In Fashion

Top 10 Reasons to Shop
in the South Bay

Riding a dip is nothing new to the South Bay, which was developed before the Depression and is weathering financial storms along with the rest of the world. The Hollywood Riviera section of Torrance got its name in 1928 when developer Clifford Reid tried to lure the Hollywood elite to the area but failed for a number of reasons, including the crash of 1929.

We’ve come a long way since the boom and bust of the early 20th century, and despite sometime sour headlines, avenues and boulevards from El Segundo to the Peninsula offer a bountiful selection of fashionable new boutiques and stylish standbys. Could the South Bay be experiencing a retail renaissance despite a shaky economic climate?

Markets up, down or in between, here are 10 solid reasons why the South Bay stands alone for the range and overall quality of its fashion scene, from signature casual beach wear to big names and reasonable prices.

NUMBER ONE

Korner Kloset and NU SHUZ ($20 always) won’t win any spelling bees, but they are just two of the many boutiques in Riviera Village, including Papillon (French for “butterfly”), Lollipop, a Children’s Boutique, Ella Boutique, Jonathan and Alandrea, that feature trendy men’s and women’s fashions with price tags that won’t put a hole in your wallet.

NUMBER TWO

South Bay IS surf and skate territory. From Beckers and Jack’s to Vanguard and Spyder to local legends like ET Surf, Dive N’ Surf and Pier Surf, Hermosa Beach has enough trendy beach fashion to match every gnarly, radical and sick surfboard or skateboard. If your kid calls you a “poser,” rent a copy of Stacy Peralta’s 2001 documentary masterpiece Dogtown and Z-Boys for inspiration. Empty the swimming pool and let the games begin.

NUMBER THREE

If the U.S. government had a micro-census for the under-5 set, Manhattan Beach would top the list of best places to shop. In between cookies or cupcakes at Becker’s or Cupcake Couture, how is a passerby to resist a charming window display at shops like Baby Bloume, Bella Beach Kids or Baby Wrights, all offering equally appetizing fashion confections? Even Hermosa is getting in the baby game with the bright pink façade of Pampered Tots on PCH. We’re ga-ga.

NUMBER FOUR

Take back your mink! Take back your pearls! High-end recessionistas will do a Double Take for designer-wear at affordable prices. Some of the pieces carried there include Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenberg, Catherine Malandrino and YSL. Concession stores abound the South Bay, from Return Engagement in Riviera Village to Time Again and Second Time Around on PCH in Torrance.

NUMBER FIVE

Though we all call South Bay home, we still celebrate our local character and the charm of our individual communities. For the small-town vibe, try Poppi’s and Doll House in Lunada Bay. Farther north, the casual-meets-contemporary looks at Grizzzly in Hermosa or Beehive in Manhattan Beach get a “totally awesome” vote from local fans, as do the handbags from Hammit and Cami. Downtown El Segundo is not to be missed either, jamming with Frocks & Rocks on West Grand.

 

NUMBER SIX

Remember Salvation Army Sergeant Sarah Brown, played by Jean Simmons in Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1955 musical classic?  The Salvation Army and Goodwill are still serving the nation and South Bay bargain hunters–not to mention stylish fare at Aaardvark and Always Fabulous Redondo. Why not browse for something cheap yet chic to wear to the Norris Center’s production of Guys and Dolls, September 23 to October 9? Will luck be a great find, tonight?

NUMBER SEVEN

While you wait for a genius at the Apple Store to fix one of your Mac gadgets, stroll the convenient and stylish Manhattan Village Mall. Great shops like Angl, Ann Taylor Loft, Francesca’s Collections and Tommy Bahama will help you forget that you dropped your new iPhone in the sink.

NUMBER EIGHT

Down the block, Plaza El Segundo’s outdoor mall is winningly divided into walkable sections. The Collection offers larger retailers like H&M, Banana Republic and Anthropologie, while The Edge specializes in small boutiques like M.Fredric Women and MAN, Ya Ya’s, Varga and the 100-year-old classic Jos. A. Bank for men. For casual wear and skateboard gear aplenty, be sure to swing by ACTIVE. 

Bracelet at Ya-Ya

 

NUMBER NINE

Ella Boutique in Hollywood Riviera has a Dionysian offering of delightful flip-flops. Around the corner, Euro-Comfort Footwear offers high-end “sensible shoes,” as they say across the pond. Gigi Shoes in the Manhattan Village Mall is a local favorite, and NU SHUZ has a second location in Hermosa. At Elleni Couture on Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach, you can buy amazing shoes AND eat delicious chocolate. Double the vice … double the pleasure.

Pump at Elleni Couture

NUMBER TEN

And finally, the ultimate reason to shop in the South Bay … it’s where we live. Why get drenched in Knightsbridge, fry in Dubai, catch pneumonia in Minnesota, or spend big bucks in New York or Paris when you can stroll outside, seaside, and shop on the perpetually sunny side of the street … right here at home?!

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