The best personal styling deal in town may very well be a private shopping appointment with Retrofit Republic, whose founders Julia Rhee and Jenny Ton welcome guys and gals into their Haight showroom-slash-living space to shop from their collection of vintage and secondhand apparel and accessories and dole out spot-on style advice at the same time.
The result is a shopping adventure tailor made for those who love eclectic looks that mix contemporary, thrifty and vintage pieces. The experience starts when shoppers make an appointment by filling out a quick, but detailed online form noting preferred shopping times, size information and items or types of clothing and accessories of particular interest. If you’re super hungry for, say, hard-sided vintage clutches and pleated, tapered-leg pants, lay out your wishes in advance, and the duo will do their best to pull objects of your desire before your arrival.
Once the appointment is set, you’ll receive the address of a street-level apartment in the Lower Haight, where Ton and Rhee beckon guests into a main room lined with racks of men’s and women’s clothing. Shoes are arranged on central displays and neatly on the floor, while vintage accessories appear throughout. A table set with tea party-worthy vintage dishware and items for the home creates a centerpiece for the small, but well-stocked showroom. Virtually everything you see, save a few of Ton and Rhee’s personal belongings, is on sale.
Rhee and Ton will already have pulled a variety of items in your size and laid them out carefully in a room with a full-length mirror. Shoppers can do their own tour of the racks to pull any additional items that catch their eye. During try-on sessions, Rhee and Ton are as helpful as you want them to be. Want to fly through your items in private? No problem. But should you crave style input as much as we did, they’re ready with ample advice, armed with belts for quickly cinching waists, quickly stopping to roll pants and sleeves and there in a flash with shoe options, bags and jewelry to complement a look. They’re especially talented at helping shoppers get the layered look right and have a keen eye for color and fit. On our visit, it was hard to decide afterwards which we loved more: a bevy of new items without spending a ton or the tips and tricks for putting the pieces together in ways we wouldn’t have thought of ourselves.
Prices vary according to each piece, but on our recent visit, most items fell into the $20 to $40 range, which shoes hovering around $30. Apparel on offer included both vintage and secondhand pieces from major labels such as J.Crew, H&M and others, while the accessories included a delightful mix of brightly-hued costume jewelry.