By Lucas Nicholson

I recently visited Los Angeles for the first time, and spent a very enjoyable week being proved wrong. Admittedly my hopes hadn’t been high for menswear in the city, but what I witnessed was wide appreciation of craft and uniquely enjoyable retail. 

My expectations, probably like many who have never visited, centred around hype and celebrities. What I saw instead, as I ran (well, Ubered) around the city was a series of stores where brands had the space to express themselves, some good multi-brand outlets, and craft where you wouldn’t expect it – often small businesses making in LA with a strong local fanbase. 

The aesthetic is not necessarily classic menswear, but the approach to craft and to running a brand can have a lot in common. 

Below are my favourites, with reasons, thoughts and advice. Thank you to all those brands that made us welcome, and the menswear people that helped us with recommendations and introductions. As ever, please add your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

The list is broken down into areas, as that seemed to make sense given how spread out LA is. 




Good Art 

Simon has covered Good Art previously on PS and explained their approach to jewellery, but meeting and talking to Josh, the owner, and having the opportunity to see the forge Downtown left me fully enamoured. What a great brand making fun, interesting, beautifully crafted items on site.


An amazing space, cavernous even. It was great to see a fuller collection of Visvim all together. The exposure we get in the UK is so limited, just a few pieces in the few stores I mentioned in a previous article. Each area is staged slightly differently and they use props to good effect, like a full Airstream caravan. It’s an experience – like Visvim is in most places, but also as I was increasingly realising LA is more generally. 

Brian the Bootmaker 

Brian the Bootmaker has a stellar reputation for his style of boot – engineers, boondockers and the like. Unfortunately I was unable to meet Brian as I ran out of time, but he’s definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in that style. 

Raggedy Threads 

A great vintage store with outlets on both coasts. The owner cut her teeth sourcing and selling at the famous Rose Bowl flea market here in LA. Focused on the more military/workwear side of menswear. 

Rose Bowl flea market 

The market itself. Held on the second Sunday of every month, this is probably the best vintage market in the US, bringing in a wide range of sellers. It used to be more focused on western clothing and workwear, but has broadened over the years. See Ethan Wong’s (Socal local!) piece on it here



Melrose/ La Brea (this covers quite a large area)


A vintage eyewear shop that also supplies scores of high-end stores around the world, and featured in a PS pop-up in London. The LA shop has a big range of pristine vintage pairs, plus a small run of their own brand. The prices are quite high but the frames are good as new (not always the case with vintage) and often rare. If you were looking for a particular style from an old movie or something similarly period, this is the first place I’d go.

Mister Freedom 

What an Aladdin’s cave! Unassuming from the outside, it’s big and broad inside, with vintage and a full range of their own brand. If you don’t know Mister Freedom it’s perhaps best thought of as a repro brand like Full Count, Real McCoy’s and others, but US-based rather than Japanese. 

Jacques Marie Mage 

The now rather famous eyewear brand is LA-based, and this is the fullest expression of what they offer. It’s a beautifully designed space with lots of styles to try on and limited editions that are exclusive to the store.

Just One Eye 

This is more of a fashion store, so it may not appeal to many readers, but it’s symptomatic of how good multibrands often are in Los Angeles. An incredible space (below), it’s impressively decorated (20 ft Damian Hirsts) and has a really tight, distinctive offering of brands and products. Exactly what a multi-brand store should be. 

Elder Statesman 

OK this is a personal one. I’ve been looking for Elder Statesmen jumpers in the sales or on eBay for a long time, particularly the tie-dye cashmere. But I had no idea they were making in LA. After speaking to the team in-store I discovered they have a facility Downtown which they filled with vintage knitting machines to create unusual knits. They also work with knitting circles in places like Kentucky and Peru. I love the commitment to craftsmanship and retaining skills, while making a product that seems to feel both classic and modern.

American Rag 

A good vintage store – cavernous in nature, from pricey rare pieces to general Americana (trucker hats and tees). They also have some new clothing from a selection of brands, giving it quite a wide appeal. 


If you like the aesthetic of Bode this should be one of the first places you visit, as it’s a completely different level from New York. And even if you don’t, it’s a great space to see, one that reminded me of a cabin built for a kids camp in the Catskills (I’ve never been, just what I imagine). Plus their impact on menswear as a whole always makes them interesting. 




Wellema hats

A great hatmaker covered on PS in the past, and featuring in our pop-up shops in London. Cody Wellema makes bespoke hats on site, often but not necessarily with a western style. Somewhere worth visiting if you’ve never thought hats were for you – just so Cody can try everything on you and work why they do or do not work. 

Ghiaia Cashmere 

Not just cashmere anymore but chinos, socks, sandals and much else, Ghiaia has a wonderful laidback luxurious style. Currently in the replica Burlington Arcade (which frankly is a bit unnerving visiting as a Brit) but soon to be moving, Davide showed me the new space in San Marino and if it has a tenth of the character of Burlington it will be a worthwhile trip out of the city. The product is beautiful, the styling exquisite and the hospitality generous. What more could you ask for?




This is a trendy area with a western feel. Lots of nice little shops and multi-brand stores.

Mohawk General Store 

The kind of store that I think you could easily overlook if you’re European. The brand mix is slightly more fashion forward than some others here, with lacy shirts from Sefr, remixed classics from Lemaire and printed pieces from Dries. But as with Just One Eye It’s a great multi-brand and the kind of thing we just don’t get in London.

Lady White Co 

If you looked at Lady White Co online or on Instagram you would likely think, ‘Oh that looks nice I guess, but I’m not sure if I will have time to go there, it’s a bit out of the way’. And then you mention you’re visiting a bunch of stores in LA and ask some locals, and everyone says go and check out Lady White. So you do. And all of a sudden you’re deep in textures and subtle colour tones, and realise none of this can really come across on screen. 

Lady White started as an idea to make a T-shirt entirely in California, down to growing the cotton (the kind of nerdiness I love). The business has grown and some of the initial ideas have had to give way, but it feels like the fastidiousness is still there. The colours take in deep indigos and murky browns, steely greys and rich aubergine. The cuts are considered and everything feels simple but elevated. 



Beverley Hills 

To be honest this was a pilgrimage, I think Beverly Hills has a case for being a protected menswear area like Savile Row, given its service to sartorial endeavours over the years. It was the location for the first standalone store for all the following brands in the US – which may surprise some Europeans. (All covered in the book Deluxe by Dana Thomas).

Ralph Lauren 

The positive and negative of Ralph is his world building is so strong that the shops look very much the same, but at the same time if you’re a fan you want to visit all the major ones. (On that basis, the RRL store that looks like an old gas station is also worth a visit.)

Giorgio Amani 

The shop has had a refit, it doesn’t feel like the period associated with LA, but it’s still lovely and some of the collections are circling back to that 80/90s aesthetic they’re famous for. The Gucci store, by contrast, feels like it has no real connection to that era. 

Anto Shirts 

Historic shirtmaker covered by Simon in the past – here with a profile of the store and its history, here with a review of a shirt. Bespoke shirts and some ready to wear, with a lot of the business being for the film industry. 



Three biggies in the West Hollywood area – though staying in famous hotels is a bit like that adage “don’t meet your heroes”: no matter when someone has stayed it can always be said it was better 10 years ago. 

The Chateau Marmont – an icon, definitely worth a stop, despite being intimidating to pull up to all the staff were very pleasant and welcoming. The Beverly Hills Hotel – background to so many Slim Aarons pictures, go for lunch in the unparalleled Polo Lounge (perhaps a Tom Collins and the steak tartare). Sunset Tower – where I stayed, better value and smaller than the last two but with no fewer credentials. Also a soft landing from LAX.

Honourable mention to The Los Angeles Athletic Club, which is a more fun place to stay Downtown. Certainly compared to the soullessness of modern hotels.

For further reading, have a look at Ethan Wong’s piece here


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Lindsay McKee

Another great addition to the list of cities,very enjoyable.
My nearest capital city is Dublin, actual city nearest to me is Belfast. I wonder if they have anything unique to offer, albeit Ireland does. McGee’s, Donegal being one. Ulster for linen, another. Might be fun to check Ireland out one day! Yes Simon, I’ve seen you in Ireland for a number of posts. I’m sure it has a few sartorial offerings of interest, apart from the craic and a good pint of Guinness!!

Lindsay McKee

Thanks a lot.


Thanks for the article. It would be nice if you could be more specific about the multibrand stores. There is a difference between a traditional haberdasher with suits and maybe an inhousetailor and a multibrand store with brands like Levis, Stone Island and Sunspel.


I just wanted to know more about the type of brands that you find in the different multibrand stores. Is it workwear or high-end tailoring? Is the price-level Kiton, Drakes or Suitsupply?

Lucas Nicholson

Hi Carl

The multi brands are less haberdashery, they do fit in to a number of categories though.

Just one eye is high end designer like Prada etc very high end

Mohawk General store is more premium fashion forward menswear such as Lemaire probably in line with a Drakes in terms of pricing

Mister freedom is more workwear etc. along the lines of clutch

I feel like the tailoring side is taken care of a brand level. Such as the Armani stores etc. this is also totally an assumption but it feels like there is a world of stylists for people out there and that seems a more normal way to buy clothes. Especially at the super high net worth/celebrity level. I didn’t see many multi brand in the European sartorial vain such as Jondral, Beige or Cavour

I hope that helps


Thanks Lucas,

That was the kind of information I was asking for. Jondral and Clutch are very different animals.

Eric Twardzik

A very enjoyable piece, although I feel that it’s left us on a cliffhanger. Did Lucas nab his Elder Statesmen sweater?

Lucas Nicholson

Alas not this trip! But I’ve still got my eyes peeled! So ready for my hippy luxe era.


I love their stuff but it doesn’t seem to be sized for the larger man (I am 56 in Italian sizing).


Freenote Cloth (made in California denim, Western shirts and workwear) is another place worth checking out. It’s right down Figueroa street from Snake Oil Provisions which sells high-end workwear and footwear from RRL, Barbour, Alden, etc. Also 3Sixteen and SelfEdge have locations in L.A.


One remark to Freenote. If you are based in the E.U. Red Caste Heritage offers a good selection.


As a native born Los Angeleno, LA gets a bad rap, but all in all is a great place to visit with a wide variety of shopping, dinning, and culture. I am glad to hear you enjoyed your stay.

Lucas Nicholson

Hi Spencer,
Yeah! I honestly had an amazing trip ate great food, visited amazing places – including these stores and had an all round great time!

Evatt Gibson

I’ve been eyeing up LA based Monsivais & Co for a while. Lovely looking vintage style caps and some interesting brown denim stuff. Anyone have any experience of them?


Epaulet is worth checking out for MTM tailoring and more casual pieces. Eva carries some interesting Harris Tweeds and sashiko fabrics. Anonymousism has a new store with casual socks from Japan. Meg Company (Monitaly, Chamula, and Yuketen) used to have a showroom in Hermosa Beach, but I am not sure if that has closed like The Bloke. Some of their stuff is wild, but a few items would be interesting to your readers. I have a lovely pair of MTO moccasins in a brown pebbled leather with kilties that are very well made. The guayaberas and huaraches are nice too.


Did you not visit The Optimist? It’s by far the best men’s store in LA.

Lucas Nicholson

Hi JD,
Unfortunately not it was on my extended list to potentially visit but just didn’t find the time I’m afraid.

Victor Kernes

I’d be curious to hear more about your comments for Lady White Co. in terms of “their initial ideas.” Do you feel as if they’ve drifted away from their original vision? Or something else?

Lucas Nicholson

Hi Victor
I think it is just the usual constrains of growing a business versus keeping as close to your founding principals as you can. Starting with such a specific niche is nearly always going to be at odds with growing a brand in a meaningful way. I don’t think they have reduced quality or even strayed that far. They have just had to make some compromises as the brand has grown . The products felt amazing and were really enjoyable to wear (had a mini try on session in the store)

Mattthew V

Great summary of the LA area, all the different districts, with their own identity. We do love it there even though it is not always easy to pinpoint why, except of course the weather.

Amid the sea of overpriced sweatpants there are some gems as you have identified.

The Beverly Hills Hotel is an icon, as it Chateau Marmont We like the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood (great music history) and Surfrider in Malibu.

Ron Herman is an interesting multi-brand store, although again very casual, andthe James Perse stores have interesting interior design. It is strange that there is only one proper Ralph store, but there is RRL as you mentioned and there was a second RRL store at the Malibu Country Mart.

Lucas Nicholson

Hi Matthew

Totally agree, went to the Chateau (as I believe people call it) for drinks which was fun followed by an in and out burger! (Davide at Ghiaia gave me some tips on what to order!)

Also had lunch at the polo bar in the Beverley hills hotel and it was a great experience. Living up to its Slim Aaron’s legacy although maybe the people weren’t quite as well dressed!

I actually stayed for the first two nights in sunset towers which was a really enjoyable experience and I throughly recommend it!

Didn’t come across Ron Herman but I will look it up!

Glad you approve of the list


Simon, I have just visited the Visvim web store this evening and the prices are eye-boggling. I could not believe the prices for vibrato-soled footwear, e.g. $810 for canvas sneakers. and $1,434 for pair of brigadier boots that look inferior to Redwings. Then there’s the $150 price for 50% cotton, 50% acrylic sports socks and $960 for selvedge jeans. Would you or Lucas pay those crazy prices? No LA “experience” can justify them IMO.


Your comparison with 45R is baffling. Visvim is charging more than much more than Crockett & Jones hand grade, even Edward Green, for basic casual shoes with Vibram soles. They look inferior to similar products offered by the likes of Doek, Wakouwa, Padre & Barnes and Redwing. Very ordinary pocket t-shirts, with 17% nylon, are a whopping $380! IMO the materials are not exclusive. The designs are bland and boring. Visvim is all hype and no substance, the antithesis of Permanent Style.


Hi Gary
I have been in fashion product development for the last 10 years focusing primarily on the Japanese market for a large fashion brand and have worked directly with lots of factories that produce for Visvim. I can 100% confirm the majority if not all of their fabrics are custom developments, where they are usually importing raw fibers and yarns from other countries (IMO in ways that are too costly to actually make sense) and are using finishing techniques that most other brands do not do. Naturally, that is quite expensive, though IMO not enough to justify the retail price.
It is incredibly hard to “justify” Visvim from a price standpoint, which is completely fine. I will say if you want something that looks similar with a similar make to Visvim, you can easily purchase from 45R, TRMC, or just about anything from S&S and wear it until you get the “broken”/heavily washed hand feel. It might take a year or so to get to that point, however. It is also worth mentioning that purchasing Visvim from one of their stores in Japan is significantly cheaper than purchasing anything from their US or EU-based stores both due to a reduction in import taxation and the relative strength of the $ to yen.
I do think that Visvim does deserve to be mentioned on this list regardless of if you like the style of the clothing or have any intention of purchasing. Visvim is one of the few in the area that I feel has made a space that is both inviting and has a sense of reverence for the clothing. The Visvim associates do not push for sales and have always made it a welcoming space just to try on or ask questions about the product.

Lucas Nicholson

Hi Gary

I totally understand it is certainly expensive. And would I pay for it? Probably not.

However I don’t think that means you have to disregard them. They are still an influential brand and have a loyal following. The store was beautiful and the installations really interesting.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to by a $400 t-shirt.

But there may be another reader who loves Visvim and is going to LA for the first time may not know they have a store.

It’s like going to Sotheby’s I’m not going to by the art but if you have the time sometimes it’s interesting to look at!


What about Chester Mox for bespoke leather goods? I have about 5-6 items. All saddle stitched and finished very well.


Wow- I live in Los Angeles and there’s a lot on this list that is new to me (it is a huge city after all). Thank you for giving us a much needed spotlight. Will echo the Optimist as having above average curation as a multi-brand store and also throw in a mention for George Esquivel–his shoes are made by hand and an incredible showroom/factory space in downtown LA (have had custom pairs made for me and my wife– great experiences all around).


What about Buck Mason? They are inspired by the California laid-back ethos…making clothes that are American made, no chemicals, clean designs… and have some stellar fashion people, like Nico Lazaro, on board. Check them out:


I would also suggest visiting the Atelier Savas store in Melrose for bespoke leather jackets. While I would suggest Rifugio for any Italian-based or Italian traveling buyer, I think it is nice to have this service available for US buyers with more focus on the pedantic and less on the elitism that one would expect from the bespoke Fifth Avenue New York sellers.

Max Alexander

I’ll be in LA next month and looking forward to visiting some of these shops. (I lived there decades ago so this is all new, especially the downtown scene.)

Visvim looks like a fun space, but at $780 for a t-shirt ($854 with local sales tax) that will be window shopping. And I spend a lot on clothes.

This is a problem in a city full of young people with more money than they know what to do with. That said, the prices for handmade jewelry from Good Art, while not cheap, seem reasonable for what you get. I may buy a bracelet depending on how I fancy them in person.