Sunday, August 25

Cents of Style: SquaresVille’s playful styles are ideal for costumes, not daily wear

(Photo by Kristie-Valerie Hoang/Daily Bruin, photo illustration by LeAnn Woo/Graphics editor)

(Photo by Kristie-Valerie Hoang/Daily Bruin, photo illustration by LeAnn Woo/Graphics editor)

Wedged in between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, UCLA students have no shortage of places to shop for clothes. However, high price tags can limit shopping options for students on a college budget. Each week, columnist Linda Xu explores different secondhand shops in Los Angeles and discusses her thrifty outfits.

SquaresVille has every college party theme covered.

From free-flowing Hawaiian shirts to flowery ’70s prints to glistening metallic bodysuits, the store’s options are endless.

The vintage corner shop in Los Feliz boasts an all-encompassing selection of clothes – the most diverse assortment of prints and textures I’ve ever seen in such a tiny space. However, the intimidating number of bold and wacky pieces may overwhelm shoppers who are looking for more wearable clothing designs.

SquaresVille is essentially an overgrown closet. Clothes are divided between an open first level with accessories hanging from coat racks and a cramped, upstairs loft space containing more bizarre pieces and racks of shoes. Valuable vintage items are stacked high on paint-splattered walls.

Western styles, such as tasseled dress shirts and shiny cowboy boots, have clearly taken ahold of the shop, but it is by no means a complete rodeo. With pieces such as varsity football jackets and striped sailor tops, you’re free to live out whichever fantasy you’d like.

Prices for tops hovered around $20, while more structured pieces such as leather jackets and bomber jackets cost about $40 or more.

I must say, however, that SquaresVille has really taken the vintage band tee trend to a new extreme. I was horrified at the sight of a tattered David Bowie shirt with a $275 price tag and even more offended when I found a Meat Loaf T-shirt sold at $42.

While the downstairs selection housed typical thrift-store items such as T-shirts and denim jackets, the upstairs was an explosion of different eras and cultures. I found everything from Peter Pan-collared mod dresses to an excessive number of traditional Chinese blouses. SquaresVille is certainly not the place for generic finds from Forever 21 or H&M.

Since all of the clothing pieces were thrown together with no regard to size or style, picking through them was tedious and time consuming. While gorgeous, many of the clothes seemed more like costumes than everyday wear. No matter how much I’d like to, I simply have no place to wear a heavy, black and red flapper dress.

Other adventurous items, such as a psychedelic floor-length gown and a miniskirt that was essentially a stretched-out Pilates band, were far more playful than practical. It was as if the entire upstairs space was the wardrobe for a really cheesy production of “Hairspray.”

My search through the clothing racks was ultimately fruitless, but I didn’t leave empty-handed.

I was determined to find a pair of shoes to replace my faithful trainers that had given up on me this past week. The vomit-crusted soles had ripped apart from their muddied, canvas sides, and I finally decided it was time to let them go.

Luckily, I managed to find a pair of brown sandals on a small shelf in the corner, which were miraculously in my size and had the same slip-on ease. As I was walking down the staircase, I picked up an over-the-shoulder straw bag that fit nicely with the wistful vacation vibe I was hoping to curate. Altogether, the items I picked out were tame compared to the rest of the store and relatively cheap at $18 each.

SquaresVille is unapologetically flashy, a characteristic I admire. However, a couple of plain white T-shirt options or some tasteful button-ups wouldn’t hurt either.

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Xu is a senior staff reporter for the Arts and Entertainment section. She was previously the assistant editor for the Lifestyle beat of Arts.

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