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Here’s the Skinny : Shelly’s offers low prices on name-brand workout wear, from leotards and leggings to dancing shoes.

Southern Californians are among the most weight-con scious people in the world, so it follows that there’s a hefty market in Los Angeles for the proper clothes to wear while keeping or getting in shape. Shelly’s Discount Aerobic & Dance Warehouse discounts the big names in dance and aerobic apparel--such names as Marika, Softouch, Flexitard, Dance Rags, and Star Style, Leo’s, Danshuz and Darbo.

One big reason owner Shelly Shai’s prices are so low is that her parents, Eleanor and Joe Seeman, are major distributors for aerobic and dance wear at their wholesale and retail operation, Apparel Warehouse in Tarzana.

If you are just beginning an aerobics or dance class, the basic attire consists of a leotard and leggings. Shelly’s carries a wide variety of both.

A long-sleeve leotard by Act ‘N Up retails for $40, but Shelly’s price is $19.99, and other leotards run from $15.99 to $19.99. Or check out the sale table (there’s always one here), where the leotards are $5.99 each or three for $15. Most are made of cotton Lycra, and a professional dancer friend says to look for those with the highest Lycra content.

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There’s also a lot of money to be saved on leggings. A name-brand pair that retails for $28 elsewhere is $14.99 here. The best bargain in leggings carries the Shelly’s Own label and features three pairs for $35.

We loved the store’s velvet cat suits, the trendy bodysuits that are popular in the gym or out on the street. The usual price on one is around $70, but Shelly’s price is $40. Toss a crop top or a gossamer shirt over it, and you can go just about anywhere.

Shelly’s also carries apparel for the bicycle crowd. Bike shorts and tops are $12.99 each, instead of $19.99, and if you choose Shelly’s Own label, you get three pieces for $30.

For those taking up dancing as a means to a svelte figure, there are plenty of dance shoes from which to choose.

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Jazz footwear by Danshuz are usually $40 retail, but they are tagged at $28.99, and Character shoes (those with a heel either 1 3/4 inches or 2 1/8 inches high) run the same. Another tip from a pro: Get your dance shoes a size smaller than your street shoes because they must fit snugly.

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Shelly’s specializes in costumes and accessories, too, featuring such items as masks, wigs, gloves, boas and tutus for children and adults, along with a good supply of socks, headbands, sequins, trims and appliques, all at discounted prices.

The store caters to the aerobics junkie or the serious dancer and offers discounts to professional production companies with purchase orders.

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At least once a month, there’s a parking lot sale. Sign the mailing list when you visit the store and you will be alerted to the sale.

Geri Cook’s Bargains column runs every Friday in Valley Life! Questions about shopping may be sent to her, in care of Valley Life!, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Letters will not be answered individually, but topics of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Geri Cook can be heard from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturdays on KIEV 870-AM.

WHERE TO SHOP

What: Shelly’s Discount Aerobic & Dance Warehouse.

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Location: 2089 Westwood Blvd., Westwood.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Cards: American Express, MasterCard, Visa.

Call: (310) 475-1400.

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What: Apparel Warehouse.

Location: 6010 Yolanda St., Tarzana.

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Cards: American Express, MasterCard, Visa.

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Call: (818) 344-3224.


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