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VALLEY WEEKEND | BARGAINS

Customers Get Best of Both Stores With Merger

New owner of Jean's Stars' Apparel has moved the inventory to her other shop, Past Perfect. Expect a larger selection and big savings.

May 23, 1996|GERI COOK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Anyone who reads this column on a regular basis knows that I am a big fan of estate sales, auctions and resale stores. And we have some of the best resale stores in the world right in Los Angeles, attracting shoppers from all over. Now we are seeing bigger shops with more merchandise.

A few days ago, after 38 years in business in the San Fernando Valley, Jean's Stars' Apparel--the first resale store in Los Angeles--was purchased by a longtime customer, Ingrid Burgess. Jean's was opened in 1958 by Jean Harding, who is 89 years old and only stopped working in the store last year.

Burgess had also recently bought Past Perfect, another Valley resale business, and has merged the two stores, moving all of the inventory of Jean's to the Past Perfect store.

Now that she owns both, Burgess said she has an enormous sense of appreciation for the expertise of the previous owners--Janet Snyder, Harding's daughter, and Hope Thornhill from Past Perfect, who are acting as consultants.

With the merger, Burgess offers the best of both stores: Harding's longtime client list and reputation combined with Past Perfect's dressing rooms, additional floor space and convenient, safe parking.

*

But it's the vast amount of terrific merchandise that dazzles, along with affordable prices. On top designer labels, figure you'll pay about one-third of retail. A two-piece Chanel (still the most sought-after name) suit that originally was $3,500 is $995.99.

But many tags reflect prices that are a fraction of the original retail. From St. John knits is a pink and cream dress that sold for $900 and now is $119, or there's an Anne Klein II navy gabardine suit for $98 that was $375.

On the sale racks it's even better. An absolute steal is a silk spaghetti-strap handkerchief-layered dress, perfect for dancing or cruising for $25; new it was $225. A Valentino linen dress for $47.50? Hard to believe considering it was $600. A celebration sale is planned for May 30, 31 and June 1 but, as you can see, every day is sale day here.

With customers making use of faxes and computers, Past Perfect frequently fills requests from all over the country. One woman from Portland faxed a list with her favorite designers, a preference for heart-shaped necklines and shades of beige and taupe. The store will fax her a photo when something comes in that matches her requests.

An airline flight attendant who regularly flies into Burbank Airport and has used her three-hour layover to shop at Jean's will be able to check the Web for the latest arrivals. And she'll have a slightly shorter trip to Past Perfect.

* Past Perfect, 12616 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; until 9 p.m. Thursday. Major credit cards. (818) 760-8872.

Weekend Super Sale: Tres Jolie, a manufacturer of quality apparel, is trying to recoup from a huge mistake made by one of its sales staff. The store has hundreds of overruns of dresses and suits from its spring and summer lines that retail for $169 to $380 and are being sold for $29 and $39. Sizes run from extra small to extra large, X, XX and XXX.

* Tres Jolie, 719 S. Los Angeles St., Suite 928, Los Angeles. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. No credit cards.

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