So here it goes, category by category, day by day, store by store. Shop local boutiques and independently owned stores this year and support your own economy! These places need you and your money, plus they feature wonderful goods at generally good prices.
Part I: For the Clotheshorse (in no particular order)
Noni: This Larchmont clothes boutique is owned by the excessively cool duo Megan and Elaine, and features local designers aplenty. Featuring clothing and accessories for both men and women, it's a great spot for picking up nicer items like sweaters, scarves and purses. Check out all the Black Halo, Smoke and Mirrors, Mike and Chris and Anna Sui for the younger, harder bodied type on your list. These women will also style you for free, and they have excellent taste and fashion instincts.
225 N. Larchmont Blvd., 323-469-3249, www.noniboutiquela.com
Milk: This is one of the famed Third St. boutiques with pretty high end merchandise. But there's always a sale section. I find the help here a bit negligent in that LA way, but not unkind.
8209 W. Third St., 323-951-0330, www.shopatmilk.com
Satine: Yet another Third St. special. Satine has supremo goods, like Isabel Marant t-shirts and sweaters, Lanvin shoes, and other goods probably out of the price range. They also have Japanese designer Tsumori Chisato's arty clothing, which is often on sale and thus within financial reach (at full price, forget about it).
8134 W. Third St., 323-655-2142, www.satineboutique.com
Creatures of Comfort: I think this store has the most cutting edge fashion in LA. Featuring a ton of European and niche designers, it's the perfect place to find one edgy piece for a fashionista. It often has some steep prices, but again has sale stuff frequently (I believe there's a sale currently in progress). If you go to the website first, pay no notice to the fact that the clothing seems universally unflattering; there's something wrong with the way it's shot. Again, lots of hard to find Isabel Marant, Zero Maria Cornejo, Rachel Comey and much more. Help is rather lazy unless you really press for assistance.
7971 Melrose Ave., 323-655-7855, www.creaturesofcomfort.us
American Apparel: Yeah, right. But no, really. This chain might say American, but it's actually about as Angeleno as it gets. These leggings, t-shirts, and anything and everything else are designed and made right here in Downtown LA, by fairly paid workers. It's hard to beat that, plus the prices are excellent. Ok, the advertising verges on porn, but you should get over your fussy sensibilities already and embrace these domestic products. Many of these items make great stocking stuffers! Just don't count on getting any sales assistance here, since the average age/average IQ of the help is about 20.
Look up the locale nearest you at www.americanapparel.com