Just off Haight Street, vintage boutique Dina Louise has been a neighborhood gem for nearly a year and a half. The shop stands out for not feeling like your typical vintage-slash-thrift situation, but rather an upscale boutique with uncharacteristically reasonable prices.
In the front shop window, handbags from different eras and of varying designs are nestled on an old-timey service cart, while a potted plant and retro kitchenware to add to the homey and welcoming feel. A mannequin dressed in a vibrant rayon knit dress in hues of purple, magenta, black and green sports a bauble-laden gold chain and beckons onlookers to come in for a peek.
When you do, you’ll meet owner Dina Laquaglia, whose wealth of style knowledge is vast and insightful. Not surprisingly, she tells us she was “too young to remember” when her love for retro glamor began. A glance around the store shows that her ardor for old school style is ever-enduring: vintage furniture brimming with fuzzy sweaters and well-edited racks of blouses, dresses, and outerwear from labels such as Yves Saint Laurent, Joseph Magnin, Lanvin, Louis Feraud and Jaeger adorn the small shop’s interiors.
We got a chance to chat with Dina in her shop about vintage style, her boutique and why retro-shopping is oh-so-smart:
What do you look for when picking new pieces?
I look for pieces that are classic and well-made, good tailoring. I look for something that’s just really fun, unique, something that you would not see if you were to walk into a regular store.
What is currently inspiring to you?
Pieces from the 1980s. I’m really into color right now.
Why do you love vintage?
The quality. For people who can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on well-made clothes, vintage is a great way to go. Things were just made better back then. Nobody makes clothes like this anymore. I mean, they do, but it’s mostly couture and out of most people’s budgets.
How has Divisadero Street been treating you?
Sales-wise, my best month so far was last month, so things are starting to take off.
What does it take to wear vintage?
You have to be creative, and you have to be willing to take risks. My customers are comfortable with themselves and their style.
Photography courtesy of Alexandra Naughton
More San Francisco vintage…