Maybe it's a post-pandemic yearning to get all dressed up and hit the town, or perhaps inflation has us all on the hunt for some extra fashion flair on the cheap. Either way, we're here to tell you that San Francisco's vintage scene is popping.
In recent months, North Beach alone has welcomed two new vintage boutiques—one with rock band roots and another with a thing for old Hollywood—and Fog City Flea's popular weekend market has gone full-blown brick-and-mortar at the Ferry Building. This is to say nothing of the opening of Afterlife Collective on Valencia Street and the return of the Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire.
Of course, the love of vintage and costumery runs deep in SF, dating back to the fashions beloved by hippies and the Free Store opened by the Diggers during the Summer of Love. Second-hand shopping is just an integral part of SF culture—plus it's both more affordable and sustainable than buying new.
When you're looking for a vintage Gucci purse, an '80s prom dress, a floral mumu, a Chanel tweed jacket, or wild pair of cowboy boots, you'll find it all in San Francisco. Here are our favorite vintage and thrift stores, plus flea markets and shopping events around the Bay Area.
The Best Vintage Stores + Collections in San Francisco
(Courtesy of @shopwastelandsf)
Missing Audrey Vintage
If you’re looking to relive the nostalgia of the 1960s and ’70s but also want browse clothes from the past century, Missing Audrey Vintage is a must-see. After seven years of online success, the shop has finally opened a North Beach brick-and-mortar full of retro leather bags, silk nightgowns, and vintage tees from 1910 all the way up to the 1990s. Owner Sabrina Bodnar drew her inspiration for the store from her days in a rock band, hoping to transport shoppers to the past through both the clothes and the store itself. Be sure to stop by Missing Audrey Vintage and look for rare statement pieces in an unforgettable retro atmosphere. //1767 Stockton St. (NorthBeach), missingaudreyvintage.com
Via Margutta Vintage
After the pandemic, Via Margutta vintage owner Jason Galloway moved his Hollywood-inspired vintage store up to his native Bay Area. Newly opened in North Beach, Via Margutta Vintage stocks an impressive assortment of items, ranging from $18 T-shirts to stunning designer pieces like Christian Dior coats, amid old movie star photographs that reflect Galloway’s passion for timeless films and fashion. // 1455 Grant Ave. (North Beach), viamarguttavintage.com
Valencia Street's Afterlife boutique—known for its huge range of cool, casual ‘80s and ‘90s vintage items along with some statement designer pieces—has teamed up with Super Thrift Bros. to launch Afterlife Collective, which curates killer vintage from a community of vendors. Be sure to check out Afterlife Collective’s location in Mission and grab some pieces that will turn some heads. // 541 Valencia St. (Mission), theafterlifecollective.com
Iconic shop Wasteland is home to a constantly changing, massive collection of vintage and modern designer pieces for everyone inside a light-filled, open space. While prices can be a little steep, Wasteland's designer pieces have a hip, trendy vibe and are consistently in amazing shape. Whether you're picking up a studded leather Balenciaga bag, some vintage 501 Levi’s with the original tag still intact, or nearly unworn Chanel slides, the splurge will be worth it. Pair a designer statement piece with some more affordable vintage graphic tees or Reformation finds from last season to go with. Be sure to also check out the displays, featuring some of Wasteland's coolest pieces artistically paired together for some trendy style inspo on the way out. PS: You can also shop online! // 1660 Haight St. (Upper Haight), shopwasteland.com
Sui Generis Consignment
Sui Generis is far from your average consignment shop. Men and women alike will love Sui Generis for authentic, luxury pieces from brands including Gianni Versace, Prada, and Gucci with a less daunting price tag. Look for Manolo Blahnik slingback pumps alongside Helmut Lang T-shirts, Kenzo suits, and Raf Simons trainers. // 2231 Market St. (Upper Market), suigenerisconsignment.com
Indigo Vintage Cooperative
The best part about Berkeley transplant Indigo Vintage Cooperative is that it feels like you're stepping into the closets of all of your coolest friends, but combined. Indigo Vintage Cooperative's light-filled Haight Street outpost is home to a range of permanent and rotating vendors, each with their own handpicked collection and style. Grab a vintage rhinestone Playboy tank or perfectly pre-loved denim jacket, and keep your eye out for Indigo Vintage's 1987 vintage-filled van at pop-ups around the Bay. Also look for the shop's newest location next time you're in Santa Cruz.// 1649 Haight St. (Upper Haight), indigovtg.com
No Shop packs a large assortment of vintage threads for all—plus some newer finds—into their succulent-filled Valencia space. While you'll be sure to find good basics here too, No Shop’s quirky patterned pants and tops, occasional designer finds, and oversized vintage jackets truly shine. Compared to the usual markup at curated thrift stores, No Shop’s prices are refreshingly affordable. // 389 Valencia St. (Mission), ohnonotno.com
If it's been a while since you visited Relic Vintage's glamorous, Art Deco–inspired space—you know, the one with the cheetah-print chaise—set your sights a few blocks down: Relic has moved down the street. The space is larger than ever, so you'll still be greeted with a curated array of fine vintage apparel and accessories for men and women from the 1920s through the 1960s, presented in an organized layout. Whether you come to Relic Vintage in search of a pleated midi skirt circa 1950, a second hand fur stole, an ornate beaded gown, or an argyle sweater vest, thanks to owner Oran Scott's vintage expertise and desire to help every customer find fashions they'll cherish forever, you'll leave Relic Vintage with the perfectly fitting vintage piece of your dreams, without breaking the bank. // 1475 Haight St. (Upper Haight), relicvintagesf.com
On a street with endless thrift shops, Held Over is the cream of the crop. Pieces are organized by specific style and decade, which makes for easier shopping in this otherwise overwhelming store, which is filled with relatively affordable wearable vintage pieces—including a huge selection of jeans, prairie dresses, and leather jackets—and plenty of costumey fashions for men and women. The beauty of Held Over is that you'll go in with the intention of just picking up a '20s flapper dress for your next theme party, and you'll leave—after perusing the aisles for hours—with some wild '60s patterned pants, an '80s prom dress, a fluorescent color blocked windbreaker, and some garters as well. // 1543 Haight St. (Upper Haight), instagram.com
Eden & Eden
Inside this aesthetically pleasing, impeccably designed boutique, you'll find unique high fashion vintage pieces that you could never find on your own, alongside current fashions, jewelry, and home goods. From sophisticated re-worked khakis to a beautiful pair of vintage gold hoops you'll treasure forever, or a floaty caftan perfect for your next beach getaway, Eden & Eden's vintage collection has something for every occasion. // 560 Jackson St. (Financial District), edenandeden.com
Beloved home and apparel establishment General Store has a curated rack of beautiful vintage apparel with the same effortlessly artistic aesthetic as the boutique's current finds. While the selection may be small, the regularly restocked collection features unique hand-picked pieces that are in impeccable condition and can easily be worked into a modern wardrobe (try pairing them with General Store's new items). Minimalist-chic fashionistas will fall in love with high quality garments including wide button cardigans, floral cotton summer dresses, and vintage ruffle skirts. // 4035 Judah St. (Outer Sunset), shop-generalstore.com
The Best Vintage Shopping Events in the Bay Area
(Courtesy of @alamedavintagefashionfaire)
Alameda Point Antiques Faire
Venture across the Bay to the monthly Alameda Point Antiques Faire and get ready to sift through over 800 outdoor booths of antiques and vintage clothing. All items sold at the fair must be over 20 years old, and you'll find booths with hundreds of pairs of Levi's in every color under the sun, one of a kind international pieces, leather jackets, graphic t's, bakelite bracelets, silk slip dresses and more, all for a fraction of what they would cost in a curated shop. Get there as early as possible to beat the crowd—we promise the early Sunday morning wake up will be worth it. Bring a bunch of cash–you’ll get five dollars off your purchase when you pay with cash or check—and be prepared to negotiate prices with vendors. // 6am-3pm, 1st Sunday of every month, Alameda Point, 2900 Navy Way (Alameda), alamedapointantiquesfaire.com
Fog City Flea
After you've had your fill of fresh produce, pastries, and coffee at the Ferry Building farmers market, head upstairs to get your hands on over 5,000 square feet worth of goods curated by makers and vendors from the Bay Area and beyond. The popular Sunday flea market is now full-scale brick-and-mortar, occupying the beautifully historic top level of the Ferry Building. Expect the usual well edited selection of vintage, along with art, housewares, and accessories. // 1 Ferry Bldg. (Embarcadero), shoptradingpost.com
Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire
If you just can't get enough of the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, then you'll love the Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire; returning in Fall 2022/Spring 2023, the biannual indoor shopping event features more than 75 booths of vintage from the '40s through the '80s. You'll find pieces for men, women, and children including leather jackets, costume jewelry, overalls, pleated skirts, and suits from vendors across the country at a range of price points. More than just a flea market, the faire promises entertainment, prizes, and a Friday night shopping party with music and cocktails. // Fall 2022 & Spring 2023 date TBD; for updates, go tovintagefashionfaire.com.
Sure, it's moved from Treasure Island to the Marin Center and, thanks to Covid-19, the monthly celebration is currently an annual event, with 2022 dates still to be announced. But let TreasureFest be something to look forward to with roughly 400 vendors and artists, many of them specializing in vintage pieces. It's perfect for those hoping for flea market prices and finds without going all the way to Alameda. Shop vintage jewelry, graphic sweatshirts, denim, and one of a kind pieces, while enjoying the food trucks, cocktails, and live music also on offer at this festival. // Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags (San Rafael), treasurefest.com.
A Current Affair
This virtual pop-up show offers the best in vintage fashion from more than 70 curated retailers and private dealers from across the country, including Arcade, Lofty Vintage, and Fashion by Robert Black. While you'll of course find plenty of vintage classics like Levi's and graphic tees, what you're really looking for is the endless array of the world's best luxury vintage all in one place (and in near perfect condition)—think pastel furs, tiered silk slip dresses, hand painted jackets, dramatic sleeves, turquoise statement jewelry, and head to toe appliquéd pieces. // Watch for live updates on 2022 dates on Instagram or shop online at arcadeshops.com; itsacurrentaffair.com.
Best Thrift Stores in San Francisco
(Courtesy of @communitythriftsf)
Community Thrift Store
While Thrift Town and Mission Thrift may have closed, other longtime neighborhood favorite Community Thrift thankfully still stands. Dig around in this massive warehouse and you're sure to find some hidden gems to add to your wardrobe—from cashmere sweaters and funky dresses to leather purses and colorful jewelry—for a fraction of what they would cost in a curated shop, with proceeds going to Bay Area charities. While you're there, sift through old records, tableware, furniture, books, and more. They also offer free pick-up for furniture donations. // 623 Valencia St. (Mission), communitythriftsf.org
Thrifting aficionados know that if you do it right, thanks to dirt cheap prices and an ever changing inventory, Goodwill has the city's best vintage and second hand finds. The key? Be ready to dig through rack after rack, and don't give up if you don't have luck one day—the occasional designer piece, wool sweater, tacky-chic pair of plastic earrings or floral vintage cotton dress someone just dug out of their grandmother's closet might come in tomorrow, and you want to be the one to find them. While the expansive Goodwill located in the Haight (aka the thrifting mecca of the city) is great, you'll be searching for hidden gems with tons of people, so head off the beaten path for the real gems. // Locations across the city, sfgoodwill.org