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.