Beverly Hills for the rest of us

It’s not just a playground for stars. Here’s how to live large on the cheap in 90210

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  • Secondhand luxury handbags at Fashionphile in Beverly Hills.

    Fashionphile consignment handbags

    Gina Sabatella

    Click to Enlarge

More ways to feel the star power: Check out vintage photos of icons like Mick Jagger and Marilyn Monroe at Celebrity Vault (free; 345 N. Canon Dr.; 310/858-7815).

Screen one of the 150,000 historic TV shows and radio or new-media clips at the Paley Center for Media (closed Mon–Tue; free; 465 N. Beverly Dr.; 310/786-1000).

Or wander the gardens at Greystone Mansion (free; 905 Loma Vista Dr.; 310/285-6830), a 1920s estate that’s been the scene of society life, high drama, and real-life murder mysteries.

Ogling luxury handbags for free: Caught up in the glamour and glitz, I ducked into Fashionphile, a handbag consignment shop with shelf after shelf of limited-edition, gently worn luxury bags: Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Hermès.

It turns out that the term “bargain” is relative in Beverly Hills: Even secondhand, many items (except for a $125 lipstick case) still had four-digit price tags, a steal by Rodeo Drive standards. I decided paying my mortgage was probably smarter. Closed Sun, by appointment Sat; 9551 Wilshire Blvd.; 310/279-1136.

Another place to get in on the glam: Browse the racks at Anat B, a trendsetting, affordable (dresses and tops under $40) boutique with a celebrity clientele. 271 S. Beverly; 310/385-7917.

A decadent treat for $3.25: So a vintage Chanel wasn’t going to happen, but there were plenty of smaller indulgences to be had.

I joined the line snaking along Santa Monica Boulevard to nab one of the famous red velvet cupcakes at Sprinkles.

It claims to be the world’s first cupcake bakery and, with flavors like chai latte and ginger lemon, takes credit for the craze. 9635 Santa Monica Blvd.; 888/220-2210.

An afternoon at the spa for $23: My luxe manicure at Thibiant Beverly Hills skin clinic included a trip to the steam room, after which I was swathed in a plush robe while European nail technicians fussed over my fingers.

I curled up with a cappuccino and cookies on a full-body massage chair in the lounge, lulled by the sound of the indoor waterfall. Closed Sun; reservations required; 449 N. Canon; 310/278-7565.

Next: Budget-friendly cocktails and bites

 

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