9 Of S.F.’s Most Stylish Shopgirls Play Dress Up!

While we never shy away from showcasing our fave S.F. shops, we’re well aware that when it comes to making retail magic happen, there’s more to it than impeccably styled storefronts and merch galore. And whenever we wander into stellar stores like Mira Mira, Harputs, or Bastille, we just can’t help but notice the well-dressed, friendly darlings behind the counter.
These ladies are the ones busting their (fashionable) butts to help outfit us in outstanding garb on the reg. So, we’re shining some light on the savvy sisters behind the scenes. Since it’s a given these gals have enviable taste (and wardrobes), we’ve tapped them to divulge deets, talk shop, and dress up with the goods from their respective retail havens. Ready to meet the mavens?
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Photographed by Christine Ting
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Jennifer Waight and Anette Nyseth of Harputs

What do you love most about working at Harputs?
Anette: "Working one-on-one with clients, constructing, and designing made-to-measure pieces."
Jennifer: "I love that we are all a team — or better yet, a family. We all work together to make the business a success, always laughing, and always learning. On a daily basis I do everything from working with clients, to cutting garments, or doing impromptu photo shoots. I love that it's dynamic and there is always something for me to do!"

Describe your personal sense of style.
Jennifer: "My most recent obsessions are rounded-collar shirts buttoned to the top with sweater clips (I found mine in a vintage shop from the '40s), vintage fur collars, pencil skirts below the knee, harnesses, crochet details, and high-waisted, flared pants. I define a lot of what I wear through texture — whether beading, fringe, or quilting."
Anette: "I tend to lean toward masculine cuts and fabrics, while always adding a bit of humor to what I wear. I love combining tailoring with unexpected details and playing with texture and shape. Lately, hair color has been playing a role in my style."

Tell us more about Harputs.
Jennifer: "HARPUTS is a retailer-turned-manufacturer, and we currently operate out of our workshop/showroom. We also sell brands such as Comme Des Garcons and Adidas x Jeremy Scott, but we mostly focus on our own brand HarputsOwn. We produce garments that can be worn multiple ways. We feel this adds a playful aspect to getting dressed in the morning, or even changing your look throughout the day!"

What do you think differentiates Harputs from other S.F. stores?
Anette: "We design and make everything in house. It is a very unique process that we take part in from beginning to the end. When we do a lot of custom work, we normally have two to three fittings before the garment is perfected. This makes the relationship with our customers much more special."

Harputs, 109 Geary Street (between Stockton St & Grant Ave); 415-392-2222.

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Thu Vo of Bastille

What do you love most about working at Bastille?
"The overall creative control that I have in terms of the store's aesthetic, assortments, and marketing. We're trying to build something wonderful here and everyone's allowed to play a role to contribute to the process. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, sweat, and tears. But it's incredibly rewarding to be able to do something you believe in."

Tell us a bit more about Bastille.
"At Bastille you will find very carefully curated selections from Band of Outsiders, Acne, Marc by Marc Jacobs to Rick Owens, A.P.C., Engineered Garments, 10 Crosby by Derek Lam, Fjallraven and Topman. If you're into quality, timeless, classic, and understated garments, this store is a one-stop shop."

Describe your personal sense of style.
"I'm a reformed tomboy and have an oddly strong interest in menswear. Therefore, I'm drawn to things that are structured, garments that are minimal in style with focus on details, construction, and fabrication. I idolize Phoebe Philo and respect everything she does at Celine. I firmly believe that less is always more — except when it comes to shoes!"

What do you think differentiates Bastille from other S.F. stores?
"We're very specific in our aesthetic vision and trying to cater to a wide array of shoppers. We realize that not everyone can afford a $250 shirt, or a $500 dress. We have affordable brands like Topman and RVCA sitting next to the pricier Rick Owens and Band of Outsiders and we manage to make it all work well together. Looking good really doesn't have to break a bank."

Bastille, 66 Kearny Street (between Post and Geary streets); 415-951-0210.

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Tara Morgan of Mira Mira

Tell us a bit more about Mira Mira.
"It's an intimate little clothing boutique in the heart of the Mission. We have a heavy focus on unique, independent, and hard-to-find designers from around the world. The aesthetic is is delicate, playful, edgy, yet very accessible. It's a lovely little spot."

What do you love most about working at Mira Mira?
"I love our regulars, who have become good acquaintances and friends. They drop in sometimes just for conversation, and to catch up or swing by and bring coffee. I'm constantly surrounded by great people."

What in-store items are you currently lusting after?
"The label To Be Adored is a favorite and I really, really need the Elise trench and Penelope Dress in my sartorial life. We have a Washborn denim jacket right now that surpasses any denim jacket that I’ve ever come across or owned. It's perfect."

What do you think differentiates Mira Mira from other S.F. stores?
"The store has a lovely warm ambiance. It’s really pretty wholesome. We’re constantly aiming to seek out new designers and styles with the intention of introducing new lines from far-off places that you’ve not yet seen in San Francisco."

Mira Mira, 3292 22nd Street (at Valencia Street); 415-648-6513.

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Leslie Armstrong of Rand + Statler

Tell us a bit more about Rand + Statler.
"Rand + Statler was a furniture showroom before our owners took over the space. The layout is incredible, and has a beautiful, open feeling. We stock an incredible line up of brands, from super-swanky contemporary designers to some of the best basics and denim around (our Acne denim selection is out of control!). Working in a small boutique also gives us a lot of time to chat — it's like playing dress up all day and every customer has a vastly different sense of style."

What in-store item are you currently lusting after?
"What item am I not currently lusting after? The Girl. by Band of Outsiders clementine blazer, the Mason slit-collar black top, the Acne Pop Betty jean, a Pierre Balmain leather motorcycle jacket, the Catbird rose-gold memory rings, and the soon-to-arrive Acne Star boot, which is projected to be the new Pistol boot (which I also love)."

What about fashion inspires you?
"Currently, any customer that buys the Pamela Love pentagram cuff is someone to learn from. I take a lot of inspiration from older, artsy ladies in CDG, the Jolie-Pitts, and skateboard culture always blows my mind!"

Where else in S.F. do you shop?
"I live right near Painted Bird, so I stop in there a lot (scored an amazing Dries jacket there a couple weeks ago). I am a sucker for Barneys shoe selection, and I love salvation army for gnarly jewelry. Plus, General Store, Nida, and MAC."

Rand + Statler, 425 Hayes Street (between Gough Street and Octavia Boulevard); 415-634-0881.

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Em Gift of Gravel & Gold

Describe your personal sense of style.
"Club kid, mountain man, New Age mom, meets art critic — all done up California style."

What do you love most about working at Gravel & Gold?
"I get the opportunity to meet and speak with the most inspiring people! Last month we had Lloyd Kahn of Shelter come do a slideshow, and next month Leonard Koren of WET magazine will be in shop for a party celebrating his new book. We have some pretty notable figures filter though at any given time."

Where else in S.F. do you shop?
"Thrift Town is where I use my animal instincts and hunt! I just found the perfect dress for the Spring Fling soul dance this weekend!"

Tell us a bit more about Gravel & Gold.
"I like to think of us as a five-and-dime store, with a little bit of everything. We are a space for makers to share their wares and teach workshops on their craft. We host a number of gatherings each month that range from five-course dinners to midwifery meetings."

Gravel & Gold, 3266 21st Street (between Valencia and Mission streets); 415-552-0112.

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Ashley Holmes of Azalea

What do you love most about working at Azalea?
"I absolutely love everyone I work with. It's refreshing to work in a retail environment where everyone is genuine, pleasant, and wants to help their customers find pieces they'll love. I'm also so proud to work for a business that is owned by two women who are very much involved in all aspects of the company."

What in-store item are you currently lusting after?
"All of the Rogan pieces are gorgeous! And I cannot get enough stripes, so all of the new super-soft striped pieces from Splendid."

Where else in S.F. do you shop?
"BellJar, VerUnica, Piper's Shoe Parlor, Rand + Statler, and J.Crew."

What do you think differentiates Azalea from other S.F. stores?
"I think the most defining thing about Azalea is the variety of items and the impressive amount of denim. We house a lot of the things you would need to go downtown to get. Plus, the extremely helpful and down-to-earth staff. There's no snobbery. We genuinely love helping customers shop and have a good time."

Azalea,411 Hayes Street (between Gough and Octavia streets); 415-861-9888.

Photographed by Christine Ting
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Rebecca Goldschmidt and Monica Olmo of Metier.

What do you love most about working at Metier?
Rebecca: "We are a loving, supportive family of independent women! I have grown up with these ladies for the past four years and we've seen each other, and the business grow and change so much. When it comes to our lives outside of work — whether its kids, art, music, or other projects — Sheri our owner is always encouraging, and flexible, which makes for incredibly inspired, dedicated employees."
Monica: "I love being surrounded by beautiful things all day. Some of the clothing that I have seen over the years, the embroidery, the beading detail, the trim — it's so effortously perfect. The estate jewelry we sell is museum-worthy. Sometimes, when I am holding a ring from the 1840s I wonder what kind of life it has had. It is truly amazing!"

What in-store item are you currently lusting after?
Monica: "I am in love with this Rachel Comey blazer with lace sleeves. It is so cool and sophisticated with a great silhouette."
Rebecca: "The Raquel Allegra printed blazer. Her whole spring Shibori collection was so well done. Plus it's reversible — a twofer!"

Describe your personal sense of style.
Rebecca: "Kaleidoscopic old lady! I enjoy being expressive, fun and experimenting with all kinds of styles without sacrificing comfort and ease. I'll wear anything at least once!"
Monica: "I love the combination of vintage and modern in clothing, interiors, and jewelry. Fashion should be fun and I definitely try to keep it that way."

Where else in S.F. do you shop?
Monica: "I love Mira Mira, Reliquary, Rare Device, Painted Bird, and The Other Shop."
Rebecca: "All thrift stores, flea markets, and free bins. I also like to support my friends who are making clothing locally, creatively, and responsibly."

Metier, 355 Sutter Street (at Stockton Street); 415-989-5395.

Photographed by Christine Ting
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