Frugal Fashionista: Skylark

It is clear that men and women shop differently. Most women dress with serious thought and attention. They buy things that make them feel good and they'll shop socially just to pass the time. Men, on the other hand, shop as little as possible and predominately only for what they need. I'm aware that this is a bite of a generalization but I think it is a fare assessment. When men go shopping they are looking for something necessary. "Men are hunters," says Seth Deignan buyer at Skylark, a clothing store in Venice. "Woman are gatherers. That's how they shop."

Deignan, a previous Urban Outfitters manager, and the rest of the staff at Skylark cater to the urban rock 'n' roll cowboy, the Hollywood guy, and the Venice guy bringing in anything from vintage boots to faux leather bomber jackets and button-down vintage plaid shirts. Kim Michalowski, owner of the store and local folk singer, aims at an "Americana" feel adding a taste of the 1950s back into our contemporary diet. The store itself, at first glance, seems dark maybe even a little narrow filled with reminance of history. The further you walk in you start to feel a sense of home, a sense of secrets come and gone, a sense of mystery; even the smell of the Venice Beach air inside is mildly tainted with a vintage musk.

Apparently the men, who have never been to this store before, usually wander in while accompanying girlfriends on shopping excursions but once inside they find it hard not to shop for themselves.They become hooked because the mens section serves their basics needs while providing a sense of direction in style. They can find anything from jeans to T-shirts to original belts at a moments notice just as a customer did while I was standing at the stores counter. Over all for men and women both, the store is the perfect place for anyone who wants to look casually fantastic. You know the look; the one that says "this is totally unintentional. I just rolled out of bed and put some clothes on" but you know it looks great.

The prices can start at $20 and go up to $250 depending on what you're looking for. Skylarks T-shirts from Sub_Urban Riot are popular on shows such as "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" and their vintage boot selection is to die for; if only they had more of them. The most popular thing amongst their men's clothing is the button-down vintage shirts hand picked by Jason Husby, a former SMC student and Skylark's vintage buyer, which retails at $28. With a variety of colors and sizes these shirts are a necessary addition to the male closet.

The woman's section is without a doubt larger than the men's; a sad side effect of a smaller based male clientele. But both sections, as the fall season gets under way, are clearly well picked allowing for eager fresh customers to find a brilliant vital quick fix within the realm of fashion.

As Billy Holiday sings "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and customers stroll throughout the racks, outfits are being put together by the sales staff. For the boys, Sub_Urban Riot Vneck ($36), Clarke Ambiguous jeans ($92), and Bed stu Docksiders ($78) aided by a pocket knife necklace ($22) or Bandit Brand wolf tank ($36), Fyasko chambray button-down ($62), Kill CIty jeans ($126), and Bed stu boots ($200) all which could be mixed and matched. For the ladies a Piko 1988 short crop shirt ($32), Kill City jeans ($94), and an original Millitary crop jacket ($102) with Frye boots "Veronica Slouch" ($280) dressed up by a pair of vintage earrings are exactly what the doctor ordered.

Tip: "Men don't dress for other men but woman dress for other woman." says comrade Deignan so make sure you understand who your dressing for; always satisfy your own needs first.



1356 Abbot Kinney Blvd

Venice CA 90291

310 392 9099