Okay, so with THREE of my closest friends getting married this year, I've seen a lottttttttttt of wedding dresses. I'm definitely not getting on the marriage train anytime soon, but there's zero way to stop myself from developing strong, pseudo-expert opinions about my favorite wedding looks and what is awesome and what is played out and what is just TURRIBLE. Therefore, when my wonderful friend Erin asked me to help her find a vintage dress, I was STOKED. That's exactly what I would choose, so of course I was down to put on my scout uniform and start the hunt for The Real Deal. I mean, “vintage-inspired” is all well and good, but why not go straight to the source, right? If you live in Los Angeles or New York, “the source” is definitely Shareen Vintage, famous for its MASSIVE stash of incredible vintage finds, unconventional location and charismatic owner/queen bee. Thinking of going vintage but overwhelmed with how to find what you need? Shareen might be your perfect one-stop shop. I first met Shareen herself at a wedding, actually, where she’d re-made a stunning vintage ivory column dress for the bride. It was the opposite of cheesy-retro, and was proof right off the bat that Shareen’s eye is less about loving the ‘60s or whatever and more about finding the perfect dress for a woman’s body. Since then, I’ve been to her eastside L.A. vintage treasure trove-slash-warehouse many times -- most recently on this mission to scope out wedding dresses for Erin, and bridesmaids' dresses for myself and the rest of Erin’s lady posse.
Did we succeed? Did we get mugged in the alley? Is Shareen really as imperious as Yelp reviews imply? Read on!
WHERE ARE WE?
Sure, it’s an industrial part of town – a nebulous no-man’s land between Chinatown and downtown and Echo Park. So what! Look how scenic! And parking is endless!
I told you, it’s no-man’s land.
Step through the sketchball-looking front-door-that-looks-like-a-back-door, and find yourself in a vast landscape of garment racks and half-naked women breathlessly pulling things from their gorgeously colored piles of vintage dresses (and blouses, and shorts, and corsets, and oh my my it never ends). See why the “No Boys Allowed” rule is essential?
PART ONE: WEDDING DRESS CONSULTATION
We had an appointment with Shareen for a bridal consultation, so to start off, Erin browsed the (extensive!) bridal racks to pull what she liked best.
Despite being tempted by a feathery number and this very fetching jumpsuit, Erin was really looking for less of a full-length lace extravaganza, and more of a knee/tea-length corset dress or wrap dress.
Unfortunately, they were pretty short on shorter options, so we started talking custom. Shareen has recently launched her own line of dresses, with some really simple and chic options that are definitely worth a look. The gathered wrap dress below left can be made in several kinds of jersey and silk (this one was just a sample and is meant to be worn with a liner, obviously… though it’s pretty BANGING solo, no? Reminiscent of a certain 90s Chanel, even?). Shareen showed a few shades of ivory that Erin could pick from for her custom version. The dress on the right from her collection is what I perrrsonally was obsessed with but that's irrelevant.
In the end, Erin decided to go with a more classic princessy style from Dolly Couture, but visiting Shareen was definitely worthwhile. E found a whole new range of things that look amazing on her, we learned that custom can be cheap (under $200!), and Shareen herself is SO MUCH FUN. She keeps up a nonstop stream of intense, breathy commentary that ranges from passionate discussions of fabric options to heartfelt compliments that would thrill any self-conscious bride to hushed confessions about her own soap-worthy love life.