Wednesday 23rd April 2014
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San Francisco, finally

sf.embarcardero

To be honest, I didn’t wind up doing a whole lot of shopping in San Francisco, which is probably why I’m only just now getting around to posting about it. Not that there’s any shortage of cute  boutiques there, but it’s a city that’s less about the retail experience than the lifestyle experience, and all the you totally have tos in SF have to do with food: you totally have to go to Acme Bread and Cowgirl Creamery. And Tartine on Valencia. And if you miss out on espresso at Blue Bottle, you will have flunked San Francisco entirely.

sf.oxia

My hotel fell under the heading of  “Corporate Crunchy” (which I think may actually be a new hotel trend—a place I considered in Santa Monica offered both multiple conference rooms and preferential parking for hybrid vehicles). In addition to a lobby bursting with Suits, there were morning yoga classes, roof deck soaking tub treatments, and canned oxygen in the minibar. (I had to try the oxygen, of course: It was like inhaling a gust of very fresh, quite expensive wind.)

sf.reliquary

As for the shopping: I did manage to get in a stroll around Hayes Valley, which has lots of quite cool and charming stores, many of which are nicely indie in spirit. I loved Reliquary, a sort of NoCal version of  Love Adorned (no surprise, given that owner Leah Bershad is an alum of its sister shop, New York Adorned). They don’t have e-commerce—boo!—but if  a sophisticated ethnic aesthetic is at all up your alley, it’s a you totally have to. Also, I was very happy to visit Acrimony, a store whose commerce site I’ve browsed maybe a hundred times. It’s definitely the edgiest shop in the neighborhood, and it skews young, but there’s plenty for a girl who’s not especially excited by high-waisted short-shorts to like as well. And I see stuff there I don’t see in New York or LA or anywhere else.

gimmee

But of all the stores in San Francisco, it’s the mini-chain Gimmee Shoes that I most wish existed in my town. There are two on Hayes Street, and I could spend more time in both than I care to admit.

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As a general rule, San Francisco is more about practical footwear than spiky and strappy, and this sensibility is very much reflected at Gimmee Shoes. It makes sense, then, that there was a solid selection from the brilliant-and-slightly-batty Chie Mihara. If you’re looking for a deeply walkable heel and aren’t averse to a little drama, she’s your girl. I love this funkily dandified pair of Mary Janes, and actually think that by the time you paired them with black tights and a quiet-ish dress, they’d add a fun little punch to your outfit, and not—as one might fear—scream LOOK WHAT I DID TO MY FEET.

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Possibly the cutest pair of short rain boots I’ve ever seen.

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Gimmee Shoes is Fiorentini & Baker Central. Outside of the brand’s actual Soho store, I’ve never seen such a wide selection of their comfortable, tough-but-not-too-butch boots to choose from.  Back in Texas, this is what we would refer to as s**t-kickers—albiet super-extra-chic ones.

 

 

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Posted on January 28th, 2013 14 Comments

14 Responses

  1. Genevieve says:

    As a native San Franciscan, it pleased me greatly to see you picking one of my favorite shopping hoods in our city. And you’re right, San Franciscans are ESPECIALLY choosy about their footwear. This is generally a boots town, stilettos be mightily damned. After all, we’ve got hills to contend with… Love love love your blog, and loved Lucky under your leadership.

  2. Donna says:

    I soooo want to go to San Fran! I lived in SoCal for 5 years and could never afford to visit San Francisco. Thanks for sharing your visit there. For now, I can live vicariously through you.
    Donna
    http://www.prettysparklythings.blogspot.com

  3. muranogirl says:

    Thank you Kim for your thoughtful and spot-on commentary of my city. Yes, it IS about the lifestyle. I must go on the record however: most of us do not wake up and inhale canned oxygen, however Tartine and Gimme are part of the routine!

  4. c.w. says:

    San Fran also has an excellent Goodwill where my daughter found me a pair of never-been-worn Prada ankle boots for 40 bucks. Love, LOVE Chei Mihara’s, but they do not come in my size (35) so I buy them for my more reasonably sized daughter and thus shop/wear vicariously.

  5. AmyM says:

    One of the best meals of my life was at Tartine. I have actually had dreams about it. I will live in that wonderful city some day.

  6. jhops says:

    Ah, the brilliance of my native state — “corporate crunchy” is a phrase I am stealing, and plan to use liberally. I do feel obligated, though, to point out that I have never partaken of canned oxygen, either. What’d that set you back at the minibar?

  7. Traci says:

    Sounds like a great trip to San Francisco.That first picture is stunning. Even though I live in Ca. I’ve never been.

  8. t.b. says:

    So fun hearing about your visit to Hayes Valley and seeing your great Ferry Building shot. Too bad you missed Smitten ice cream and the buttery chocolate caramels at Miette. I also love the vintage at Verunica, including their window displays which I think are the best on the street. The owner and staff wear vintage in such an easygoing, chic way, and some if them are girls of a certain age:) Gimme Shoes lures me in far too often but luckily I find comfy French looking flats there on sale. Thanks for your blog! And Lucky has totally lost its sense of style since your departure. It looks like Glamour now.

  9. Julie says:

    You do know there are Blue Bottle locations in NYC, right? Their fennel-parmesan shortbread is to die for!
    Love your blog! :-)

  10. Diane says:

    Turns out the best thing about jury duty in SF is that, if you get the right location, I get to walk home afterward through Hayes Valley! Thanks for the reminder, especially Gimme — don’t you think a “reward” after sitting and waiting to be called is appropriate? :)

  11. Rachel says:

    I hope you got a chance to swing by the Heath factory store — if not, next trip!

  12. Amy says:

    Just curious — where did you stay in SF?