Friday, March 1, 2013

Poppin’ Some Tags At Playclothes

The Buzz:

If you ever watched Mad Men or Lost on television, or saw the movies Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, or L.A. Confidential, then you have seen clothing from Playclothes.

But they are not just a source for Hollywood’s top costume folks; they are a perfect place to shop for every vintage-loving and wearing man, woman, and child in Southern California. Seriously, how can you go wrong when a store looks like the biggest, coolest boudoir ever?!

Walking into Playclothes can be a dangerous thing. Well, at least it is for me (Lara). There is such a huge and gorgeous selection of everything from dresses to antique mirrors at such reasonable prices that it seems it would be a mistake not to walk out with something. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that costs more than $200.

Recently, I popped in thinking I would maybe just take some pics for a blog I was considering writing about the store; instead, I walked out fifteen minutes later with this flowy 1970s creation that looks a little 1930s-inspired (matching jacket not shown).

There is still a clingy 1970s Bill Blass number in the back that is calling to me across the miles, and I would love to wear this 1950s dress and hat to an Easter Parade.

The Atmosphere:

Playclothes is located on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, which is in the San Fernando Valley. Traditionally, you can find vintage at lower prices if you just go “over the hill” from Hollywood into the Valley, but sometimes the quality is not great or it smells funny or it’s just kind of “off.”

Not so here.

I’ve been shopping Playclothes for years, and everything has always been clean and extremely well-organized, which is not easy to pull off when your selection is huge and turning over quickly. I actually even love the smell of  the clothing I buy from Playclothes, which might be attributed to Studio City Cleaners, which was their recommendation when I asked about dry cleaning and caring for my pieces.

Plus, the staff has a great attitude and seems to strike the perfect balance between being helpful and not hovering; all the girls appear so happy to be working there and have awesome personal style. You can even spot a friendly little cat wandering around. How they keep him from batting at anything with fringe, I will never know.

The Scoop:

"Hats off to you!"
Playclothes carries clothing from the 1930s through the 1980s (think shoulder pads on an epic scale!), and the items are grouped by decade all around the store, so be sure to check in every room if you’re focusing on a specific era. I tend to jump from decade to decade with my purchases depending on what catches my eye and what event I will be wearing something to, but I’m usually drawn to 1930s long dresses, 1940s suits, and body-skimming dresses and accessories from the 1970s. 

Keep an eye out for jackets from the 1950s, 1970s sunglasses, gorgeous pastel slips from all eras that you must lounge around your house in, and small beaded purses that are perfect to punch up an evening look, plus all manner of baubles, bangles, and beads. 

(SIDE NOTE: I wore one of the peach-colored Playclothes dresses I bought from the thirties on the red carpet at the Pantages Theatre with my friend Cori. See pic below!) 

Most of the home furnishings and accessories inside Playclothes are near the entrance, and if books are your bag there are piles of them scattered around the store. Make sure to check the hallway by the dressing rooms, as I once found an All Color Book of Art Deco by Dan Klein there.
Me striking a pose like Nicole Richie!

And speaking of the dressing rooms… They are wonderfully, whimsically decorated with clothing and pictures and accessories, and are the size of a bathroom or small bedroom, so you can really get a sense of how a garment moves. Plus, the lighting is good and there is enough space that there are no close-ups on any body parts you don’t want to get close up with. (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.)

By the way, around Halloween, you must come here for your costume, as they have everything from Elvis (the Vegas days, with the low-cut jumpsuit, sunglasses, wig) to a vintage flight attendant. Some of the costumes (like the 1920s fringed flapper dress I spotted) are so cute you will want to wear them all year.
Playclothes is one of the few vintage stores I know that carries items for the little ones! 

There are some antique toys in the very back corner of the shop, and lots of clothing for girls and boys. I found a sweet little vintage linen shirt and jacket (complete with bowtie!) from the 1950s for my three-year-old there. Although I have yet to keep the bowtie on long enough to get a pic. But a Diva can dream, can’t she?

And don’t forget your man! Call him in (he’s probably been out front sitting in a chair and holding your purse), and show him the vintage cowboy boots and suits. Playclothes is the place to deck your honey out like he is Fred Astaire in Top Hat.

Who knows? He might even Waltz you out the front door and right home…

The 411:

  • Allow plenty of time for your visit, because this is a large store that will take a few hours to sort through. Unless you know specifically what you want, like a beaded purse or vintage cowboy boots, it is best not to rush in and out because you might miss a treasure. Trust: When you see the place, you will not want to go until you have explored every corner.
  • Check out the mannequins! There are tons scattered around, and you can pretty much pull off what they are wearing for yourself (ask for assistance with this). We have found some wonderful items this way, such as beads from the 1970s and my dress pictured above. They will also give you some great ideas for putting together your own looks. A lot of people are doing this; one of the sweet gals that works at Playclothes said that by the end of the day they are usually surrounded by naked mannequin torsos.
  • Porto’s Bakery, just up the street on Magnolia at Hollywood Way, is a perfect pre- or post-shopping stop. Fuel up or recover with a Chai Latte and their famous potato balls. The whole neighborhood is wonderful, and full of antique stores, vintage clothing stores, and thrift stores. Plus, NBC is a few moments away on Olive, and Downtown Burbank is close with more shopping at the mall, Ikea, tons of restaurants, and a ginormous movie theatre.
The Contact Info:

3100 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505

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