May 25, 2015

Heading South? Five Favorite Vintage Shops in San Diego

The recent weather reminds us that summer is gaining ground. After all, for San Francisco residents, summer means real winter is just around the corner (insert faux Mark Twain quote here). And when the cold hits, we know many locals won’t resist the urge to flee south as I did on a recent SoCal adventure, so I’ve compiled a guide to the five best vintage shops to hit while having a fine time in “America’s Finest City.”

 1. Flashbacks

The colorful and impeccably organized collection of vintage finds inside Flashbacks.

Store manager and buyer Amy Henderson sifts through a fresh pile of clothing.

This 1940s-inspired display inside Flashbacks is on point with current Hawaiian print and leather satchel trends.

Looking for a trendy bomber jacket or an accordion skirt? Flashbacks curates its buy-sell-trade collection by decade and is likely to have what you are searching for. “We incorporate new and mostly old pieces and carry styles from the 1940s-1990s,” explains Manager Amy Henderson.

What sets Flashbacks apart from other vintage shops?

“Our store is friendly, small and has a neighborhood feel to it. I think people come in because they enjoy the hunt for that special item and it makes it more satisfying when they can come in here and find it. We definitely choose clothing for its style rather than price and designer,” she says.

(Flashbacks has two locations, 628 S Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas, CA 92024 & in Hillcrest 3847 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103)

2. Home: A Mercantile Company

Outside the original Home in NYC. Photo courtesy of Home.

Opened with creativity and music as its influence, Home will give you a taste of the history and nostalgia for which it is named. Re-established in 2002 by three nephews of Richard Ross, who opened the original store in 1970 in New York City, the store was once a favorite hangout to some of music’s most notable performers, including John Lennon, Ritchie Havens and Alice Cooper, just to name a few.

Home, thanks to Ross’s nephews, is once again a great source for vintage clothing and artifacts, as well as a great selection of vintage concert T-shirts. Don’t miss the mural of Richard at the center of the store.

(Home has two locations, 629 S Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas, CA 92024 & 3013 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104)

3. Frock You Vintage

Frock You Vintage, located just outside of downtown San Diego.

In the middle of Frock You Two's huge collection of affordable goods. Photo courtesy of Frock You Vintage.

Frock You Vintage opened its doors in 2002 and has since been a local stomping ground for those seeking unique and one-of-a-kind pieces. Frock You displays a wide range of vintage men and women’s clothing, accessories AND great selection of vintage shoes.

One a vacation budget? Check out the sister store, Frock You Too, conveniently located next door. No item is priced higher than $20. The location stocks clothing and purses, shoes, jewelry and a lot more.

(Frock You Vintage, 4121 Park Boulevard  San Diego, CA 92103)

4. Hunt & Gather

A drool-worthy display of locally made jewelry at Hunt & Gather.

An employee poses with store owner and stylist, Zoe Crenshaw.

Featured vinyls inside Hunt & Gather.

Hunt & Gather stocks a fantastic selection of vintage, re-designed clothing, locally made jewelry housewares AND vinyl. It was established in 2009 by Zoe Crenshaw & Lee Reynolds, fashion veterans, who were designers prior to opening the store in San Diego’s cool-kid neighborhood, North Park (think of it as San Diego’s equivalent to the Mission District).

What attracts people to Hunt & Gather?

“Most people, when they come in, don’t even realize it’s a vintage store. Our collection of goods looks modern and we are different in that we are not era specific,” the folks at Hunt & Gather tell us.

(Hunt & Gather, 2871 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92014)

5. Bedouin Vintage Collective

A shot of Bedouin Vintage Collective's artistic insides. Photo courtesy of Bedouin Vintage Collective.

The Bedouin Collective storefront. Photo courtesy of Bedouin Vintage Collective.

Bedouin Vintage is not just about clothing. The store hosts a variety of locally-designed jewelry, crafts and local vinyl. Members contribute whatever items may be in their field of talent, making the vintage store “a literal group effort” and a unique spot to discover just outside of downtown. [Editor's note: According to our sources, this store is now closed.]

(Bedouin Vintage Collective, 2621 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104)

Photography by Sara Iravani, unless otherwise noted

More vintage fashion


We Came, We Saw, We Shopped: All Vintage Everything ft. Fancy Fine & Mousevox

All Vintage Everything drew vintage shoppers to the Mission.

New Generation Vintage had a full collections of bags, shoes, jewelry, clothing on sale for the evening.

Myra Joloya & Lirany Vasquez, the lovely ladies behind DNA (designers+artists) Pop-up shop.

At the recent All Vintage Everything pop-up shop from DNA (designers+artists), shopping and vintage fans turned up at the Sub-Mission Gallery for the clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry from a roster of vendor hosted by local favorites Fancy Fine and Mousevox Vintage.

The Sub-Mission Gallery’s discreet, unsuspecting location was the perfect setting for the pop-up of 10 different Bay Area vendors selling a treasure trove of items.

I bee-lined past the bar in front for the racks and, while perusing one stocked with designer labels and then venturing to other vendor tables, I found a huge assortment of affordable, hand-picked thrifted sundresses, blouses, silk trousers and more.

The sweet selection of goods is no accident.

DNA founders, Myra Joloya & Lirany Vasquez explained:

“We love vintage clothing, and we curate each pop-up shop to host vendors that we are familiar with and like. San Francisco is a hub for some of the best vintage. This shop makes it easier for people to afford designer brands and recycle clothing.”

Didn’t make it this time around? The creative collective organizes four, seasonal pop-up shops a year: one for fall, winter, spring and summer. Stay up to date by visiting the DNA facebook page and continue on for more shots from the night:

A shopper with featured bloggers Ashley Ording of Fancy Fine and Rachel Combs of Mousevox

There was no shortage of leather bags and gorgeous hats at this pop-up.

Clothing and accessories varied in price from well-thrifted steals to designer gems such as this black and red Moschino blazer.

Sellers taking a break to chat about their vintage finds.

Keepsakes and jewelry displayed amongst racks of vintage clothing.

Fashion Blogger Isla Murray and Fancy Fine's Ording share a drink and a few laughs in between clothing racks.

More San Francisco shopping

Photography by Sara Iravani

In Pane Sight: Acre/SF

Acre/SF, 301 Union Street.

In the window at Acre/SF: the allure of Blue Bottle Coffee and a cozy sitting space with stylish apparel and accessories at arm’s length is a sight for sore eyes after the near-vertical walk to this North Beach shop’s location. A quick reward comes in the form of an accessories table with Karen Walker sunglasses and Joomi Lim Spike bracelets just through the door.

Well worth the walk, the store beckons with a gorgeous view of the Bay and neatly displayed, contemporary clothing and jewelry by labels such as Cheap Monday, Something Else by Natalie Wood and harder-to-find modern designers splayed out perfectly on wooden racks.

Maybe a bit of a treck for your lunch break? You’ll find a similarly hip aesthetic at Acre/SF’s sister boutique, Acrimony, located at 333 Hayes St in Hayes Valley.

Vintage chairs and racks of magazines welcome you from the window, as does that cute Laugh, Cry, Repeat canvas bag strategically placed in the corner.

Michelle Vale clothing gives a shopping cart unexpected allure.

Photography by Sara Iravani

More San Francisco boutiques

Snap Judgment: Love+Keep Knit Chain Necklaces

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: jewelry to warm up your winter wardrobe comes in the form of Van Kim Le’s knitted chain necklaces. Find a unique statement piece like the gunmetal Keyhole Necklace, $90, online at Love+Keep.

Snap Judgment: Intwined Bowtie

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: guys and girls alike can refurbish a button up sitting idle in the back of the closet with a Marlene Dietrich-inspired plaid bowtie, $27, from San Francisco-based Intwined.

More snap judgments….