It’s the holiday season and now even the shopaphobes amongst us must venture out into the wilderness of fashion. Some people are going to try to get all their shopping done online. I really wish they wouldn’t. There’s something to be said about being able to feel the quality of a leather jacket, see the colors in a cocktail dress, or just schmooze with other shoppers for ideas. 

Right now the Mission District is (as always) one of the best places in the city to shop. It’s especially great for people who don’t like to shop because it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of crowds like downtown San Francisco, no crazy long lines like you sometimes get on Haight Street, and boutique owners and workers are always friendly and helpful, full of advice you can’t get online.

Here are some of my recommendations for different styles you might be looking for:


Thrift Town on Mission Street is always full of great items—clothing and non-clothing. The cute cropped fur that I’ve been sporting recently was bought in the summer at Thrift Town for $10. I also got a pair of Banana Republic trousers for $4. With a little tailoring they fit perfectly and still came in under $20.

A few blocks away also on Mission Street is Mission Thrift. This store is magnificent. I always walked by and never went in. I found out that it’s not jut thrift—it’s vintage thrift. So I’m talking 70’s dresses and letterman jackets for cheap. 


Idol Vintage on 16th Street is one of my favorite stores in the Mission. There’s always a $2 rack outside, and you can buy vintage sunglasses, belts and hats for as low as $8. I found a fake Louis Vuitton mid-size Speedy bag for $32, and it looks just like the real deal.

Retro Fit is a vintage store with a totally different feel to it.  While Idol has more funky-hip vintage, Retro Fit is full of saddle shoes, tent coats and $20 reindeer t-shirts. Its 50’s-style inventory is mouth-watering, and prices vary so you always find something affordable.

House of Hengst
House of Hengst

Nothing says minimalist like House of Hengst and Sunhee Moon. House of Hengst on Valencia Street has a simple window and store setup. Everything is easy to find and easy on the eyes. With both women’s wear and a menswear line that was started this year, it has for gifts for everyone. If you want silks, chiffons, cashmere and mohair this is a place to go. Sunhee Moon is full of simple silhouettes, basic colors, and clothing necessities. The Sunhee Moon woman is sophisticated and professional, but loves rich fabrics and always looks on point. You can find a tunic for as low as $38 right now on sale. 


Think you’re going to drop those J. Lo track suits from 1997 off at Buffalo Exchange? Think again. They’re only going to buy back what’s hot in the stores right now. Buffalo Exchange is the place to get that Forever 21 dress that was in stores last month for half the price. It’s what I call the solution to leaver’s remorse.

Then head towards 16th on Valencia Street and run into Weston Wear. Metallic party skirts, colorful cocktail dresses in comfortable jersey material and cute batcoats await your credit card. Almost everything in the store is under $200 including coats, and there is always a sales rack—right now they have dresses for $44 and tops for $35. They even have the plaid lumberjack vest that I missed out on in New York last year. For $90, it’s double the price of the one I saw but this time I’m not leaving it behind.

Dema also carries great New Year’s Eve dresses and coats to go over them.


Me being the shoe addict I am, I could never forget about where to get fabulous shoes. Many of the stores in the Mission that sell clothes also carry shoes. Shoe Biz specializes in just shoes, with many styles to choose from. But if you’re really on a tight holiday budget Shiekh is the way to go. They carry everything from trendy over the knee boots to Pastry sneakers, to gemmed-up open toes for anyone flying South for the winter.

Therapy is also a haven for shoes and bags. They are on trend with their rugged boots right now. They also carry rich leather bags of all sizes, brands and colors. I had my eye on a Betsy Johnson carryall for $345, a Steven leather hobo for $218, and my favorite, a blue leather Tano bag for $278. 

In addition to these places there are also many little shops and boutiques that carry fancy scarves, kids clothes, and cute accessories for everyone.  Happy Holidays!

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