Cheryl Shops...Hayes Valley, San Francisco

My wedding is just about a month away, and let me say I'm milking this bride stuff for all it's worth. Frequent massages? Check. Bi-weekly facials? Check. A new mini-wardrobe of white dresses? Check. Another fun thing about being a bride is that your friends want to celebrate with you, so when my San Francisco girlfriends offered to host a satellite bachelorette-slash-stress-relief weekend, I jumped at the chance. (Side note for interested parties: Getting me out to SF, one of my favorite cities in the world, requires only light arm-twisting.) My weekend included, among other things, an amazing brunch on the patio at Foreign Cinema, a trip to the DeYoung Museum for the must-see the Balenciaga exhibit (which I missed when it was in NYC a few months back), and a very entertaining evening at AsiaSF. And because nothing relieves my stress like spending money, my friend JC accompanied me on a rather successful shopping trip through Hayes Valley, a chic little neighborhood just west of the civic center that came highly recommended by my dear friend (and epic shopper) NN.

Probably one of the best-known (and largest) stores in the neighborhood is Azalea, which has expanded in the three years since I've last been there, and now includes a nail salon. For the ladies, there are drapey, neutral Vince separates, Acne Jeans, Fluxus tees, and lots of very reasonable pieces--I got a Rick Owens-esque maxi dress and a top from Something Else by Natalie Wood, both of which were well under $100. For the guys, there's Cheap Monday, Won Hundred, and more Vince, but I should note, the owners opened a men-only spinoff store around the corner, called Welcome Stranger, which stocks an even nattier roster of designers like Billy Reid and SF's only Topman selection.

Another store that I remembered visiting before was Gimme Shoes, which has also branched out into two locations; the newer with Fiorentini + Baker, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Dries van Noten, and the original stocking slightly more attainable brands like Cynthia Vincent and Tsubo. It's here that I fell in love with this pair of Chie Mihara sandals; luckily for my wedding-saddled bank account, they were out of my size. 

Another multi-branch store in the neighborhood is Ver Unica, a high-end but still reasonable vintage shop. I absolutely love shopping for vintage on the West Coast, because its supply-and-demand dynamics seem so much more balanced than in NYC, where it's often a challenge to find a decent vintage dress for less than $100. Ver Unica is definitely more of a refined experience, but everything is in excellent condition, and its buyers have a great eye.


With its selection of Made Her Think jewelry, Vena Cava dresses, and Le Labo candles, Acrimony could easily pass for an uber-trendy Lower East Side boutique, but its superfriendly salesperson kept things firmly on the West Coast, thankfully. JC and I both fell in love with this well-designed Michelle Vale tote; as it turns out, all of her bags are handmade in New York, proving that you can take the girl out of the city...

Like all the stores I've mentioned thus far, Nida carries clothes for both men and women, a practice that I found pretty refreshing--why not do a little flirting while you shop? For the ladies, Nida has a drool-worthy selection of French labels like Vanessa Bruno, Paul & Joe, and Isabel Marant, plus a huge Opening Ceremony section; for the guys, Mason's, Steven Alan, and Save Khaki. And, yes, even though Save Khaki has three NYC stores, I got a shirt for MW, because I'm a good wife-to-be, and because, as I noted before, shopping is great stress relief!

JC & I spent a ton of time in Plantation, not only because the Hollywood Regency-esque store is decorated like my dream house, but because the salesgirls were so lovely. After spotting candlesticks similar to some I had registered for, JC noted how random my wedding registry was, and I said it's because MW and I, having lived together for five years already, don't need much for our (very small) apartment. Instead of persuading me to set up a registry at the store (which, considering how chic most of their merchandise was, I totally would have done), the salesgirl convinced me to start a honeymoon registry, which, as I noted on Twitter, has been one of the most fun wedding-related activities I've done so far. (Other than taking a last-minute trip to San Francisco, of course!) That said, the store had a bunch of great candles, boxes, and other knickknacks, all of which would make excellent gifts, for the record.

There was also a street fair happening while we were shopping; it reminded me quite a bit of the Brooklyn Flea, with a mixture of vintage dresses, hip silk-screened tees, and handmade jewelry. My favorite booth was that of The Utilitarian Franchise, which also, as it turns out, has a store on Etsy. Which is a good thing, because with all I bought, there was no way I could fit this giant octopus pillow in my suitcase.

Finally, with still a few hours to kill before my red-eye back to NYC, we wandered over to the Fillmore neighborhood, but being a Sunday evening, unfortunately, most of the stores had closed already. So I will have to wait until my next San Francisco trip to cover that neighborhood; who wants to (gently) twist my arm?

5 comments

Wholesale clothes said...

love the yellow sandals. so cute :)

Alison said...

I really liked Hayes Valley last time I was in SF, too. It took me a while to find it (you were smart to have a local expert!), but worth the trek.

Also, who do I have to kill for those Chie Mihara sandals? WANT.

Jen said...

ah, i have been thinking about that bag over and over again. and by the way, I'll twist your arm whenever you want :)

Cheryl said...

I am still thinking about those Chie Mihara sandals--I might have to track them down elsewhere.

Jen, I am still thinking about the bag too! And, CM in SF 3.0 is in the works (this time with MW bonus). I'll hopefully have more details in a few weeks...

susan said...

this shoe isn't quite as good but it's very similar, and less than half the price!