Scouring San Francisco for the best vintage shops. By Sydney Pfaff
Like in most major cities, vintage shopping in San Francisco has become somewhat of a sport in recent years. Hard-core competitors will dedicate full days to scavenging the wealth of thrift and vintage shops dotting the Mission District, and then they might head to the one-offs in various neighborhoods around the city—ranging from the SoMa to the Tenderloin (yes, there's a Goodwill in the TL and it can be a great resource for '80s classics) to the sometimes too-picked-over Haight Street—or even the high-end consignment shops in Russian Hill and Pacific Heights. Here, we've highlighted a few must vintage stops by the Bay.
Still Life, 835 Divisadero Street, 415-440-2499
Kelly Malone and Charles Hurbert left the corporate world to join forces in creating Mission Indie Mart, an SF trunk show event for emerging local designers. Not long after, the two found a shoebox of a space and opened Still Life, a gold mine of vintage finds and one-off accessories, like lady's feathered jewelry, colorful purses, and heavy-duty belt buckles. The NoPa shop is decorated with funky found and salvaged objects with unique photographs and taxidermy animals strewn about.
Painted Bird, 1201A Guerrero Street, 415-401-7027
As if buying, selling, and trading vintage or new clothing weren't already enough, beloved shop Painted Bird plays host to local artists' creations every couple of months. Don't fret if on your first visit, you find Jordache jeans and wedge sandals in only teensy sizes—the merchandise changes daily, hence you're bound to find more (and more) the next go-round. Didn't fall in love with gently worn pumps or leather handbags? Pick up one-of-a-kind jewelry by owner Sunny Walker or a $2 record to add to your collection.
Idol Vintage, 3162 16th Street, 415-255-9959
Be prepared to spend hours ogling the well-edited selection of vintage goods, but know that you might pay more than you would at the less organized and chaotic thrift shops throughout the Mission. Idol Vintage knows what they're selling, and that's OK—face it, their OCD organize-by-decade methods are awesome. You can score on vintage Gucci and YSL bags for a pretty penny, but cheaper finds might include sunglasses for 10 bucks, assorted printed silk scarves, and small packs of theater makeup.
Mascara Vintage, 1747 Polk Street, 415-674-8031
This tiny Upper Polk Street shop stocks vintage for both men and women, along with incredible accessories (bags, shoes, jewelry, pins and pendants, printed ties—you name it), knick-knacks (tons of owl tchotchkes) and vinyl records for just two bucks a pop. The store's emphasis is on fashion from the '60s and '70s with an occasional '80s shoulder-pad-heavy dress thrown into the mix. Brand-spankin' new owner Gigi Pascua took over the shop from the previous owner just last month and is offering up to 50% off everything in the store for the month of September in order to make room for more, more, more.
Anica Boutique, 2418 Polk Street, 415-447-2878
Some might only think of Anica Boutique as a top-notch shop for coveted labels like Opening Ceremony, Heimstone, and Karen Walker. Little do most people know that the store has an in-house vintage shop in the back of the store put together by former North Beach boutique Mixed Use. The selection of vintage pieces features printed tube dresses, sequin-covered separates, and tons of accessories in excellent condition (some from top-of-the line labels like Dior and Fendi).
Scouring San Francisco for the best vintage shops.

R29 Original Series