Mercy Vintage Now
Located on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, this is the kind of vintage shop dreams are made of. We’re constantly taken aback by the incredible wares the girls of Mercy Vintage Now seem to get their mitts on. If you’re looking for a not-so-hidden retail gem in the East Bay, this is it. Plus, the in-store events will have you stunned, too. An appearance and closet-purge by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth? Yeah, that happened.
Mercy Vintage, 4188 Piedmont Avenue (between Linda and Entrada avenues), Oakland; 510-654-5599.
Okay, apparently the East Bay is the mothership for cool vintage duds — 'cause the second we stepped into this adorable little Berkeley spot we slipped into an unbreakable retail trance. We don’t know if it was the calming, muted tones throughout the store, the mellow tunes, or owner Amy Blaustein’s welcoming 'tude, but this shop has got it going on. Small? Yes. Awesome? You betcha. Also, you’ll find the best second-hand sole selection, like ever. Oh hi, vintage Prada, Robert Clergerie, and Jil Sander. Nice to meet you.
James Rowland, 2447 Dwight Way (between Dana Street and Telegraph Avenue), Berkeley; 510-848-8180.
We like a place that keeps it simple in the name. And Good Stock doesn’t play around — presenting, well, good stock — it’s an airy, feminine, and put-together space. You’ll sense that it isn’t overwhelming in size, but somehow allows you to get a sense of the store in one glance with hidden nooks and crannies that house products you didn’t even know existed. You’ll find Rodin olio lusso skin care, Falke tights, Herringbone bags, and more here. While it is definitely accessory-oriented, you could spend the entire day just gazing at the gorgeous variety of products it has to offer.
Good Stock, 4198 Piedmont Avenue (at Linda Avenue), Oakland; 510-653-8518.
The multi-talented designer’s Oakland outpost sits in the popular Temescal Alley and is home to her collection of whimsical dresses and tops and handcrafted totes. Pop in to shop the racks of her pretty goodies or to see what she’s up to. Yep, Golden makes the magic happen right in front of you. Pretty cool, right?
Ali Golden, 470 E. 49th Street (between Clarke Street and Telegraph Avenue), Oakland; 805-340-7086.
Also located in the artsy Temescal Alley stretch is local jeweler Marisa Haskell’s rustic-chic, charming boutique where she makes all of the baubles in-house. You’ll find geometric necklaces infused with tropical stones and golden hues. It’s like buying delicate embellishments in a little beach-y, laid-back haven. Elegant, yet mixed with creative, off-the-cuff elements.
Marisa Haskell, 470d 49th Street (between Clarke Street and Telegraph Avenue), Oakland; 510-325-0019.
Rare stones, intricate gems, structural rings — these are just a few of the things you’ll stumble upon while wandering around the lovely jewelry store Esqueleto. Not your typical bauble haunt, this place is home to creepy-cool jewels that are museum-quality gorgeous. It’s a pretty magical setting, with white walls, local art, and stark (in a good way) design that is incredibly calming while you shop.
Esqueleto, 482a 49th Street (between Clarke Street and Telegraph Avenue), Oakland; 510-629-6216.
Marin Country Mart
Representing the North Bay retail scene is newbie shopping center Marin Country Mart (a sister destination to SoCal's Brentwood Country Mart). The open-air property includes storefronts for Malia Mills, Unionmade, and Erica Tanov (among others), as well as amazing gourmet-food concepts, a barbershop, and possibly the coolest post office in all of Cali.
Marin Country Mart, 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur; 415-461-5700.
Meanwhile, down South, Crimson Mim is a stronghold for designer wares for women in the Palo Alto and Los Altos areas. The chic spaces of both shops are home to cult-followed labels like 3.1 Phillip Lim, A.L.C., Tocca, and Clare Vivier, plus S.F.-based shoe label Freda Salvador. Just try not to salivate combing through those racks...we know we can't help but drool!
Crimson Mim, 322 Main Street, Los Altos; 650-947-7463. Town and Country Village, El Camino Real, Suite 35, Palo Alto; 650-323-2277.
Photos: Courtesy of Esqueleto; Good Stock; Mercy Vintage Now photographed by Maria del Rio
Mercy Vintage Now