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Best of the Bay: Style

The t-shirts, print shops, and eyewear that kept us moving fashion forward in 2014.

Jillian West of Electric Blanket.

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Serena & Lily

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Kipper Clothiers

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Epiphany Hotel

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READ MORE: The Rest of the Best of the Bay

Weekend Uniform (Best Tees)
In a city swathed in basics, local “après-surf” brand Marine Layer fulfills the ultimate T-shirt triumvirate: fit (there’s even a Marge size for those who hover between medium and large); preshrunk and fade-proof longevity; and chinchilla-like softness achieved with a blend of Pima cotton and modal. But the new Marine Layer Workshop proves that there’s more to these guys than tees, with limited-edition styles like jackets, maxi dresses, and board shorts. And although this is Marine Layer’s fourth Bay Area store, the brand makes no concessions regarding its “seven-day weekend” philosophy: The office clears out for impromptu beach days when S.F.’s temperature hits 80 degrees. 1572 California St. (near Polk St.), 415-926-5474 Lauren Murrow

Photo Assist (Best Camera Rental)
On those rare occasions when the iPhone isn’t cutting it, there’s Lumoid, a SoMa-based startup that rents cameras, lenses, and professional-grade photography accessories by the day. Scroll through dozens of options from brands like Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Sony (experts can help you parse the models via the site’s live-chat feature), choose your dates, and the equipment is mailed directly to your door. For novice shooters, Lumoid offers handy kits like the Athlete (a full frame DSLR camera and telephoto zoom lens, $41); the Firecracker (a wide-angle zoom for capturing fireworks, $32); and the Adventurist (a GoPro Hero with a head strap, tripod mount, and helmet mount, $12). lumoid.com Sofia Perez

Creative Clubhouse (Best Concept Shop)
Is Electric Blanket a vintage shop? A gallery? An antique store? A coffee cart? The brainchild of artist Jillian West, it’s gleefully, defiantly all those things. West started with a honed collection of retro dresses, heels, and men’s button-downs, then topped it off with flea market finds from her travels through Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris, including hardcover books and antique glassware. She fabricated the shop’s furniture herself, from the hairdresser’s station turned coffee cart to the barn-wood table. The coffee, by L.A.’s Handsome Coffee, is both a pickme-up and a social lure. “I wanted a reason for people to come hang out at the bar,” West says. The attached gallery showcases her vintage-inspired collage art and crowdsourced installation pieces. This summer, Electric Blanket kicks off a performance series featuring readings, storytelling events, music, and film screenings. 3075 17th St. (near Folsom St.), 415-654-5218 L.M.

Couple's Clothier (Best Crossover)
Taylor Stitch is such a closet fixture that the term “Taylor Stitch guy” has become a blanket descriptor for a certain sort of casually dapper San Francisco dude. With its long-awaited second store, the brand shifts its attentions to the opposite sex. Though Taylor Stitch 2.0 maintains its shirting roots, including a private area for custom measurements, the racks are also stocked with the full women’s line, previously only available online. Building on the capsule Indigo collection, codesigners Kate Jones and Samantha Garcia are taking the line in a more polished direction, starting with knit pencil skirts and chambray pants. 2030 Chestnut St. (near Fillmore St.) L.M.

Shredding gear (Best Snow Outfitter)
Burton’s new Haight Street shop is tailored to the Bay Area boarder. You’ll find dozens of boards, boots, and bindings backed by a floorto-ceiling stack of logs (a nod to the brand’s Vermont roots), and if there’s a style that’s not in stock, the staff will have it shipped to your door in three days. The hyper-personalized customer service is provided by a contingent of experienced riders who have personally Tahoe-tested the boards and boots. The hard goods are flanked by a range of apparel, from snow pants for the slopes to windbreakers and rain jackets for weathering the summer fog. 1630 Haight St. (near Clayton St.), 415-231-5700 L.M.

Print Shop (Best 3-D)
Not everyone can afford to drop thousands on a printer. Thankfully, HoneyPoint3D does it for you. The first 3-D printing retail store in California, HoneyPoint3D sells Type A Machines printers to experienced designers and educates dabblers. Novices can enroll in introductory classes, while specialized courses are geared to artists and investors. The shop offers services for rapid prototyping, high-resolution 3-D scanning, and CAD-file generation ($4 per minute). Give them a drawing, photo, or CAD file, and they’ll create a 3-D printed prototype of your design. 6127 La Salle Ave. (near Mountain Blvd.), Oakland, 510-516-6127 L.M.

Snail Mail Revival (Best Stationary)
A turn through the Aesthetic Union makes even the most plugged-in yearn for a pen pal. Coowned by James Tucker and Risa Culbertson, the shop is an ode to the hand-written, hand-printed word. The pair work behind hulking manual presses dating from 1910 and 1984, creating greeting cards, business cards, posters, and small-batch art prints ($25 to $500). The merch includes vintage airmail envelopes, Blackwing pencils, dead-stock stationery, and leather journals—plus Culbertson’s cheeky cards: “Congrats on your divorce!” “I love you more than you love me. But it’s cool.” Put your fancy pencils to good use on Letter Writing Tuesdays, when a kindred crew of snail mail devotees gathers around the shop’s reclaimed wood table. AU provides the stamps. 555 Alabama St. (near 16th St.) L.M.

House Warmer (Best Showroom)
At Serena & Lily’s pretense-free city outpost, hobbyist designers pore over fabric swatches alongside professionals. Everything is easily accessible, from the wall of graphic area rugs to the so-called headboard garage. Chairs, accent tables, and pillows are offset by paintings from Lost Art Salon ($300 to $3,000). It’s so unlike a typical showroom, in fact, that walk-ins may be disappointed to learn that nothing therein can be purchased on the spot. Luckily, there’s next-day delivery. 3457 Sacramento St. (near Laurel St.), 415-580-7078. L.M.

Instagram Upgrade (Best Sharing)
Exposure takes the multiphoto formula of a Facebook slide show or a Tumblr post and kicks the presentation value up a notch—call it photo sharing for aesthetes. Cofounder Luke Beard came up with the service when, after visiting an Estonian prison, he found himself reluctant to reduce the experience to a one-shot upload. The photo-driven story builder provides a sleek platform for publishing personal stories or exploring photo essays uploaded by others. It’s easy to use—just drag and drop photo sets into your browser, then insert headers, captions, or text—and visually striking, featuring full-bleed photos and a clean design. The narratives on the site are grouped by category—the “Weird” series is particularly scrollable. S.P.

Room Facelift (Best Furnishings)
The new 20,000-squarefoot Design Within Reach showroom is the sprawling equivalent of Ikea for high-design snobs, featuring eight houses’ worth of fastidiously furnished bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, and work spaces. Design junkies can ogle several hundred fabric and leather swatches and tour the Dining Test Lab, complete with 70 varieties of chairs. But the real showstopper is the Light Cloud: more than 230 pendant lamps glowing in a nebula of lanterns, satellites, and clusters. Featuring the latest releases from design stars like George Nelson, Achille Castiglioni, and Poul Hennigsen, the Cloud makes a fitting spotlight: DWR was the first to offer many of these names to the public. 200 Kansas St. (near 16th St.), 415-638-4700 L.M.

Bespoke Butch (Best Suiting)
For transmasculine women, formal wear isn’t as simple as neck size and sleeve length. So former J.Crew stylist Kyle Moshrefi teamed up with Erin Berg to launch Kipper Clothiers, a custom suiting (from $1,083) and shirting (from $170) business catering to the LGBT community. Kipper’s tailors take upwards of 40 body measurements to send to the company’s East Coast manufacturer. Clients choose every detail, from the silhouette to the collar, cuff, and lapel styles, fashioned from synthetic-free fabrics by purveyors like Scabal and Holland & Sherry. Your suit or shirt will arrive in four to six weeks, and one round of alterations is on the house. After operating out of a temporary FiDi location for the past year, Kipper christens its permanent brick-and-mortar space in Upper Market this month. 78 Gough St. (near Page St.), 415-890-4431 L.M.

Conference Disrupter (Best Bunkhouse)
At the Epiphany Hotel, even the furniture nods to the tech lifestyle. The boardroom is outfitted with Hoodie chairs: pod-like, plugged-in, noise-shielding thrones. The rooms themselves are packed with design-minded perks like G-Link docks and an array of charging stations. But the most welcome upgrades can be found in the Ideo-designed communal work spaces. Leading the way is the Edison, a flickering, undulating chandelier comprising 100 individually wired LED bulbs. The dual cowering spaces feature fold-down tables with built-in whiteboard surfaces, mobile and adjustable furniture, a surplus of outlets, and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that lead to a terrace lined with Adirondack chairs. 180 Hamilton Ave. (near Emerson St.), Palo Alto, 800-224-6000 L.M.

Iconic Specs (Best Eyewear)
The shuttering of the Warby Parker showroom left a gap in the city’s style-conscious options. (There’s startup Brownie and Madam, sure, but not everyone wants to meet a stylist just to try on glasses.) Fortunately, Oliver Peoples delivers quality frames without gimmicks (from $265). Befitting a brand that started out dealing in dead-stock eyewear, the frames are inspired by silhouettes from the ’40s to the ’70s. Some reference pop culture icons—Gregory Peck, Andy Warhol—while others are collaborations with fashion labels like Kitsuné and Isabel Marant. Prescription lenses are available onsite, and double rivets and seven-barrel hinges add extra durability. 140 Grant Ave. (near Post St.), 415-362-3222 L.M.

Foodie Offerings (Best Tableware)
Thomas Keller is, of course, known for his food. Now his first retail endeavor, Finesse, unveils the tools behind it. The merchandise features hardto-find kitchen gear and gifts selected by chefs. You’ll find Mac knife sets ($900); exotic salts from France, England, and Japan; porcelain bowls from South Korea; and coffee table–worthy cookbooks. The sheepskin rugs from Elysian Fields Farm in Pennsylvania are sourced from the same purebred lambs whose chops appear on the menu at the French Laundry. 6540 Washington St. (near Humboldt St.), Yountville, 707-363-9552 L.M.

Ring Leader (Best Jewelry)
Tucked away on a little trafficked block of Octavia for the past three years, Reliquary has always had a hidden-gem feel. Last month, the shop jumped to Hayes Valley’s boutique-laden main drag, nearly doubling its size. The glinting loot ranges from antique styles—Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, and deco among them—to owner Leah Bershad’s modern travel finds from New England to South America ($75 to $6,000). The rare collection blends the best of both worlds: New Age turquoise with old-world gemstones; delicate lockets beside chunky biker rings. 544 Hayes St. (near Octavia St.), 415-431-3000 L.M.

Gym Garb (Best Spandex)
That stereotype about Marina chicks living in Lululemon? Nike’s latest outpost is giving the yoga chain a run for its money. This 2,000-square-foot runner’s hub caters to women. Neon spandex lines the walls, from running shorts to jackets, along with training gear like medicine balls and fitness trackers. The shoes are grouped into categories—studio, gym, high-intensity, racing, barefoot, neutral, and stable—and staffers conduct gait analyses on an in-store treadmill. True, some of the perks are smirk-worthy—sports-bra fitting services, free pant-hemming—but when it comes to high-performing workout wear and running shoes, Nike delivers. 2071 Union St. (near Webster St.), 415-474-1915 L.M.

 

Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco

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