. Somewhere on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, there is a little shop — not on either side of the pedestrian thoroughfare, but like an island floating in a cobblestone sea — that has up-to-the-minute trendy dresses, skirts of the moment, sweaters and tops all for less than $50. And never mind the accessories, bangles, earrings, headbands, belts — nothing is above $20. They’re knockoffs of course. But unless you’re super rich there’s no sense spending loads on trendy. Save your dough for items that you’ll wear for more than one season, or at least more than one weekend. It’s kind of like an upper-scale Forever 21 without the wait for the dressing room. And because this is Santa Monica, you can bring your doggie in. But the real gem in this shop lies on the floor, a treasure chest of sorts — the $10 bin. When I first stumbled upon it, I assumed it was filled with soiled or torn castoffs, or things they just couldn’t get rid of. But, boy, was I wrong. Sometimes you can even find the same item in the box that is hanging on the wall. I bought an ivory tablecloth-like linen-and-lace Michael Kors–like dress last summer, when they were everywhere; culottes when they came back; and one of those stretchy wide elastic belts — all for 10 bucks each. The salesgirls often chuck stuff in there just to make room for new stuff, and it keeps people coming in to see what they might find. Once I watched as a shop gal grabbed one of the tops I was just looking at off the rack, removed it from its hanger and tossed it into the bin. I grabbed it. Now you see why I don’t really want you to go. I can’t have you pillaging the place before me.


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