May 26, 2015

Snap Judgment: 1930′s Little Black Dress

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: a flirty, yet-still-classic way to dress up in a festive frock for the New Year comes in the form of the 1930′s Vintage Black Dress, $165, which boasts a velvet collar, silk crepe bodice and tulle skirt and is available at San Francisco-based boutique BellJar.

More snap judgments

Photography courtesy of BellJar

A Very Indie Christmas

As almost everyone who knows me is well aware, I try to shop from small, independent labels and companies whenever possible. So you can imagine, Christmas was no exception. In fact, it was a very indie Christmas in my world.

Under the tree for me this year:

Ciara Convertible Clutch by Melie Bianco, available at Fancy French Cologne. I love this bag because it can be worn in multiple ways and is made of vegan faux "leather."

Deluxe Sample Collection by Ineke. I love Ineke perfume, but I like to use different scents all the time, so this sampler was perfect for me - a great way to have all of this local perfumer's scents on hand instead of committing to just one. At the moment, I think Derring-Do is my favorite for daytime.

Downtown Dress, Maison by House of Spy. This dress was available at Heritage Row in San Francisco this fall. Not sure if it is still in stock, but I love how easy-to-wear it is. Goes with everything, very comfortable, but stylish - and a bonus for me - something even a breastfeeding mom can wear (yes, that dictates so many of my fashion choices these days - gotta have easy access).

Hero Utility Belt by Onanya. Another baby-friendly find. I was having trouble carrying any kind of handbag when I have my son in the Baby Bjorn. This solves the problem. I can carry my phone, wallet, keys, etc. and have him strapped on all at the same time.

A few of the gifts I gave this year:

Personalized Snowflake Ornament by Cheeky Frills. For my godson's 2nd Christmas.

Houndstooth Hoodie by Mvand. For my brother-in-law, who is in constant need of "labeless, trendy, skater sweatshirts." This fit the bill and was made-to-order in Portland. It's also super lightweight - great for the warm Marin weather.

Grandmothers Charm Necklace by Thoughtfully Adorned. For my mother-in-law, who has a charm bracelet and requested a special charm to commemorate my son's birth. The designer made two charms for me, one with his name and birthdate and another with baby shoes in a heart.

Karate Casual Pants by Beta Brand. Very lightweight chill-out pants, another purchase for my bro-in-law.

And now onto the year-end-sales (my husband and I often don’t buy anything for each other before Christmas because, when it comes to clothes and accessories, you’ll often find them MUCH cheaper just two days after Christmas. It’s like a knife in the chest to see something half-priced 48 hours later. So we buy for everyone else before the big day and then shop for each other afterward).

Snap Judgment: Vintage Chain Fringe Necklace

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: sure to be the cure for a boring top, the long-on-style Vintage Chain Fringe Necklace, $65, from San Francisco-based Blue Bird by Lucie.

More snap judgments

Photography courtesy Blue Bird by Lucie

San Francisco Men’s Denim: The Raw Deal On Premium Jeans

Tellason Denim

It should come as no wonder that denim is in San Francisco’s blood -  after all, the town gave birth to a little company called Levi’s back in 1853. But now more than ever, San Francisco is becoming a hub for small, independent denim labels that rival the freshest denim sources anywhere in the world.

In recent years, the popularity of locally-grown denim has become greater than ever, particularly for men’s dry and selvage varieties. In that spirit, we’ve sought out the latest and greatest denim from local sources to help you suss out a supreme pair of jeans that will make a serious style statement. You might say San Francisco has you (and your legs) well-covered.

Check out these local labels and stores, many of which have a great selection for guys:

  • Tellason, one of the latest pet brands championed by San Francisco’s Durable Goods Concern — the same guys that brought us The Common in SoMa — these babies are designed with substance and durability over style in mind and crafted with artisan authenticity using fabric sourced from North Carolina. In short, these jeans are built to last.

Tellason Denim

Tellason Denim

  • To get your hands on denim from a local label while surrounded by cult brands from around the globe, venture up to North Beach and duck into A-B Fits.  In addition to its eponymous line, you’ll find a wide assortment of handpicked labels, including Dope & Drakkar. Look for Howard if you can catch him in the store — he knows his denim, and is just plain friendly.

A-B Fits

A-B Fits

A-B Fits

  • Gustin Quality Garments sums up its personal style in three words: understated, honest, and timeless. The raw selvage jeans promise a modern straight fit, made entirely in San Francisco. Mark your calendars for the spring, when San Francisco designer Josh Gustin’s first denim collection hits stores (including San Francisco’s A-B Fits).

Gustin Quality Garments

  • Oakland-based oneculture brings a lot of love to dry denim. With a mission to unite denim lovers around the world, the company might just be the place to find your next favorite pair.


  • Academy of Art graduate Noah Landis created Kent Denim in 2008, putting his stamp on the premium denim market with forward-thinking, minimal style that would tell a story as these jeans endure the test of time. For more on Kent Denim, check out our previous coverage.

Kent Denim

Kent Denim

  • Also check out the raw denim Sons of Britches pant from Betabrand, the new and improved branding from the people that brought us those whimsical Cordarounds. Only sold online, these jeans are a sensibly priced option for denim from a local source.

…and hit these stores to find most of the above, plus more:

  • The Blues Jean Bar on Union Street is your denim store with soul.  Instead of a drink, ask the bartender for your flavor of jean, and they’ll serve you a brand to fit.  Find local brands Kent and oneculture here, along with other up and coming labels Crate, Naem and Castle.

The Blues Jean Bar

The Blues Jean Bar

  • Self Edge Denim in Mission’s Valencia corridor may be your definitive source in San Francisco for raw selvage denim.  Perhaps more raw denim than you might know what to do with, but it’s safe to say these people firmly comprehend denim. Among its 17 available lines are all handmade jeans by Roy and recycled denim by Sugar Cane. You’ll also find 10 special collaboration designs from Self Edge and its various labels, like the Flathead RingRing, pictured here.



Sugar Cane & Co. X Selfedge


  • Owner Todd Barket delivers a definitive collection of vintage Levi’s at Unionmade Goods. One example: the 1947 501 Lonestar’s below. For a rare treat, check out the special Levi’s selvage deadstock jeans. Tellason is also carried here, among some of the most rugged spirited jeans that embrace American heritage.

Levi's 1947 501 Lonestars

  • Revolver in the Lower Haight offers a special selection of hard-to-find newcomers to the denim scene. Get into a pair of Railcar jeans here – designer Steven Dang actually created his L.A.-based line after repairing railcars for a living, believe it or not. Other exclusives here include Denham the Jeanmaker–think well-tailored with a vintage attitude–and Them Atelier, a stylish affordable line that will please your wallet.


  • Get an intimate experience at Jack’s on Chestnut, tucked on the Marina’s main drag, where you can nab a pair of Simon Miller’s, Hudson’s, or J Brand. Roll over downtown to Post Street  for some discounts at their equally intimate sister location.

    Jack's on Chestnut

  • For the latest from big designer players like Naked & Famous, Nudie, or Acne, head over to Azalea in Hayes Valley or visit Villains Vault in the Upper Haight. At Azalea, check out the Nudie nook in the back, and if you’re looking for G-Star, Villains is your spot.

Azalea SF

G-Star at Villains Vault

  • For the male perspective, less than a block up Gough, Azalea recently opened spin off store Welcome Stranger, which describes itself as “a new men’s store with an old soul.”  Look for a sophisticated extension of men’s labels here like Spurr and Rag & Bone.

Welcome Stranger

Photos of Azalea and Welcome Stranger courtesy of Kizza Chadiha. All other photos courtesy of each designer or store.

The Do List: San Francisco End-of-Year Sales

A sampling of the items on sale at Cow Hollow boutique Conifer

With one week left in 2010, the SF Indie Fashion Calendar is unusually quiet  as local designers, retailers and fashion fans are rollicking through the end of the holiday season. While organized events are scarce this week, end-of-year sales are popping up all over the place. If deals are on your personal do list, here are a few shops to hit up:

  • The Heidi Says end-of-year sale means up to 50 percent off merch in all three stores.
  • A sale at Acrimony brings labels such as Hyden Yoo and Minimarket at up to 60 percent off both online and in-store.
  • If you’re in love with shoes, the end-of-year sale from Gimme Shoes offer a chance to pluck up pairs from names such as Repetto, 3.1 Philip Lim and Chie Mihara for up to 40 percent off. What’s more, shipping is free on orders over $200.
  • Conifer is offering up to 50 percent off during its winter sale.
  • Cary Lane is marking everything down 30 percent through Monday.
  • Berkeley’s Convert is having a winter sale that includes markdowns of 30 to 50 percent on much of the store.
  • Bryna Nicole is offering sitewide discounts as part of the handbag label’s year-end sale.
  • Elizabeth Charles has significant markdowns on labels such as Preen, Smythe, Wayne and Behnaz Sarafpour.
  • You’ll save 20 percent off the entire fall collection (apparel, accessories and vintage) at Anica right now.
  • Bay Area-based online retailer Bobbepin is offering 40 percent off with the discount code “holiday” during a sale that runs Thursday through Sunday at midnight.

Looking for more? We’ll be updating this list as we discover new sales, so keep checking back. You can find details on upcoming San Francisco fashion events and more on the SF Indie Fashion Calendar.

Photography courtesy of Conifer