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The 38 Essential Bay Area Shopping Experiences, Winter 2013

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Welcome to the very first San Francisco Racked 38, our list of the the Bay Area's most essential stores. It's impossible to sum up our shopping scene, but this is our rough guide—a north-to-south, east-to-west round-up of shops worth browsing, whether you're a tourist or a Bay Area native.

Since the SF retail scene is ever-changing, we'll revisit the Racked 38 every quarter, adding shops that become eligible (they must be open at least a year) or have recently stepped up their game. That means, sniff, we'll have to cut others.

Have suggestions? Is your favorite shopping haunt missing? Or do you think one of our picks is way off? We're always looking for reader input. State your cases for (or against) stores in the comments or email the tipline. And don't forget to check out the updated Racked 38s from our sister sites: Racked LA, Racked Chicago, Racked Philly, Racked Boston and Racked National.


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1. mira mira

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3292 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-6513
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You'll find international brands in this shop that you won't find anywhere else. Mira scours the globe for undiscovered designers so you can buy them first.

2. BellJar

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3187 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-1749
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The shop's tagline is "gorgeous little things," and that about sums it up: apparel from Cory Lynn Calter, Funktional, Something Else, plus gifts for you and yours in the form of pretty candles, jewelry, and home decor.

3. Freeman's Sporting Club

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696 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Some of the best bespoke and readymade men's suits and other clothing and accessories you'll find anywhere. Get your hair cut next door while you're in the neighborhood.

4. Weston Wear

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569 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 621-1480
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Julie Weston is a San Francisco designer whose super comfy, sometimes psychedelic print dresses and skirts go from work to cocktails with ease. The prices are beyond reasonable, and her sale racks are unparalleled.

5. Gravel & Gold

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3266 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 552-0112
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This shop off of Valencia in the Mission has you covered with clothing from Africa, Pennsylvania and everywhere in between. You'll find the best gifts: books, journals, bags, jewelry and lots more. Also look out for their workshops on how to make stuff.

6. Rand + Statler

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425 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 634-0881
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Rand + Statler is one of those rare stores that will keep both men and women happily shopping for Vena Cava, Wren, Paul Smith, Timo Weiland and tons more.

7. Welcome Stranger

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460 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 864-2079
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Men's clothes that are stylish and never twee: APC Jeans, Filson, Woolrich, lots more. And they have an awesome couch for your lady friends to relax on while you shop.

8. Reliquary

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537 Octavia St.
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 431-4000
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Gorgeous vintage clothing, jewelry, textile, and other objects of desire. Proprietor Leah Bershad hand picks small designer lines and vintage items to create a collection you won't find elsewhere.

9. MAC Modern Appealing Clothing

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387 Grove St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 863-3011
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MAC in Hayes Valley was selling Dries Van Noten, Margiela and Jill Sander when the 101 still spilled directly into the Valley. In other words, they know their designers, and they sell the absolute best.

10. Ver Unica

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437 Hayes St. #B
San Francisco, CA 94102
Fantastic vintage and stellar jewelry. If you don't find what you're looking for, check their other boutique up the street at 526 Hayes.

11. Dish Clothing

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541 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 252-5997
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Dish has been in Hayes Valley long before it was an absolute must shopping destination. In fact, they likely played a hand in making it one. You'll find Rhie, Rachel Comey, Raquel Allegra, NDC and plenty of local designers as well.

12. Erica Tanov

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2408 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 674-1228
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With roots in lingerie, Erica Tanov is a Bay Area designer whose store will make you feel romantic, happy, and comfy. Especially if you buy things. Also check her stores in Berkeley and Marin.

13. Gallery Of Jewels

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427 Post
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 617-0007
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Gallery of Jewels has been in San Francisco for decades, and it has only gotten better. It's latest storefront in Union Square carries stellar jewelry makers from SF and beyonds including Sarah Swell, Anouk, Anna Sheffield and lots more.

14. Harputs

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80 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 392-2222
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Harputs is a refreshing place to duck into if you're shopping in Union Square, with its hard-to-find brands including Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto Y-3.

15. La Boutique: L'Art et La Mode

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414 Jackson St.
San Francisco, CA
The best place in the city to channel your inner French girl. They carry Freda Salvador shoes, Shourouk jewelry, and throw an amazing party.

16. Carrots

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843 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Sisters Missy and Catie come from a Carrot-farming family, hence the name. But they don't exactly exude a farmer vibe. Their shop is full of Margiela, Acne, Alexander Wang and lots more hard-to-find brands. And the neighborhood couldn't be more charming.

17. Benefit Cosmetics

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2219 Chestnut
San Francisco, CA
(415) 567-1173
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SF's own Benefit Cosmetics knows brows, and the Chestnut location will set you right up with the perfect shape for your face, plus great makeup to match.

18. Cielo

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2225 Filmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 776-0641
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This Pacifica Heights jewel is not for the bargain hunter, but it is your source for Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackerman, Marni, Dries Van Noten and many more covetable European brands.

19. The Brooklyn Circus

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1521 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 359-1999
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A classic, modern men's clothing store with a cult following that hails from Brooklyn. You'll find classic sneaks, button downs with flair, letterman jackets, and lots more.

20. Sean

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1749 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 474-7363
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Sean is the only place you can buy Paris designer Emile Lafaurie's menswear. If you want to channel your inner French film star, this is your store.

21. ACRE/SF

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301 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 875-9590
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Jenny Chung, owner of ACRE/SF and Acrimony, has an amazing eye, hence all the Laugh Cry Repeat, Pretty Penny Stock and Gitman goodness in this North Beach boutique. It's well worth a trek up the steep hill for the clothing, view, and Blue Bottle Coffee (!).

22. Industrie Denim

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300 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, CA
The best place in the city to buy jeans (plus dresses, shoes and accessories) for men and women. It's huge, and carries everything from Chanel vintage to Levi's.

23. Ali Golden

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470 49th Street
Oakland, CA 94609
(805) 340-7086
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Located in the ultra-hot Temescal Alley in Oakland, Ali Golden's locally made clothing for women is the epitome of urban girl cool.

24. Conifer

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2848 Webster Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Slightly off the main strip of Union Street, and well worth the little trek for this gem owned by Amy Mautz, former sales director at Built by Wendy. She carries Rachel Comey shoes, MM6 apparel, Lizzy Fortunado jewelry and lots more.

25. General Store

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4035 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 682-0600
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Men, women, and children are all covered here, plus you'll find rare magazines and great books. Lots of goods from local craftspeeps, and don't forget to check out the sunny (really!) backyard.

26. Mollusk Surf Shop

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4500 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 564-6300
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Whether or not you're a surfer, this Outer Sunset surf shop slash art gallery has something for everyone, from surf boards and skateboards to super cute sweats.

27. Seedstore

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212 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 386-1600
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The perfect mix of independent and established brands in the Inner Richmond. Men's and women's classic but modern clothing.

28. Luna Boutique

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3615 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94118
This Presidio Heights charmer is owned and run by Christina Spaulding, a former architect and designer whose background shines through the clothing and accessories she chooses in her boutique. You'll find brands including A.L.C., Mother Denim, White and Warren and lots more from uber-casual tees to going-out dresses.

29. Susan of San Francisco

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3685 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 922-3685
Balenciaga, Lanvin, Comme des Garcon, Jill Sander, Marni, Prada—need we say more? The sales associates are legendary for their excellent service, so be prepared to lay down some serious Bennies if you visit this Presidio Heights boutique, which is so cool it doesn't need a website.

30. Elizabeth Charles

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2056 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 440-2100
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If you're looking to go high-end, this is the perfect place to start: brands including Carven, Chloe, Jen Kao, Balmain, Rick Owens and so many more are all present an accounted for.

31. Ixia

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2331 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 431-3134
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If only for the stunning window displays, this Castro florist is worth a peek. Gorgeous, unique arrangements using fresh and dried flowers.

32. Jack's on Chestnut

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2260 Chestnut
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 409-6114
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Casual menswear and stellar customer service are their specialty. Look for brands including Alternative Apparel, Citizens of Humanity, Hudson, J Brand, Original Penguin Scotch & Soda and more.

33. MAAS & Stacks

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2128 Market Street
San Francisco, CA
Men will find clothing basically for their whole life here, from the boardroom to the trail. You'll find crisp button-up shirts, parkas, backpacks, and shoes, both the casual and dress variety. And of course, only the highest-quality brands including Robert Geller, Adam Kimmel, Dana Lee and Band of Outsiders.

34. The Voyager Shop

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365 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Voyager has its own submarine inside, which itself is worth a visit. And the goods won't disappoint: all-American traveler-wear, including stationary on which to record your adventures.

35. Nida

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544 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 522-4670
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Both men and women can shop a Euro-heavy selection of brands including Balmain, Opening Ceremony, and Vanessa Bruno.

36. Chloe Rose

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1824 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 932-6089
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C&C California, Everyly, Myne, Only Hearts, and Parker are just a few of the designers you'll find at this chic boutique that will dress you for everything from weekend brunches to weddings.

37. Barneys New York

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77 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 268-3500
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The name speaks for itself—your place for anything and everything when it comes to sartorial luxury.

38. Neiman Marcus

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150 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 362-3900
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When you want to get a lot of shopping done at once and get lunch after, Neiman's is your department store for all the stylish folks in your family.

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1. mira mira

3292 22nd St., San Francisco, CA 94110
You'll find international brands in this shop that you won't find anywhere else. Mira scours the globe for undiscovered designers so you can buy them first.
3292 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

2. BellJar

3187 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
The shop's tagline is "gorgeous little things," and that about sums it up: apparel from Cory Lynn Calter, Funktional, Something Else, plus gifts for you and yours in the form of pretty candles, jewelry, and home decor.
3187 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

3. Freeman's Sporting Club

696 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Some of the best bespoke and readymade men's suits and other clothing and accessories you'll find anywhere. Get your hair cut next door while you're in the neighborhood.
696 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

4. Weston Wear

569 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Julie Weston is a San Francisco designer whose super comfy, sometimes psychedelic print dresses and skirts go from work to cocktails with ease. The prices are beyond reasonable, and her sale racks are unparalleled.
569 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

5. Gravel & Gold

3266 21st Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
This shop off of Valencia in the Mission has you covered with clothing from Africa, Pennsylvania and everywhere in between. You'll find the best gifts: books, journals, bags, jewelry and lots more. Also look out for their workshops on how to make stuff.
3266 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

6. Rand + Statler

425 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Rand + Statler is one of those rare stores that will keep both men and women happily shopping for Vena Cava, Wren, Paul Smith, Timo Weiland and tons more.
425 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. Welcome Stranger

460 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Men's clothes that are stylish and never twee: APC Jeans, Filson, Woolrich, lots more. And they have an awesome couch for your lady friends to relax on while you shop.
460 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102

8. Reliquary

537 Octavia St., San Francisco, California 94102
Gorgeous vintage clothing, jewelry, textile, and other objects of desire. Proprietor Leah Bershad hand picks small designer lines and vintage items to create a collection you won't find elsewhere.
537 Octavia St.
San Francisco, California 94102

9. MAC Modern Appealing Clothing

387 Grove St., San Francisco, CA 94102