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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
best shops los angeles
Outfit details: Sweater | Shirt (similar) | Pants | Socks | Boots | Necklace | Purse

Angelenos love to battle ‘best neighborhood’ as most cities do, and while I often complain of the traffic and ego of Hollywood, the east side is (in this aging hipster’s opinion) THE BEST WE GOT. We may not stay in LA forever but Brian has a mustache and I’m literally an “influencer” that does fashion photoshoots on the corner of sunset junction so it’s appropriate that we are on the east side, near the neighborhoods that make one feel young and happening – I’m talking Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Echo Park and Atwater Village.

So, my team and I visited a few local design/fashion boutiques last week to help promote them for shop small Saturday. Now, in order for our small business to stay in business I wore a few different outfits and have linked them up (we get a small commission from any purchases, which helps sustain our business). Yes, I see the irony here – but we are very happy to at least be able to use this “influence” to get people to some of the best local stores in LA for gift shopping.

Lake

best shops los angeles

I would always pop into Lake when it was next to Lawson-Fenning, but now it is closer to home, at least three times the size and full of SO MANY GOOD THINGS. It’s very dangerous and you’ll likely buy more for yourself than someone else. But it’s full of a lot of local designers who make clothes, jewelry and home decor so shopping here feels good.

best shops los angeles

Their inventory changes all the time and I love that it’s not one of those shops that sells 9 things. You can spend a 1/2 hour in here, easily.

best shops los angeles

As you can probably tell from the photos, this place has something for everyone, like this pitcher and that lidded glass vessel which I personally think would be great gifts. Like I said, it’s difficult to shop here without wanting things for myself, but I abstained – waiting for the sales this weekend.

best shops los angeles

That sweater was INSANE (this is a real shot of my reaction, not amped up despite its cartoon-like enthusiasm.) and I wanted to justify buying it SO BAD. P.s. You guys are going to be shocked/pleased or horrified at where my fashion style is going in 2020 (not represented in my outfit here, but just wait). When the kids and Brian were out of town this week I spent 3 hours watching my favorite new genre of movies–a combination of hallmark holiday and coming of age, mostly with teenagers or college students almost kissing–while I ripped through my closet, creating outfits that are less ‘chambray all day’ and more ‘blind clown’. IT’S VERY EXCITING.

*high five if you’ve been reading long enough to know the blind clown reference – an actual comment from a reader, although I think the word ‘drunk’ was also in the description of how I used dress. She’s coming back in 2020, so I can’t wait for another colorful criticism of what ‘blind clown 2.0’ will look like.*

best shops los angeles

Anyway, If you are in LA and want to stop by (and you SHOULD) be sure to have lunch at Botanica next door – where you’ll see me often. If you like fresh farm to table food, and I mean literally right from the farm, this place is for you. I take out of towners here all the time because it kinda feels like a quintessential LA east side restaurant, in that the food tastes like grass (in a good way, obviously). When I want to splurge on a meal that I know came from somewhere local, and is full of clean/organic/pasture raised DELICIOUS food and drink, I go there (see? proving myself a real LA gal right there). I just believe it’s nice to support restaurants that are supporting local farms and not the industrial agriculture system.

The Odells

best shops los angeles

This shop, The Odells on Sunset blvd, has survived all the shifts in this neighborhood, probably because they carry awesome clothes and jewelry (and are more affordable than other boutiques on this side of town).

best shops los angeles

They now have their own line that you can get at Nordstrom which I didn’t know, but I think is great because their stuff deserves to be seen by the masses.

best shops los angeles

Yes, I love a floor length floral gown for obvious reasons and was very tempted to buy.

best shops los angeles

As I was wearing my plaid pants I saw those and realized they are actually THE PLAID PANTS. I’m on a bit of a shopping hiatus (thus the 3 hours of closet shopping the other night) but will be coming back here to shop, possible when the holidays are over. They also had a cobalt blue wool coat that I want SO BAD but again, refrained (albeit reluctantly).

Yolk

best shops los angeles
Outfit details: Sweater | Skirt | Purse | Boots

Next I popped into Yolk which is literally GIFT GALORE and happens to be right next to The Odells.

best shops los angeles

Sunset Junction is in Silver Lake and has shop after shop, restaurant after restaurant (Cafe Stella is my go-to) and it’s one of the few neighborhoods in LA that is really walkable. My girlfriends and I will go for the full day of bopping around, brunching/shopping like the basics we are – and we aren’t alone. It’s pretty great.

best shops los angeles

Those vases are VERY cute gifts for coworkers, friends, or anyone that likes home style and has a naked nightstand, and that Clay book is very inspiring and would be perfect for someone who loves all things pottery.

Midland

best shops los angeles

Kelly and Paige (friends of mine) opened Midland a few years ago on the east side and I frequent it often. Their selection of ‘uptown prairie’ is pretty epic.

best shops los angeles best shops los angeles

Again, full of tons of local artisanal goods, jewelry, clothing, bags, pottery – you name it.

best shops los angeles

I wanted that gingham dress for thanksgiving, despite its absolute oversized-ness (see below for my gingham dress of choice).

Mohawk General Store

best shops los angeles

We popped into Mohawk General Store, a place I go more for inspiration than purchasing (due to its splurge-y nature) but it does inform me what is happening next in fashion and introduce me to new brands. It’s one of those stores that major brands like Madewell go into to know what is happening next so they can, you know, make their more affordable version of it.

That sweater is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD, and I much preferred this gingham dress (it has pockets, it swings) but skipped it for now.

best shops los angeles

I haven’t shopped in person in stores in FOREVER due to work/life and it is honestly inspiring and much needed. Brian has never understood shopping and can’t wrap his mind around wanting to pop into a store just to look, not buy – it baffles him – but touching and holding anything that is beautiful is inspiring. It just is.

We only had time to go to a few but want to highlight many more in our neighborhood. If you are in LA today (or ever) – head to Silver Lake/Los Feliz, Echo Park and Atwater Village (Atwater is another one that is VERY walkable and has great food, too). Shop local, guys. Anytime. All year, but especially during the holidays when these stores that cary local goods, because they make a lot of what they need for the year to survive this insane online retail market.

IF you want more – here are some of my other favorites.

Reckless Unicorn – Kids gift/clothes boutique and a happy place to be. Say Hi to Annie and Derik from me!

Individual Medley – Clothes, gifts, local art – dangerous and SO GOOD.

Dekor – Long time shopper of home goods and gifts. Hi Isabella.

Treehaus – Cute kids gifts and clothing.

Avion Clothier – Splurge-y ballet inspired fashion that is BEAUTIFUL. Worth the pop in just for inspiration.

Arora Bohème – Cute DIY inspo (and they host workshops)

Potted – Very cute outdoor stuff and all things garden related.

Salvare Goods – Vintage, more of a flea market style.

Broome Street General – ALL THE GIFTS and coffee.

Clover – Gifts, clothes and general cute stuff.

Vamp Shoes – I rarely even go to shoe stores these days, and I kinda forgot about Vamp but it has GREAT stuff.

Spitfire Girl – All the gifts. I’ve shopped here for years.

Lost and Found – Technically outside our neighborhood, but its too good not to include.

Also we did a ‘best home stores in LA’ post here if you are coming around and want in on more than just our side of town.

There is a warehouse in Atwater near Light Lab that is great that I want to call out but I can’t remember the name. Email us or leave in the comment so we can shout out! And if I’m forgetting other shops, please please leave them in the comments. xx

**photography by Veronica Crawford

  1. Love this post. And now I want to come to la!!!! Thanks for supporting small businesses. That is the best kind of shopping though i rarely get to do it anymore. Laura

  2. Blind clown Emily is my favorite ♥️

    1. I agree! Nothing wrong with a drunk and or blind clown inspiring one’s wardrobe! Why is everyone so afraid of COLOR!!!

  3. Do great you did this! Thank you.

    Is your friend/neighbor included in fashion 2.0, in 2020? I hoe so! She can do no fashion wrong!

  4. I hope a more carefree wardrobe transformation back to blind and drunk clown style will transfer to your design work as well. I have missed your former blind clown decor style as well! Welcome back – you’re almost back to Design Star Emily whom we all loved so much.

  5. Love this! Made me turn to my husband and say we need to plan a trip to LA (he used to commute there for work, so we’d go regularly, but it’s been awhile). I’m definitely referring back to this list when we make a trip!

  6. 100% here for more blind, drunk clown style!!! And yay for small businesses!

  7. If you’re thinking of La Commune General in Atwater, it closed last April.

  8. Hi,
    As a fourth generation native, I have to say that none of the places you mention are on the east side. I live in Los Feliz (we are actually neighbors) and my family (who grew up in Boyle Heights) consider me to live on the Westside. There is a gorgeous and fascinating city to explore East of downtown that has much more history and diversity than the newly developed Westside. The neighborhoods you describe are considered ‘central LA’ on craigslist, eater LA, etc… It probably seems petty to people who don’t live here or have history here, but I think it’s always better and more respectful to be accurate rather than perpetuate misconceptions that have everything to do with demographics of race and economic class and nothing to do with geography (the real eastside is less visible, largely because it is not majority white or as affluent). The county goes as far east of downtown as the Pacific Palisades is west of downtown. It includes great communities like Boyle Heights. Lincoln Heights, Pico Rivera and Covina, Monrovia, Glendora, Monterey Park, Sierra Madre and Claremont. These places have as much claim to being ‘LA’ as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and the Pacific Palisades. The center of Los Angeles and east and west can feel really subjective and relative to each person’s own experience because it’s so vast and most people live and use only one small part of it. Whenever people share their opinions or takes on LA, I love to ask them ‘which LA’ they are talking about. It contains multitudes and I love hearing how different angelenos experience the city. But I do hate to see an entire area of the city that has such an outsize cultural influence on Los Angeles, but also suffers greatly from neglect get erased so frequently simply because people prefer not to see it.

  9. Ah, those storefronts remind me of the good ol’ days shopping on Main Street in Ventura…before it got all gentrified and schmancy. It’s so hard to find REAL neighborhood shops that aren’t all trendy and off-putting if you’re not one of the trendoids. It’s exhausting.

  10. Wish I was there, those stores look lovely…as does your hair Emily! The darker roots and golden hues work really well x

  11. Love this! I always get stuck on the westside and don’t venture over to the eastside, but I need to more often:)

  12. Hi Emily,

    Love your picks and so good to see support for small businesses! I absolutely love the black sweater and gingham dress from Mohawk General store that you showcased, Can you share the brand details for these items? Thank you!

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