Hell, making it down Melrose or up Robertson without being torn limb from limb is enough of an undertaking that perhaps the requirements for the Medal of Honor should be reconsidered. However, for those who prefer not to don commando gear just to buy a T-shirt, there is salvation in the overstuffed and underpriced aisles of local vintage store Jet Rag.
Located on La Brea just past Melrose, the building itself is just as funky as the inventory inside. With two stories of vintage finds from the '60s, '70s and '80s, Jet Rag has more polos, cowboy boots, band T's, Levis and leather than most shoppers know what to do with. And it's all affordable, unlike that trendy little what's-it-called specialty store down the street.
Jet Rag also carries more expensive faire from the '40s and '50s for those who are looking for harder-to-find collectibles. Organized by decade and genre and then by color, the store makes browsing easy.
In fact, taking an afternoon to wander through the racks isn't necessarily a bad idea. Last time this lowly writer was there, she snagged a nicely worn-in 1960s Harley Davidson T-shirt and some killer hoop earrings straight out of the '70s.
The store is also perfect for Halloween costumes and other themed events that clients may need an outfit for. A word of caution, however: around the more festive holidays, Jet Rag sells out of key costume accessories and those must-have details that make any perfect costume, well, perfect.
The personnel range from the Rivers Cuomo lookalike to the mohawk-clad to the quiet, Burroughs reading introvert. And unlike other retailers, the staff won't scoff at your diverse selection of purchases when you make it to the register, no matter how oddball or eccentric the assortment might be.
The danger with this is that although it is an affordable vintage store, the total adds up quickly as the mound of clothing in your hands seems to grow exponentially. However, Jet Rag even has a solution for this, too.
Every Sunday, the store holds the One Dollar sale. Literally piles of new inventory – all priced at $1 – are dumped in the parking lot and die-hard shoppers dive right in. Vintage clothing diving – it's like an aquatic Olympic sport without the water.
And it's no stretch of the imagination to know that there are shoppers who prep for Sunday mornings like they were on the high platform competing for a medal. On these days, Jet Rag more closely resembles loosely controlled chaos than a clothing store.
But hey, loosely controlled chaos is much more exhilarating than a ‘we-play the Click Five on the intercom' designer shop with designer price tags. Especially at 9:30 on a Sunday morning.
Jet Rag is open Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m- 8 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. For more information, call (323) 939-0528.