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Dresses and Bow Ties and Skulls, Oh My!

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Sin Is Pretty in Laguna Beach offers vintage and rare finds with a darker edge.

Sin Is Pretty is located at 1850
S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.  
Find out more on their Facebook page.

Those souls brave enough to venture into Sin Is Pretty in Laguna Beach might be fooled by the racks of colorful vintage clothing adorning most of the available space of this cozy Coast Highway boutique. However, a simple about-face might render those faint of heart shocked or, as owner Denise Levesque hopes, fascinated.

“It’s like a museum,” Levesque says, “these things have a beautiful story.”

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has ventured in. The one-of-a-kind nature of many of Sin Is Pretty’s items make each and every piece a rare find.  

But the store itself is not the only part of Sin Is Pretty with a beautiful story.  Levesque’s past is just as interesting as anything in her shop. As a rebellious teen, her hobbies varied from collecting and selling vintage clothing to scavenging skeletal remains in Laguna Canyon to use as art pieces. But all was not so gleefully ghoulish for young Levesque. After a long battle with substance abuse and a teenage pregnancy, Levesque cleaned up her life and married her now husband of 10 years.  

Now that Levesque is 10 years sober and has a three-and-a-half year old son, she is trying her hand at running an oddities and vintage clothing store.

“I’ve always had a dream of opening a shop,” Levesque says, “[one that was] reminiscent [of] the quirky little fun shops I grew up with.”  

After a rough start at a small location off of Laguna Canyon Road, Levesque’s dream has finally come to fruition with the opening of her current location on Pacific Coast Highway, which shares a spot with Macalistaire at 1850, another one of Laguna’s great vintage clothing stores.

Levesque’s store is home to a wide variety of ghastly gifts, from a faux Victorian taxidermy mystery cat to an antique Odd Fellows coffin to — believe it or not — a 1930s human fallopian tube encased in Lucite, all of which have a unique story Levesque will be glad to tell you about.

“I’m just fascinated with [oddities], so I try to research all the items,” she says.

This extensive research puts Levesque in a unique position in that she becomes both owner and curator of her own “museum.”      

But these oddities aren’t the only reason to pay a visit to Sin Is Pretty. The store also has a huge array of vintage clothing, which is both in great condition and reasonably priced. The items come from a variety of locations — flea markets, online, auctions, scavenging, garage sales, consignment, and by trading with other oddities stores.  

On top of all of this, Levesque has also begun her own line of clothing.  

“I came up with the Sin Is Pretty line,” Levesque says. “It’s kind of a goth or goth pin-up [attire].”  

She also plans to set up a sewing table in her shop in order to make custom garments while customers shop, bringing a whole new dynamic to Sin is Pretty.

Levesque professes that her shop is her way of bringing the darkness into light.  

“I was just a bad, troubled little girl,” Levesque says, “but I got sober and had a goal set [and now] I have my family and my shop.”

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