Mens designer resale has always been a thing, either through the local consignment shop or on platforms like eBay, which have been dealing in second-hand Prada for decades. But now second-hand and resale is very squarely in the mainstream, as legacy names like Neiman Marcus invest in online platforms like Fashionphile and startups like The RealReal make initial public offerings on the stock market. I have my own online favorites, but ultimately, still love the thrill of the hunt in person, at physical stores where I can really touch and feel the garments—something I learned living in Milan and shopping at BIVIO. Ever since moving to the city by the bay, I’ve been scouting all the spots to find designer deals, and here are my picks for anyone looking for San Francisco’s Best Mens Designer Resale shops.
Browsing at Sui Generis feels a bit like browsing at Barneys. Everything is appreciably upscale and in impeccable condition, and the prices are commensurate. Of all the resale stores in San Francisco, it’s the most label-centric, with an entire section of suits and black-tie attire (think Tom Ford and Brioni) in addition to shoes, accessories, and ready-to-wear organized by color or theme, like “Japanese workwear” and “leather/mesh” (this is San Francisco after all).
At the men’s store on Market Street, expect to uncover every designer out there, and probably some you’ve never heard of. Prices are generally lower than brand new, apples-to-apples, but Sui is less about finding a steal and more about shopping in a local, independent, well-edited boutique…second-hand or not.
Some neat things I’ve found at Sui Generis:
- Blue-gray unlined suede shirt jacket, Jil Sander
- Tan coated-cotton anorak / rain jacket with bonded seams, Margaret Howell
- Blue pullover cotton sweatshirt with half-zip placket, slightly short and boxy, Maison Margiela
- Black sleeveless sweatshirt with white shoulder stripes, Dior Homme *purchased back in 2012
The guys at Sui also have a collection of ultra-rare pieces, like a Louis Vuitton Bequia Vertical Briefcase (circa Spring-Summer 2006—I bought a bag from the same collection with all my savings that summer) and this Walter Van Bierendonck heather gray sweatshirt with glittery-metallic abstract shapes, which I can almost guarantee came from one of San Francisco’s other style destinations, Modern Appealing Clothing, a place worth an entirely separate blog post. I once found a gray J.W. Anderson merino wool sweater with a lemon on the front and didn’t buy it, regrettably.
There’s also a women’s Sui Generis store on Union Street in the Cow Hollow neighborhood. Head there for exquisite evening gowns, runway pieces, statement shoes, and the odd second-hand Birkin.
This compact but curated shop on Polk Street is as downtown cool as it gets in San Francisco, since so much of the city’s authentic cultural fabric is long gone. The ReLove staff (Michael and Dominique) are friendly and know their shit, as evidenced by their own sartorial prowess. I’ve seen them in overalls, floor-length puffer coats, and bright yellow turtlenecks.
Michael has come to know me and now, whenever I enter, directs me to things he senses I’ll look good in, and I usually do. That kind of personalized service is so rare today, as retail associates are underpaid and checked out. But Michael and Dominique (and owner Delila) always seem to be having fun while they work.
ReLove is a great little spot for both men and women, with a tighter curation than most similar types of stores. While there are sections dedicated to vintage leather biker jackets, denim, and graphic tees, the most exciting designer stuff has its own section, just past the cash wrap on the left. You can thank me later (ladies and gents).
Some neat mens designer resale items I’ve found at ReLove:
- Black insulated technical bomber jacket, Lanvin
- Indigo cotton chore coat, Blue Blue Japan *purchased
- Brown printed silk Cuban-style button-down shirt, Dolce & Gabbana *purchased
- White moth-eaten linen t-shirt, IRO
- Black/champagne M12 cotton polo shirt, Fred Perry *purchased
- Gray blazer-style cardigan sweater, Robert Geller
And I’d be negligent if I didn’t at least mention the selection of womens vintage/resale—it’s fantastic. I always thumb through that section just to see the cool items they’ve arranged, like an orange velvet Lanvin trench coat, Versace baroque-printed sheer minidress, and black stretch leather leggings from The Row.
And the best part? Their prices are really decent, so it’s not going to break the bank, no matter what you find!
Thrifting is a staple pastime on Haight Street and Wasteland is the most polished of the lot. This location is it’s sole Northern California outpost, while there are three in the LA area. Despite being the nicest of the thrift stores on the block, it’s still overstuffed and overwhelming, and I begin to sneeze after breathing in so many errant fibers. But there are gems to be mined for sure, which is why it’s on my list.
The emphasis at Wasteland is on streetwear and trendy things, so expect to find current or very recent ready to wear from the likes of Burberry, Gucci, Balenciaga, Fear of God, Acne Studios, John Elliott, etc.
Some neat things I’ve found at Wasteland:
- Black destroyed over-long t-shirt, Amiri
- Off-white long sleeve t-shirt with red stripes down the side, Miu Miu (when they made menswear)
- Vintage polyamide windbreaker, Stone Island
- Green, purple, and gray silk and suede bomber jacket (gorgeous!!!), Lanvin
I’ve never taken anything home with me from Wasteland, but I still pop in to browse on occasion, on the off chance something fits and is in good condition. However, I have found that generally, items here are a teensy bit shabbier than at the other places, and the prices aren’t amazing. A used designer t-shirt will still set you back upwards of $50.
Goodbyes cracks me up. It’s disorganized, uncurated, and unapologetically old-fashioned, but thanks to its prime location in Laurel Heights (i.e. near a lot of San Francisco old money), there are tons of traditional luxury labels to discover.
Any time you stop in, you’ll be sure to find Brunello Cucinelli sweaters, Prada shirts, and tailored blazers, especially in larger sizes. The aisles are cramped and the prices don’t equate to incredible steals, but an as-new $150 cashmere sweater is better than a $1,000 one, especially if it’s higher quality than what you’ll find at Everlane and its ilk.
Some neat things I’ve found at Goodbyes:
- Charcoal unlined angora blend long coat, Prada
- Gray thick cashmere pullover sweater with button placket and collar, Loro Piana
- Cream mohair oversized sweater, Marni
I’ve also never left Goodbyes with anything, but I love the experience and potential for a jackpot! Stay tuned.
Any of these are worth a stop in to peruse. If you do, make sure to budget some time to really sift through racks, try things on, etc. If I learned anything about IRL second-hand shopping, you have to go often as inventories turn over quickly, and you have to be willing to sniff out the nicer things, which aren’t always front and center.
More broadly, there are some good reasons to at least weave second-hand into your shopping—there’s a lower consumption footprint relative to shopping new and you will probably save some money. And, a lot of apparel, even the most expensive things, aren’t as well made as they once were, so older things actually hold up better. Some of my favorite things were purchased second-hand, and have remained remarkably fresh-looking compared to things I’ve bought new for hundreds of dollars.
Every city should have at least one good second-hand store. Luckily I’m in a cosmopolitan, affluent one, so there are several excellent mens designer resale stores to choose from!