Frugal Fashionista: Dodger Stadium flea market
When you're looking for some new pants, a kitschy wig, gaudy jewelry and some vintage boots it seems almost impossible to find a one-stop-shop that'll satisfy your needs.
There is one place, though, that anyone can find all of these things and more, and it's not your grandmother's attic.
It's the flea market.
On the hunt for an eclectic mix of items a couple of weeks ago I ventured over to the new Dodger Stadium Flea Market, which is held one Sunday a month at 9:30 a.m.
Upon entering the market it became apparent that looking for an array of fashion items was going to be easy, but also slightly overwhelming.
In the first row of vendors there must have been at least 6 fashion oriented booths with a plethora of intriguing items in them.
The first booth I visited was set up by Edwin Gamez, a vendor out of downtown LA. They specialize in vintage clothes, predominately women's, and had racks and racks of fun and colorful dresses. Said dresses came out of anywhere between the 60s and 80s, and ran about $12 on average.
Miriam Cywan, of Brooches by Miriam, is another vendor that frequents the market. Her wares are a table full of magnetic brooches.
She states that these brooches are useful as sweater pins, hat ornaments, additions to handbags, or to keep a wrap wrapped around your shoulders.They are also great for leather jackets since they don't punch holes in the material, a dreaded sacrifice that many make to don cute accessories.
Cywan, who makes each of the brooches by hand, said "I've always loved to shop at garage sales, estate sales, and flea market types. Now I have a purpose." She was able to find all of her vintage pieces, and strange odds and ends, at places like the flea market to invest in her creative fashion endeavors.
Although the words "flea market" have in my mind always implied cheap, come to find out, not everything was as cheap as I had expected. What used to be a $5 shirt 10 years ago is now a $30.
The vendors, independent of one another, have definitely figured out that people will pay more than they used to for used items even if sold at a flea market.
Another merchant, Galdin Carlin, sells the most incredible hand-made leather belts. They are a family owned business, here in LA, who sell the belts at the flea market for an average of $40. The more expensive ones can get as high as $80 with their cheapest at about $20. Though the prices may be a bit steep shoppers must keep in mind that a leather belt can last a few life times and in stores they retail for at least twice the price.
"One of the reasons that we sell our belts at the flea market is so that we can pass on the savings to our customers," says Carlos Monge, Carlin's partner.
One of the less expensive vendors, Pick on You by Janet, carries earrings fashioned out of guitar picks (designed to represent almost any band you could think of) averaging a price of $5 (a great deal and a great gift idea).
"I keep the prices down because most of my customers are young adults and I know that they can't afford a lot," says Janet Capps, owner of Pick on You. Though she uses surgical steel for the backings of the earrings she doesn't believe making them more expensive will keep her customers happy.
By the time I had made it from one side of the parking lot to the other, not only was I dying of thirst but had also gained a whole new perspective on flea markets. They're full of a huge assortment of clothing, accessories, and trinkets, but the selection does not necessarily benefit the shopper. When you've only got $20 in your pocket that doesn't always mean that the flea market will prove a good place to be, but if you dig deep enough, haggle a bit, and bat your eyes then you'll find yourself walking away with at least something that you can say was worth the effort of scouring through racks in the deadly LA heat.