San Francisco Vintage Shopping
Between high rents and parking tickets, many San Franciscans just can't drop by the Emporium's Bloomingdale's for the newest Missoni knits. Or, maybe it's just the sheer volume and quality of San Francisco vintage outposts that draw shoppers to recycle fashion in the name of fashion. Since San Francisco is a city where having bright blue hair won't turn heads; standing out here is an art. From the H&M mania that has swept over the city, to the cookie cutter look of Abercrombie and Fitch, dressing unique and affordably involves integrating vintage pieces. To discover fresh, colorful, and uniquely designed garments, Polk Street's vintage shops are troves. Located in an affluent neighborhood, Polk Street vintage shopping has a stylish, designer feel.
2056 Polk St., San Francisco CA 94109; Tel. 415.474.1191
Just before Polk Street intersects with Broadway, sits CRIS. In business for over twenty years, under the same individual owner (not surprising named Cris), this vintage spot mixes new and old. CRIS does not have the usual funky old clothing smell; instead the store is clean, luminous and airy. The racks of neatly hung clothing containing Dior, BCBG, Gucci and much more, are organized by color and garment type. One glance into the other room of CRIS uncovers multicolored Valentino wool coats from the 1970s retailing at $450. Not to be overlooked are the Chanel pants circa 1980 in peach nylon for $475. To accessorize these oldie goodies, are Gucci pumps from the late 1980s for $120 or a more recent pair of Manolo Blahnick sandals for $190. CRIS also contains some cheaper items such as BCBG girl's silk tops for $34, and Joe's Jeans for $60. CRIS caters to an older, more mature clientele with a few bucks to burn. However, CRIS is still fun to browse, and trying on a Vintage Chanel dress could make any girl smile.
La Rosa Vintage
1711 Haight St. San Francisco CA 94117; Tel. 415.668.3744
Walk into La Rosa Vintage boutique on Haight Street and even the shopkeepers look like they're from the 40s. Cool music plays and the small space is an inspiration with immaculate pieces from the 20s, 30s and 40s each described in detail on a small tag; even the prices are reasonable considering the like new quality.
1747 Polk St., San Francisco CA 94109; Tel. 415.674.8031
Located on Polk Street between Washington and Clay, Mascara Vintage packs a lot into a space no larger than most bedrooms. Soft, Fruit Loop cereal and TV-themed t-shirts in faded colors cost around $20. Glamorous leopard overcoats with silk lining run for $75 and an impressive selection of cardigans (a San Francisco essential) for $25 apiece in any color imaginable hang neatly on racks. Offbeat paisley neckties cost $10 each. There is even a sale rack with button up chiffon t-shirts printed with bright flowers for $10. For 1980s prom dresses, puffy and in colors like bright pink and purple, Mascara Vintage has a glamorous selection for cheap—$45 each is a fair price for these inimitable frocks. Mascara Vintage is for the vintage lover who likes something a little different at moderate prices.
1660 Haight St., San Francisco CA 94117; Tel. 415.863.3150
A Haight Street icon, Wasteland is as much known for its artsy window displays (picture wanton mannequins being attacked by oversized rodents) as for its expensive vintage AC/DC t-shirts. A large store by Haight standards, Wastelands buys and sells vintage gear with a discerning eye, keeping customers happy from week to week with unique vintage finds, mixed in with some new hipster garb for good measure.
4100 24th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.285.7174
The newest Noe Valley vintage store, a venture of the former owner of Guys and Dolls, Vendima Vintage is a rocking collection of 60s garb and an overall taste for the bygone era of Swing. Vendima mixes in old with new and features an excellent selection of silk pajamas for men, adding this vintage boutiques penchant for luxury.
437b Hayes St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.431.0688
The 80s are vintage?! A block away from 560 Hayes, Ver Unica features local and independent designers alongside a stunning collection of 70s and 80s vintage pieces. A knowledgable staff and a strong collection of vintage bathing suits makes this a modern day vintage store that doesn't cling to the 50s and 60s.