THE BLOG
01/23/2012 03:39 pm ET Updated Mar 24, 2012

Los Angeles Shopping: Affordable Luxury At Sequels Boutique

Pictured: Inside the racks of designer deals at Sequels Beverly Hills (Photo Courtesy of Billie Jackson)
A short distance from the high-priced shops on Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard sits a little treasure of a shop: Sequels Boutique. If you live in Southern California, you'll find Sequels Boutique at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Charleville Boulevard, across the street from the Peninsula Hotel.  If you're outside of Southern California, you can check out Sequels online and on 1stDibs.com.

Owner Billie Jackson has an incredible collection of consignment designer goods and vintage finds.  Some people call consignment goods "pre-owned" but in the case of Sequels, I would call the goods "pre-loved." Most of the items (excepting a few stray pairs of shoes) have been gently worn and are in excellent condition.  Some of the gowns in the store last seen on the Hollywood Red Carpet, and perhaps were worn only once before their owner (or her assistant/stylist) passed them on for resale at Sequels.  If you're a lover of quality designer goods, some of them vintage, made before luxury brands were outsourced to China, then you should check out this store.

Pictured: A Vintage Travilla dress similar to one made by the designer for Marilyn Monroe.  (Photo courtesy of Billie Jackson)

Designers you'll find in stock at Sequels include Mr. Blackwell, Jean Patou, Gucci, Versace, Dior, Chanel, Missoni, Pucci, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent and (William) Travilla.  Some of these designers, like Travilla, are no longer in business, so the only place you can find them is a store like Sequels. Of William Travilla, Marilyn Monroe said, "Billy Dear, please dress me forever. I love you, Marilyn."  Looking at the gold lame goddess dress he designed on sale at Sequels, I can totally understand her feelings.

Pictured: My new Chanel bag, purchased at Sequels after an epic quest (Photo Courtesy of M. Hall)
I stopped into Sequels to shop before the holidays to try to find a Chanel bag without paying thousands. I wasn't sure I would be able to find the item I had been lusting after for years: a navy Chanel handbag with the double CCs on the front.  Chanel handbags are obscenely expensive. They range in the thousands of dollars. Even more outrageous, prices for Chanel bags are about to go up in 2012.  

It is estimated that Chanel bags will increase between 12 percent to 20 percent. With prices in the thousands, than can mean that a purchaser in 2012 will pay say, $500.00 or more over the 2011 prices for some of the bags.  The Chanel boutique at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills was packed before Christmas, full of upscale shoppers, presumably not on a budget shopping plan, buying their Chanel at the 2011 prices.  That's budget shopping Beverly Hills style :).

To my delight,  I found my Chanel bag for about $1,500 (a savings of over $ 2,000) at Sequels. The bag has all the trademarks of genuine Chanel.  This was still a huge splurge, but with Chanel as with most of the designers on sale at Sequels, the value of the item will hold, and I can even resell it later if I want. If you're looking for some unique dress, vintage pieces or a special gift, do check out Sequels in store or online.  If you visit the store, you'll get hands-on attention and help from owner Billie Jackson.

 You'll find the same luxury brands on sale over on Rodeo for far less. For affordable luxury gifts check out the Burberry scarves, Juicy Couture bags, jewelry, sunglasses and some of the sweaters. There are two Hermes bags in the store right now, no wait list required, but they are not in the budget category, although they are considerably less than Hermes retail prices. With new items being dropped of regularly by a loyal set of sellers, you never know what you might finds at Sequels. And that is precisely what makes it such an adventure in shopping.