Location: 150 South La Brea Avenue, Mid-City
American Rag. This place is bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I love the idea of killing some time sifting through vintage clothes looking for that perfect one of a kind piece that I can throw on and say, “look what I found!”
Unfortunately, the handful of times I’ve been to American Rag I usually kill some time sifting through the clothes thinking, “I can’t afford this crap!”
Don’t get me wrong, I admitted it’s a love hate relationship with this shop. The place screams “trendy” just in the clientele that’s perusing the aisles next to you. It’s pretty clear that stylists from all over town are looking for special outfits for that next photo or film shoot; while you’re simply looking for something that you like, can afford, and actually fits. If your wallet doesn’t quite expand so far as to justify spending $100 for a shirt, the best times to visit this place seems to be when things go on sale. What fun it is to try on sweaters during the hot sticky summer days to save 30% on something you can’t wear for another three months anyway.
Unfortunately, a notorious reputation looms over American Rag (and I share a somewhat similar distaste) with some of their staffing choices. At times, it’s been great, no problems. Hooray! Other times, that LA hipster vibe is alive and well. I recall buying a belt once and the guy at the register acting like he was doing me a favor because I was shopping in the almighty American Rag and got to leave with something.
As with any vintage shopping trip, the key is just to decide to head in and look around but for not anything specific. You might find something that appeals to your fancy, you might not. My experience has been the latter here and it has much more to do with the over-pricing versus the selection.
I have consistently better experiences when I wander next door to the connecting Maison Midi boutique. Still expensive, but ultra-cool to take a peek in if you’re looking for something on the home front. Awesome perk? Seeing huge plates of food walk past you from their in-house cafe. I’ve never eaten at the Midi Cafe, but not to worry, it’s on my bucket list and you’ll be the first to know when it happens. Stay tuned.
As for American Rag, take this place and its hype with a grain of salt. It can be a great experience or not. Either way, you’ve been warned.