May 23, 2015

Spotted (SF Street Style): Eclectic Blue

Spotted: San Francisco blogger Punam, at the Space Gallery’s City Dolls trunk show, scoring some sweet jewelry at the Polk Street sale while donning a cream turtleneck, blue vintage sweater with cutouts and sequin detailing, black motorcycle inspired lace-front boots and chunky statement bracelets for the finishing touch.

How does this local style blogger (who writes at Nothing Broken) describe her personal style?

“Lots of vintage. Sometimes I’m dressed like a drag queen, sometimes I’m dressed like a prep, and other times I’m dressed like MC Hammer,” she tells us.

Her favorite places to shop in the city? A girl after our own hearts, she loves to peruse a combo of Goodwill, trade shows, pop-up shops, clothing-by-the-pound and anywhere that doesn’t have an official cash register.

Photography courtesy of Alexandra Naughton with editing fun by SF Indie Fashion

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Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa

Behind the Shop: Dina Louise

Colorful rayon-silk blend 80's-era dress in the window of Dina Louise (260 Divisadero St., SF)

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:

A sampling of handbags at Dina Louise

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

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Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa

We Came, We Saw, We Shopped: City Dolls

Stepping into Space Gallery for the City Dolls trunk show to do a little holiday shopping was like stepping into an alternate universe, thanks to an art installation by Bunny Reiss and Monica Canilao (en route to the SF MOMA) composed of quilts, lace, branches and collected items ranging from dream catchers to paper cutouts. The overall effect: a gallery with a romantic, bohemian vibe. Oh, and sweet unique finds from local designers and artists.

An amazing art installation by Bunny Reiss and Monica Canilao was a centerpiece of the event.

Gathered at the Polk street space to spread holiday cheer and handcrafted gifts alongside chow provided by Whiskey Commons Street Food and spiked hot ciders were a number of California artists and designers, including Siri Hanson Jewelry, The Loin, Christine Mayrina Jewelry, K.M. Knits, Olivous Retro Jewelry, Stolen Sunday, Paulina Carcach Handbags, Black Pyramid Vintage, Anisa Esmail Jewelry, Phoenix the Fox, Amour Vert and Dear Mina Jewelry.

During our chat at the trunk show, City Dolls founder Kirsten Incorvaia told me she wanted to, “create a place for people to shop that wasn’t about the hectic holiday pressure… a fun and friendly environment unlike the impersonal malls” of the world. The event on Saturday night was the second-ever City Dolls trunk show.

Read on for a few of my favorite items at the show:

Christine Mayrina is a jewelry collector who sources her vintage and antique jewelry from a list of places that ranges from the American Southwest to Turkey for a collection with a bold, international vibe.

Statement necklaces, antique cocktail rings and belly-dancer bangles from the Christine Mayrina Jewelry collection.

Dear Mina, a handmade jewelry line by Mina Caragay, is both modern and primitive, hard and soft, solid and fluid. Her pieces are made with crystals, semi-precious stones, rock specimens, metals and textiles, and fun touches like skull beads and arrowheads happily marry the sophisticated with the quirky.

Jewelry by Dear Mina

Shop or design your own purse with a visit to Paulina Carcach, who has has been personally designing unique and handcrafted handbags since 2008. In luxuriously soft leather with thoughtful details, her bags are affordable and well-made. You can design your own bag on her website and get inspiration from bags in her shop and from previous collections.

Gorgeous handcrafted leather bags by Paulina Carcach (photograph courtesy Paulina Carcach)

Inspired by nature, Siri Hanson's whimsical jewelry line.

Siri Hanson Jewelry is a San Francisco local who creates her handmade pieces from such various materials as clay, rolled bits of magazine paper, metal work, and strips of leather reclaimed from a pair of gloves found at an estate sale. In addition to her line of funky jewelry, she also had on display some handmade ceramic Christmas tree ornaments.

Photography by Alexandra Naughton

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Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa

We Came, We Saw, We Shopped: Thread Show

Shoppers came in droves to support San Francisco's independent fashion scene

On a late November Sunday, there was something for just about everyone at Thread Show, whether you fancy rock star jewelry made from guitar picks, saucy lingere with skull face cut-outs or just an afternoon spent amongst designers, down tempo DJs, and fans of local fashion.

Founded in 2003 with ten events per year, Thread aims to be a dynamic, one day retail event bringing the latest and greatest offerings from the local style world’s envelope pushers together under one roof. On the day of its most recent San Francisco event, rainy skies turned sunny just in time for the arrival of the VIPs, who got a chance to scope out the sale before everyone else.

Take a look at some of fun finds we ran across at the show:

Creating art at the Art Kills Artists booth

Funky macabre jewelry at the Bela Koi booth

Happily macabre jewelry at the Bela Koi booth

Men's shirts and outerwear at the Bridge And Burn sample sale

Hand painted flasks, cases and wallets by De La Luna Designs

Hand painted vintage shoes by De La Luna Designs

Tees and artwork by The Ivorys

Fur and leather accessories by The Feathered Leopard

Colorful denim by Future Standard

The SF Giants logo bejeweled on a pair of guitar pick earrings by Rock N The Trend

Elvis and Fender guitar pick earrings from Rock N The Trend

Leather and semi-precious mineral jewelry for pets and humans by Rockhound Pets

Adorably edgy undies and lounge wear by Stephanie Bondar of Honey Cooler Handmade

Mannequin sporting a Stolen Sunday Scoodie (a.k.a. a scarf hoodie)


Photography by Alexandra Naughton

More San Francisco local designers

Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa

Behind the Shop: Gravel Ghost Vintage

1970's draped maxi dress from Gravel Ghost Vintage

Luscious faux furs, fringed bustiers, pastel high waist shorts and pin-up style rompers are just a few of the retro finds you’ll uncover perusing the online offerings of Gravel Ghost Vintage, a collaborative effort between two vintage lovers, Daniel and Kat, whose boredom with same-old-same-old style led to their very-addictive etsy shop filled with everything from 1950s party girl pieces to 1970s arena rock chic items and 1980s gothic glamor must-haves.

We recently had an email chat with Kat, who let us in on how she got started, what motivates her to thrift and her thoughts on the fashion scene in San Francisco.

We love the eclectic collection of vintage pieces in your store. How do you find the pieces, and what do you look for?

We get our pieces everywhere: estate sales, thrift stores or often from friends. Vintage clothing almost seems to find us! Our buyer specialist, Dawn Hernandez, hunts for vintage throughout the North Bay Area. She has great taste and a knack for finding gorgeous designer vintage. What I keep my eye out for is unique clothing from any era that I would hope inspire women to get out of mediocre fashion ruts.

Your site says that “With a collective upbringing of urban poverty and suburban boredom…” Can you tell me more about that?

My family grew up poor in SoMa in the 80′s, so my mother would tighten her purse strings by taking me thrifting. She really encouraged me to express my individuality and showed me that cool clothes could be accessible without breaking the bank. My boyfriend, Daniel Nolan, photographer for Gravel Ghost Vintage, grew up in the South Bay. With little else left to do on a weekend in the suburbs, he would peruse garage sales looking for old Nikons and KISS albums. Together we ended up with a massive wardrobe, an insane record collection and a creative sensibility, which enables us to do what we do.

When did you start selling vintage? What inspired you to start your own business?

I started selling vintage clothing in 2007. I felt that starting my own business took a natural course, as it seemed that there was a demand for it. I had people stop me and ask, “where did you get that dress!?” Later realizing that I could perhaps quit my mundane day job and provide vintage clothing to seekers of an eclectic wardrobe, like myself!

What do you think of the San Francisco fashion scene?

Although I appreciate the high fashion scene in San Francisco, I definitely gravitate towards a more individual sense of style that derives from personal taste rather than fashion trends. San Franciscans have a diverse style that varies from district to district. The nonconformist approach seems to contradict itself in that most people here have adopted it. The San Franciscans that stand out to me and inspire me the most are those who take ownership of their style because they have the confidence to do so, no matter how the industry thinks you should dress.

What do you see for the future of Gravel Ghost Vintage? Do you plan on expanding, and how?

It would be amazing to see Gravel Ghost Vintage become a brand and perhaps have a storefront some day. My own personal ambition is to become a wardrobe stylist to artists and musicians, since they are the ones who inspire me. We aim to include stand out pieces in our collection, so we are continually striving to pick up sought-after clothing to inspire creative people the way they inspire us.

1980′s black lace blouse with Victorian-meets-Steampunk puff sleeves

More San Francisco vintage


Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa