Tuesday, June 18

Cents of Style: Echo Park’s quirky hidden treasure Lemon Frog Shop is vintage oasis


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 money-conscious students on a college budget. Each week, columnist Linda Xu explores different secondhand shops in Los Angeles and discusses her thrifty outfits.

Lemon Frog Shop vintage bazaar is approximately the size of a walk-in closet but boasts an endless amount of rare finds.

I took an hour-long bus ride to Echo Park to visit the smallest secondhand store I’ve shopped at so far. Initially, I was skeptical of the small interior and the long, floral muumuu dresses that first caught my eye. However, upon a thorough search, the store’s distinct vacation styles and quirky accessories scattered throughout enticed me to continue shopping.

The quietness of the space was interrupted only by a playlist of crooning, old-timey singers and the periodic ding of the front door when it opened. For the first 15 minutes, I was the only person in the shop apart from a single store attendant who flitted around silently, adjusting clothes on the small racks and tidying up the clutter.

In such a tiny store, certain measures had to be taken in order to conserve space. Two racks of clothes sat just outside the shop, displaying button downs layered over T-shirts on the same hanger. Inside, pairs of shoes were crammed underneath dressers, and smaller purses were shelved tightly, like books.

Before even touching the clothes, I explored a tall, skinny shelf labeled “All Items $10,” which hid a plethora of vintage treasures and knick-knacks such as boxes of jewel-encrusted rings and coiled belts that looked like leather snakes. The medley of items reminded me of the pages in the “I Spy” picture books I used to read as a kid.

I was convinced the little shop was a hidden treasure, like a kind of retail Narnia – even the clothes themselves brought to mind the image of a secluded getaway.

I pictured many of the clothes being worn by glamorous vacationers sunbathing in a tropical location like Miami or strolling around in a small beach town. Pieces such as ruffled bathing suits and a beaded Punta Cana T-shirt were hung over espadrille sandals and short cowboy boots in the middle of the store.

The mannequin in the store window donned a wide-brimmed straw hat and a red crocheted bikini top, her hands confidently placed on her hips.

Off to the side, long dresses cascaded down to the floor, showing off a range of patterns from bright paisleys to muted floral prints. I quickly realized that the prices for more vintage looking items, such as a beautiful, custard yellow dress trimmed with white lace, could be as high as $100.

However, the prices for simpler tops and accessories dipped down to around $10, which fit into my budget far better. I picked out a $16 crocheted halter top and a pair of lace-up sandals wedged underneath the $10 shelf and made my way to the cashier.

Jewelry stands overflowing with gold, silver and wooden baubles crowded the top of the checkout counter. Before paying, I took my time to look through some of the more whimsical items – my favorites were the rings shaped like miniature belts and a watch with a cartoon cat clock face.

I ended up purchasing a dark metal choker instead, but reminded myself to try on the quirkier items the next time I visited the shop.

Much like a magician pulling an unbroken chain of scarves from his mouth, Lemon Frog Shop provides an infinite number of discoverable items in a minuscule space and an experience that could’ve kept me occupied for hours.

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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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