Following the initial numbness caused by extreme excitement and intimidation, I relaxed and had 4 days to explore the people and places that make San Francisco amazing. I made a point to have a fluid itinerary…but focused on neighborhoods I wanted to see and some key activities I felt were important to experience.
Friday 2/10; met one of Kevin’s friends at Cafe du Soleil in Hayes Valley, to discuss work opportunities and the marketing, retail, and merchandising landscape in the city. A couple of big clothing brands are HQed there, most notably Gap and its spinoffs (Banana, Old Navy, Piperlime). Macy’s West and Nordstrom have operations too, as do many others. Primarily though, the city is known for housewares and furniture brands. At the end of the trip, I would have been able to tell this myself. Every street had a home decor shop of varying style and price.
Ken’s advice was to move to the city and make efforts in the industries I’m passionate about. Marketing oneself from 3,000 miles away is more difficult if there are qualified candidates in immediate proximity to the job.
After my niÃ§oise salad and pep talk, I spent my afternoon on a walking tour of the Castro, Mission District, and Noe Valley. Please refer to the map of my route and some of places I liked. Most notably on Friday was happening upon sui Generis ille, a men’s designer consignment that exceeded the awesomeness of the only good men’s consignment I’d been to before (INA in Manhattan).
My favorite piece was a black sleeveless Dior Homme raglan sweatshirt with white stripes. My instant affinity for this item was startling and surprising, since I rarely do sleeveless. Somehow it worked, and I was sold.
I also found a handful of beautiful pieces from Costume National, Yohji Yamamoto, D&G, and Dries Van Noten. None of them fit well (I can only squeak into a small), but they were fun to try on. Consignment shopping is like treasure hunting. Every piece is unique in size and style, so your chances of success are small. But, lightly-used pieces can be appealing because they’ve already been broken in…so you don’t experience “new shirt anxiety” about stretching out or spilling.
Designer aside, I found a “museum worthy” Tom of Finland Tom’s Men black tank top for $25. Straight throwback from the ’70s, Tom of Finland was an icon and still represents part of the gay story in San Francisco and America – so I had to have it.
My only other purchases in the city were a pair of neon American Apparel neon tank tops…which are great for a pop of color under dark top layers or for standing out at the beach. Headband and wristbands to match, of course!
I couldn’t be happier about the gems I found. Way more fulfilling than a $600 trip to Bloomingdale’s. Ouch!
More San Francisco stories to follow.