September 17, 2014

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

More San Francisco vintage

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

5 Reasons to Buy a Vintage Handbag

As you well know, we at SF Indie Fashion love us some vintage. And a you-won’t-see-it-everywhere-else aesthetic is only part of the romance. There are many more reasons to shop vintage these days – for yourself or someone else. Our friends at Ubokia recently gave us five good ones, and we thought we’d share.

Reasons your next handbag should be vintage:

1.    Save money. This one’s obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. A well-made handbag will last for years. When you buy a quality vintage handbag, you’re getting all the benefits of new at a fraction of the price.

2.    Greener. Handbags take a lot of resources – just think of all the raw materials that go into making a new bag, not to mention all the chemicals and dyes used to treat the leather or fabric. But when you buy vintage, you’re giving new life to old materials rather than contributing to the extraction of new ones. It’s a zero-footprint way to be fashionable.

3.    Vintage is in. Need we say more?

4.    Built-in character. While the new-handbag smell is nice, a vintage one has character and a story to tell. If you don’t know the story behind your handbag, make one up. When someone asks you where you got your gorgeous handbag, it’s way better than saying, “At the mall.”

5.    Make money. Like we said in #1, a well-made handbag will last for years. That means that only can you save money by buying vintage, you can also make money by selling it to someone else when you’re done. It’s a virtuous cycle, really. Buy a new-to-you bag, love it, sell it, rinse, repeat.

This post is brought to you by Ubokia, the place to buy, sell, trade and borrow gently used handbags and other fashion accessories. Be sure to check out their Perfect Handbag Giveaway, too!

To enter, create a free Ubokia account and post a Want for a handbag. That’s it! You’ll be automatically entered to win a handbag of your choice, up to $500. The winners will be announced on December 21, 2011.

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This post sponsored by Ubokia. We love our sponsors and hope you will, too. They make it possible for us to keep bringing you San Francisco’s independent fashion news five days a week.


Spotted (SF Street Style): 70s Chic

Spotted: Candace, seen at 16th and Valencia in the Mission wearing high-waisted bellbottom jeans, a green leather vintage jacket with fur collar and handmade jewelry made from her friend’s line, the indie Austin-based Sisters of the Black Moon.

When asked to describe her style, she said, “I kind of just threw this on…wanted something casual.” Her favorite store? Thrift Town.

Photography courtesy of Alexandra Naughton

More San Francisco street style

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

Snap Judgement: Vintage ’70s Tiger Tunic

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: the delightfully tacky sheer 70′s-era animal print tunic top, $15, from San Francisco-based vintage Etsy shop Lost Feather Vintage, a local source for notably affordable casual and trendy styles from the ’70s and ’80s.

More snap judgments

Good Looks: Up Against the Wall

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In the midst of a rain-filled week, we’re letting a little sun shine in, thanks to Alex Keenum and Amy Soderlind of Refuses to Label. For this shoot, the stylish duo ventured to the Marina district, where Amy posed in a thrifted camel suede skirt and vintage black platform booties, a cropped grey t-shirt by American Apparel, H&M faux fur vest and Spanx tights.

See, sometimes finding yourself up against a wall ain’t so bad…

Refuses to Label: the creative outlet of two lifelong friends with similar aesthetic addictions: vintage, design, art, photography, music. Artists themselves; this is the documentation of they’re combined inspirations and daily vintage fits.

Photography: Alex Keenum

Styling: Refuses to Label

For more looks by stylish San Franciscans, visit our burgeoning style series….