Shareen Vintage in Venice is for those who hate the hunt of discounted gems in thrift stores.
When I was in my 20s I loved shopping in thrift stores as much as the next girl with unique taste. But now that I’m older, that musty store smell, the silty feel of used clothes and the chaos of the clothing rack just don’t appeal to me as much.
So I was delighted when my roommate Crystal took me to Shareen Vintage, a vintage clothing store that picks the gems for you and sells them at reasonable prices.
The store sits behind clothing store Ecookie on Abbot Kinney and you have to take the side alley to get to it. The way is simply marked by orange tulle petticoats pinned to the fence. There usually is a clothing rack of colorful costumelike dresses marking the alley but no sign.
And once on that back patio, if Crystal wasn’t there, I probably would have turned around and left. As, even though there was another petticoat hanging over the entrance, the closed unmarked door made me doubt the store’s existence. But Crystal knocked and we walked into a room that looked like a dream closet.
At first I worried that the small room was all there was to it, but then further in there was another room and attached to that yet another. In the main room on the coffee table were all kinds of treats laid out alongside tiny bottles of Arrowhead water. If I hadn’t just eaten at Joe’s up the street, I probably would have grabbed a couple of Red Vines. Two ladies rummaging through the bowl of Skittles were pontificating about how all the good flavors are usually the first to go.
As for me, I went straight to the racks, scanning for anything that aroused my interest. Sure enough, I didn’t really see anything over $100. Nice! Immediately I found an elegant knee-length ’80s number with a flare skirt and tie back for only $30. It could almost pass for a ’40s dress if it wasn’t so clingy. I wanted to try it on but there aren’t any dressing rooms here.
Fortunately as this is a girls’ only establishment, no boys allowed, women are free to undress where they stand, sample-sale style. The saleswoman in the front room makes sure to turn all men away from the door. So don’t bother bringing your boyfriends along. They can just sit on the comfy patio furniture outside.
The store felt busy even though there were just five shoppers at the moment. It’s a small, hidden place and the saleswoman guessed that that was because most vintage lovers like to keep this place a secret. I guess now the secret is out.
BTW, apparently there is also a downtown location.
UPDATE: Venice store is closed but downtown location is still open.
1641 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, California 90291 (map)
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 12pm-7pm
Thursday 7pm-10pm with happy hour treats