California shopping recap

This might be of little interest to you New York shoppers, but don’t be shortsighted, my pretties: you may soon find yourselves in Cali, wondering where to amble for maximum store capacity. And at that juncture, here it’ll be:

my San Francisco and Los Angeles shopping recap.

I’m from New York, so unless some other locale is chock full of shops (of the boutique and discount variety), sample sales, flea markets, etc., I rarely find myself singing the praises of a city’s retail offerings. Besides, wouldn’t any smart municipality offer tons of great stuff for purchase to their fat wallet-toting residents?

San Francisco certainly did. Plenty of neighborhoods offered promising shopping experiences, from the mall-luxe Union Square to St. Mark’s Place-esque Haight Street. But my favorite by far was Fillmore Street.
Fillmore sign
Fillmore, from Sutter to Jackson, had the best boutiques in SF. There was Gimme Shoes, where I met Loeffler Randall, and Heidi Says, where I spotted my beloved Milly, plus indie regulars like Cynthia Vincent, and news-to-me Tapeet by Vicini. I found the perfect knit leggings at Margaret O’Leary (now there’s one in NY, too!); I delighted in a cache of Dries Van Noten at Cielo, and I stumbled upon the most beautiful bead store I’ve ever encountered, called Surprise Party:
Surprise Party! beads
Yes, SF did good by me.

And so did LA, though I didn’t even make it to Hollywood.
Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice is awash in sweet boutiques. I saw Matta geometric prints at Salt (Matta has a boutique on Lafayette), sneakers of all colors and configurations at Waraku, purveyors of Japanese street style. I shopped the usual suspects (Citizens of Humanity jeans, Ella Moss stripes, and yes, my Milly!) at Principessa, and Minnie T’s long skirts were unparalleled. Check out the proprietor:
LA (long skirt) style
So elegant.

Another street to drag is Main Street Santa Monica. Have you ever heard of Burning Torch by Karyn Craven? Well I hadn’t, but I discovered it at Planet Blue, on Main Street. Artisan details, I tell you.

Just a short drive down the road is the sprawling Santa Monica branch of Fred Segal, designer mini mall par excellence. Overall, it was a mash up of all the high-end boutiques and department stores I’ve ever been to, but I fell hard for the jewelry. Check out these necklaces:
Necklaces at Fred Segal
I’d tell you who they’re by, but when I asked, the salesgirl uttered the ugliest words in the retail industry: “I don’t know.”

How very un-Fred Segal.

And definitely un-New York.

3 Responses to “California shopping recap”


  1. 1 pemora

    i, too, am never a fan of shopping in other american cities. however, i had a wonderful shopping experience in sf. i was particularly impressed by the vintage shops and japanese indie designers.

    and, uhm, i love love love that blue necklace on the right. i want.

    great post!

  2. 2 nikelist1

    good! support!
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  3. 3 erin

    the necklaces on the bottom are by rhode island based designer, renata mann. she is so talented!

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