what's the best thrift store in San Francisco?
February 6, 2007 10:51 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite thrift or specialty clothing stores in San Francisco?

I'm going to a costume-ish party on the 17th where the theme is basically "classy eveningwear." I'd like to wear a top hat, a monocle, some appropriate jacket/shirt/pants combo, and carry a cane. The event is also "slippers only," so some classy casual footwear would also be helpful.

Apart from the hat/monocle/cane bit, I'm not even sure WHAT to buy (spats?). The more pressing question, though, is WHERE. I think once I find the right store or stores, I'll know the other stuff when I see it. I live in San Francisco, the Mission and Castro are both very close to home, and I'd like to get this stuff cheaply if I can, so higher-end costume stores may not be ideal. I'll take any suggestions you have though!
posted by autojack to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure about men's evening wear, but I've found some nice women's dresses at the Crossroads on Fillmore at Bush (I haven't had as much luck at the other Crossroads throughout the city; this place has name-brand stuff cheap). The Salvation Army farther south on Fillmore, by the Kabuki theater, also often seems to have evening wear.

There are also a bunch of used clothing stores in the Haight, one of which (I can never remember the name) is organized by decade and probably has at least a few things you could use.
posted by occhiblu at 11:05 PM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

For cheap, I'm fond of Clothes Contact, on Valencia near 15th (though like all thrift shops, it can be hit-or-miss sometimes). They sell everything by the pound.

Allow enough time for cleaning... the place has always had a funky smell that seems to get into everything sold there.
posted by toxic at 11:08 PM on February 6, 2007

Your best bet is to wander around, as occhiblu implies. Haight st. is one good place to do so - tons of used clothing stores there.

Another place is Valencia/Mission from about 17th to 22nd. I recommend Shauplatz at Valencia/17th if you're looking for classy clothes. And for something really unique, maybe a Zoot Suit from Siegel's on Mission St?
posted by vacapinta at 11:15 PM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

The first time I ever went to a Buffalo Exchange, it was the one in SF, in the Haight I believe. It's an actual chain thrift store, with a decent selection, and moderate prices (less than you pay new, more than Salvation Army). Now I live at the Buffalo Exchange in Philly. It's a great store. They often have some weird things.
posted by nursegracer at 4:18 AM on February 7, 2007

if you're going to go white tie, you'll want a nice tailcoat, matching pants, bow tie and waistcoat. i got a very nice formal suit with tails at wasteland, on haight street. it was about 100 bucks for the pants and jacket.

there are, i think, better places to get thrift-store everyday clothing on haight, but wasteland has a certain costume-y bent to their selection, which makes it good for things like this.

i think i've been to the one occhiblu can't remember the name of (is it la rosa? i can't remember either, but it sounds right.) but found it rather expensive. however the clothes were very, very nice.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 5:34 AM on February 7, 2007

Keep in mind that used clothing sold in a store that indicates it carries "vintage" clothing will be (way) more expensiven than clothes sold in your garden-variety Goodwill shop. There's a place in Noe valley - on the south side of 24th st, somewhere around Castro - that has had some really nice vintage stuff. They mostly carry women's clothing, but the last time I was in, they had some cool tux/tails jackets and trousers. Not cheap, but less expenensive than the place in the Haight (the la rosa place - yes, gorgeous clothes, and you pay for it!).
posted by rtha at 9:15 AM on February 7, 2007

Yep, sergeant sandwich, I was indeed thinking of La Rosa. (And now that I know that, I realized that I don't think I've ever actually known its name.)
posted by occhiblu at 9:16 AM on February 7, 2007

Be sure to check Mission Thrift on Mission Street, near 20th or so. It's really reasonably priced and not your usual thrift store. it's really more a middle ground between expensive "vintage" stores like La Rosa and your basic Goodwill. They have all sorts of cool costume-y stuff and are super nice and they're always playing really awesome music. I love Mission Thrift. Also, it's right by a really good Goodwill (also on Mission but about a half block north). They get a lot of good stuff at that store.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:38 AM on February 7, 2007

Also on Haight is Held Over, which is I think the place occhiblu was speaking of that's arranged by decade. Good stuff, reasonable prices but slightly snottier sales people, in my experience.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:41 AM on February 7, 2007

Huh. Maybe I was thinking of Held Over. I'll stop guessing now!
posted by occhiblu at 10:47 AM on February 7, 2007

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