A Mecca of independent designers and fashion mavens, San Francisco's fashion boutiques range from the high end to cheap and chic t-shirts. The best boutiques often carry pieces that hit many different price points, yet are all high quality for the fashion forward shopper who refuses to be seen in the same Calvin Klein dress other people picked up at the mall. Many boutiques offer shopper a way to look at many different designers in one place, allowing you to mix and match pieces from different lines creating your own unique style. In San Francisco, most people can find a boutique meeting their shopping desires within walking distance.
What started as a pop up boutique quickly gained a major foothold in the fashion scene. Candystore Collective is also a kind of incubator for designers. The owner, Jennifer Jones, thinks that every designer she chooses to carry should get an equal shot at sales, which means a single rack might mingle big brands with the smallest independent. In addition to the variety of local designers, there are also well selected vintage pieces putting to shame the rag dress you picked up at your neighborhood Goodwill. Candystore Collective, 3153 16th St, (at Albion St), San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 863-8143
Growing out of their first permanent space in the living room of the house they were living in on Shotwell Street, Michael and Holly Weaver's Shotwell features a mix of local designers, and carefully selected international brands. This store has a multitude of fun and funky pieces at around the $100 mark, making them an affordable extravagance. With the press the store has recently picked up from Daily Candy, San Francisco Magazine, and being voted "Best Rockstar Styles" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the boutique goes through it's inventory faster than ever. Shotwell, 320 Grant Ave (between Sutter St & Harlan Pl) San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 399-9898
With an unusually balanced selection of both men's and women's clothes, Acrimony brings in collections from designers across the globe. The owners travel around the world to hand select pieces and lines to feature in the store. The selection ranges from classic to avant-garde, hitting almost every design style you can think of in between. They periodically have large 50% off sales where not only pieces from previous seasons, but many of their current items go on sale also, so with a decent amount of planning, the store can fill your wardrobe at low cost. Acrimony, 333 Hayes St (between Franklin St & Gough St) San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 861-1025
The only single designer shop on the list, Lemon Twist sells affordable clothing designed in house. The designer, Danette, is a master of being body conscious for females, and because of this, each of her pieces has the drape and fit of designs costing three times as much. From one of a kind t-shirts, to everyday dresses, the clothes at Lemon Twist feel as though they were custom designed and cut specifically for you. Lemon Twist, 1604 17th Street (between Wisconsin St & Carolina St) San Francisco, CA 94107 (415) 558-9699