South Willard is the clothing-store version of that quiet, unassuming neighborhood restaurant that serves exquisite but unpretentious food to a small but sophisticated clientele. In this case, exquisite but unpretentious menswear from a select group of designers, including Dries Van Noten, Stephen Schneider and Band of Outsiders. Located on an anonymous stretch of 3rd near Crescent Heights, behind an off-green (or is it brown?) storefront that suggests more canoe-rentals-on-Lake-Minnetonka than Weho glam, South Willard promises comfort — at a price. That price is quality. Consequently, bargains are relative at South Willard, but the two annual sales, held summer and winter, can get you to where (and who) you want to be, one white sea island cotton shirt at a time. Owners Ryan Conder and Danielle Kays, a surfer and a stylist, opened the shop “because we just couldn't find the clothes we wanted to wear in Los Angeles,” says Conder, “and we wanted to have a shop with nothing made in China.” Understated and open like his store, Conder also stocks an intriguing collection of artworks by the likes of Jason Meadows, David Korty, Kelly Breslin and Stan Bitters — ceramics, lamps and paintings that really are great deals — as well as accessories and books. “I always wanted to have a bookshop,” he says, “so it's a nice way to carry the books I want and not worry about making a living from it.” One more thing Conder won't be making a living from: his blog,, for which he curates an eclectic mix of articles and visuals on current events and the arts. 8038 W. Third St., L. A. (323) 653-6153,

—Tom Christie

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