Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lala's Shopping Guide: Thank You, Thank You Mart

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first in a series of Lala's Shopping Guide. I've been planning to do this for a while so here I am. Many of you ask where I get my stuff for so cheap, well now I'm going to tell you the secrets of my trade. I feel like a magician revealing all my magic tricks. But because I believe that these gems of places should be known to all (all that is cool that is because only cool people read this blog, right?). Unfortunately this might only work for people living in the LA or Orange County area or even with the southern California area in general.

One of my favorite places to shop at whenever I am back at school is Thank You Mart. This funky store is located 1138 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles 90024. It is truly an iconic store in the heart of Westwood Village. With so many retailers coming in and leaving due to poor business, TYM stands out and stands strong by attracting college students, hipsters, adults, and kids alike with their "Everything is $3.99!!" pricing policy. Yes you heard that straight. Everything in the store is $3.99.

So what exactly is Thank You Mart? When I first heard of the store as a young and lost freshman, I thought it was one of those eclectic gift shops selling room deco and little gifts and trinkets. The name of the store certainly reminded me of those shops in the mall. But really, it is something quite interesting.

TYM is a mix between a vintage store and a "random random RANDOM" store. What do I mean by random random RANDOM, well I mean exactly that - they house a lot of the random-est things in there, making it an altogether cool experience. You can find everything from an army jacket to boxing gloves. From Levi's jeans to a welcome mat. It's that random.

Because everything in the store is priced $3.99 (I like $3.99 better than $4 because it sounds cheaper) I usually gravitate towards the vintage clothing. As "vintage" clothing gets every more popular (I wonder if this "trend" will ever stop), "vintage" stores have been popping up everywhere, especially in LA and prices there are certainly not cheap. Not as cheap as $3.99 or even the thrift stores. Many of the vintage items here I can easily see being sold at boutique vintage stores. They do have quite a selection for a small sized store and because merchandise turns over super fast, they are constantly adding new items, making the thrill of the hunt even greater. The store usually gets a bit crowded due to it's cramped space and the number of customers wanting to grab a bargain.

Each time going to TYM has been a hit or miss experience. When I really hit it, I really hit it big. Most of the time, I do manage to find something that catches my eyes. So what goodies does TYM hold?

Upon entering the store you find a square rack filled with sequined things - tops, halters, skirts. Some of those sequined butterfly disco tops of the 1980's are wonderful because I've seen them sold for way above the price at thrift stores and vintage stores. The first time I went there, I saw tons of beaded, sequined dresses some constructed of 100% pure silk. I grabbed one up. I was a little crazy because I still don't know what to do with it. The usual button up polyester shirts, skirts, jeans, sweaters, floral polyester dresses, vintage tees and men's button ups are the usually consistent staple items around here. But sometimes when they get really good merchandise that doesn't come by too often. For instance when I went shopping yesterday, they had received new merchandise of winter gear which included Fur coats (both real and faux!), leather jackets, trench coats (many London Fog labeled), puffer vests, leather trenches, blazers, sports jackets and so much more! I instinctively rand over to the fur coats. I've been longing for a fur coat because I'm in trying to merge into my "glamour" style recently. I know fur is quite the controversial topic. I normally wouldn't buy a real fur coat, but the price and quality of my find was just too good to pass up. Plus, I normally make an exception when it comes to fur. In addition, I found an Emporio Armani blazer that was way too small for me. I don't know if it was real or fake, most likely a fake, but still it was fun. TYM gets tons of military, boy scout, navy uniform tops and jackets. Yesterday they had a collection of navy tops that I should have tried on but I got caught up with the coats. Men and women have a large selection of over sized men's flannel shirts as well as vests. Currently, they received a butt load of leather vests perfect for fashion lovers and fetish lovers. As for bottoms go, there are a lot of jeans, mostly Levi's, housed in the back of the store. Most of the time they're men's jeans, but sometimes you do come across a lovely pair of vintage high waisted jeans!! Dresses are often times a hit or miss. Most of the time I find their dresses to be dowdy looking and uncomfortable polyester elastic types, but if you can make it work, they have tons! One time I tried on this sequined gold dress, I mean covered in sequins. It looked really mod and so "sienna miller in her gold sequined dress". I didn't buy it. I should have, but I didn't.

In addition to the clothing, they have purses, belts, jewelry, socks, funky sunglasses, jellies, umbrellas, scarves and so much more. Not only is the stuff wacky-tastic, the store decoration is a hipsters dream with magazine and newspaper cut outs taped everywhere, weird quotes, underground band stickers, disco balls, a chandelier.

Merchandise Selection: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Atmosphere: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cheap Factor: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

People There/Customer Service: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Cool factor: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In conclusion, TYM gets a perfect FIVE STARS in Lala's books for cheap, fun, quality clothing.

You all should definitely go there, if you ever get the chance to come to LA. And as a motivator, I have posted my three coats I bought last night.


I saw all these leather jackets and I really wanted a leather bomber jacket recently and suddenly I found this face staring at me:

It turned out to be the inside lining of the jacket. I knew I had to have it then and there. Then I flipped it around :
Yes. It was mine. It's a little big and smells of old leather, but that's what makes it great.


When I first saw the fur coat selection, I had to skim past a lot of cheap fur coats in black and brown until this weird animal pattern stood out and called my name. I call it a mix between a giraffe-cheetah-tiger and whatever other animal print you can call it. I love it.

When I touched this coat, I knew it was real. It's so soft. And yes I do feel guilty that I bought it because it was once a living breathing animal, but I just couldn't resist. This coat used to belong to a lady named Lauren Chasteen since it has here name embroidered inside. Can I change that to LalaLiu?

Go shopping guys. The economy might be heading into a "recession"! Let's stimulate it.

That was pure nerd talk right there.


Life's a Wardrobe said...

Great finds! "Go shopping guys. The economy might be heading into a recession! Let's stimulate it" - that made me laugh AND persuaded me to go shopping =)

Cee-Cee said...

i sooo need a leather jacket !!

by the way i would love it if you cam and joined my fashion forum at

Isabel said...

Wow, Thank-You Mart sounds like a hell of a time. It really really really makes me want to visit LA. Like, super badly.

PS: I don't think the States is heading for a recession. And if they were, it could be easily be solved by not spending so much fucking money on war.

Wendy said...

I want to go but alas, I don't live any where close! You made Thank You Mart sound like heaven.

WendyB said...

Great finds!

Soul Tanggg said...

i wish i lived by a 'Thank You Mart'

fashionhayleytokyo said...

WOW...Thank You Mart is my fave shop too...only the one I have been to is in Tokyo. And yes everything is 390Yen there (about the same as $4us) There are 4 of them in 1 street in Harajuku Tokyo (Takeshitta Dori, Harajuku's main shopping street) and I saw the shop in Osaka as well. Crazy that its in the USA...I wonder which came first the Japan one or the American one?

Candice said...

I freakin am in love with your blog.

The Clothes Horse said...

That bomber jacket is amazing! I adore TYM, I didn't know they had any in the States. I visited so many different ones in Japan, you can find many excellent vintage dresses there if you dig.

Kseniya said...

that looks like a great shop! shame i dont live in LA. i love the bomber jacket:)

fashion grenades said...

i love your blog too! and i want that leather bomber jacket. i wish i still had an excuse to visit soCal! what school do you go to, and are you in fashion design?

Charming Heart said...

I wish I could go to Thank-You Mart, but I live nowhere near L.A.

AsianCajuns said...

Great post! Trust me, if it more people were like us fashion bloggers, the economy would be doing just fine.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Mart sounds awesome. If I end up going out to California over spring break, I'm definitely going to check it out. :]

Bojana said...

Wow, that fur coat is gorgeous!!

Miss Woo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Woo said...

I don't think it is emotionally possible for me adore your leopard print coat anymore!

fashionfix said...

That is my kind of place and I'm moving to san Diego! Sweet! Thanks for letting me know about this place

la petite fashionista said...

oo la la. sounds like my kind of store! i'm all about bargains & i used to volunteer at the local thrift store at home, largely motivated by the "employee discount"

stina said...

u have too much time on ur hands...


guess what jeje!
i got straight A's!!

stina said...

u have too much time on ur hands...


guess what jeje!
i got straight A's!!

lalaliu said...

fashion grenades - nope, i'm not a fashion student
:(, I'm actually a business economics student. It's fun in it's own way, but definitely not what I have in plan after undergraduate school. I'm thinking of being a fashion student in umm lets see.. three more years? lol

mei mei - nerd.

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