My local Army/Navy Surplus store, California Surplus Mart on the corner of Vine and Santa Monica in Los Angeles, is one of my all-time favorite places to shop. It all sort of started a few years ago with my friend Heather, whose friend Billy discovered how chic a $40 nylon helmet bag could be. This set off something of a micro fashion craze among friends. I bought a few of them and get asked about them all of the time—usually by sales associates in department stores or people in retail that can't put their finger on what label is inside my bag. There is no label.
If you're not in Los Angeles or your local surplus store doesn't carry helmet bags, you can get them online here for $21. They're great carry-on bags, laptop cases, work bags, you name it. But beyond their now-legendary supply of helmet bags, the California Surplus Mart always has something super rad.
Like these pants, which I did not take home with me. But I did grab a few chowdah mugs, some neon pink twine, a bandana, a camera bag (not pictured) and some rope for tying down the trunk of my car at flea markets—all for not a lot of lettuce.