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Photograph: Courtesy ReLove

The best thrift stores and resale shops in San Francisco

Score great finds and save a few bucks at the best thrift stores in San Francisco

By Gail Goldberg

From the Mission to the Haight to Pacific Heights, the hills are alive with an amazing array of secondhand shops. Whether one's shopping preferences skew designer, vintage or classic-slash-comfy, finding what you're looking for—and things you didn't even know you needed—is easy. Thanks to San Francisco residents with eclectic tastes and sky-high rents to pay, the city's thrift scene (including consignment and buy/sell/trade stores) is thriving, and pulsing with a constant flow of new fashion items. These gently worn goodies make for cool souvenirs, and add Bay Area flair to your wardrobe wherever you roam. That they're reasonably priced and recycled? Even better.

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Thrift stores in San Francisco

1. Crossroads Trading Co.

Shopping Pacific Heights

Opened in 1991, the very first Crossroads store is packed with a seasonal inventory of contemporary clothing and accessories for men and women. Located on Fillmore Street (Pacific Heights' main retail drag), it should be no surprise that there's lots of fashionable secondhand treasure to be hunted here. Keep your eye out for incredible deals on designer handbags and shoes, leather jackets and one of the best selections of denim in town. Should the mood strike, you can literally sell the shirt off your back, on the spot—for 33% of the sell price, or 50% in trade. The now-national chain has three other stores in the city.

Cris Consignment
Photograph: Courtesy Cris Consignment

2. Cris Consignment

Shopping Nob Hill

This Nob Hill boutique is worth a visit for ladies and gents who get weak-kneed at the prospect of high-end labels, like Chanel, Giorgio Armani and Gucci, at reasonable prices. (Department store brands are also available.) All the classic and contemporary dresses, shirts, suits and accessories—arranged by color— are in stellar condition. And since the clean, bright space is on the smallish side, poring through racks and ogling shelves doesn't feel overwhelming…even for not-a-fan-of-shopping-types.  

Photograph: Courtesy Goodbyes

3. Goodbyes

Shopping Presidio Heights

This longtime Presidio Heights mini chain consists of three stores clustered along the west end of Sacramento St.: the men's and women's sale stores are next-door neighbors, and the women's store lives just across the street. Gently used clothing and accessories from familiar labels for work, weekend and special events are found in abundance. Merchandise turns over frequently, with new items added weekly. Plus, a smattering of designer labels can also be found here if you're willing to do a little digging; the shoe selection is especially drool-worthy. And most prices will knock your socks off.

4. Wasteland

Shopping Jewelry Upper Haight

Synonymous with cool, edgy vintage, this thirty-something Haight Street stalwart is a must-shop. Along with true vintage finds from the '60s to '90s, the cavernous space is rife with vintage-inspired clothing from the aughts to present-day. You'll see everything from denim jumpsuits and grungy plaid to awesome band tees and one-of-a-kinds, courtesy of contemporary and high-end brands. Serious shoppers could easily spend an afternoon flipping through racks, trying on shoes and reminiscing about the good old days (Summer of Love, perhaps?).

Sui Generis Consignment
Photograph: Courtesy Sui Generis Consignment

5. Sui Generis Consignment

Shopping The Castro

The local fashion crowd can't get enough of this sophisticated men's boutique. The sharply curated and beautifully appointed Castro shop has also garnered much love from the likes of The New York Time, GQ and Vogue. What's all the fuss about? The stylish assortment of menswear with a focus on European and global labels including  Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Comme de Garcons, Ferragamo and more. Ladies, fret not: the sibling women's shop in Cow Hollow is just as chic and stocked with designer bounty.

Photograph: Yelp/LaVonna W.

6. Fashionphile

Shopping Union Square

Anyone with a thing for luxury handbags (without a perennially fat wallet) should make a pilgrimage to this real-life nirvana. Gently used Chanel Boy Bags, Balenciaga Classic City satchels and Judith Leiber clutches, for example, are sold for a fraction (60%–80%) of their original price. Airy and sophisticated, the space displays the beauties like treasures, and the overall vibe nods to the richness of the designer names that reside there. P.S. You can usually find Hermes Birkins in the house!

Chloe's Closet
Photograph: Yelp/Molly T.

7. Chloe's Closet

Shopping Bernal Heights

Kids need gently worn cute clothes, too. For years, this Bernal Heights favorite has been the go-to for parents looking for play and school clothes, and special occasion-wear for their broods. Along with clean, neatly folded items for newborns to pre-teens, the colorful store is also filled with toys, baby gear and maternity styles. There's another kids-only SF Closet located in the Inner Sunset.

Simply Chic
Photograph: Yelp/Chuleemas W.

8. Simply Chic

Shopping Cow Hollow

For 10 years, this, yes, simply chic upscale resale boutique has been a favorite place for Marina locals and visitors to load up on designer and contemporary labels. Small and sleek, the women's shop, which blends seamlessly into the boutique-laden hood, is chockfull of pre-loved, mint-condition goodies. Think Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Isabel Marant. It's particularly notable for its accessories, although the  selection of dresses, skirts, top and pants are also worth a lookee.

Photograph: Courtesy ReLove

9. ReLove

Shopping Nob Hill

The eclectic and curated mix of true vintage, designer and contemporary pieces that inhabit this cool neighborhood store consistently score high marks from customers. The stylish space with hipster vibes and a welcoming feel is run by buyers who know and adore men's and women's fashion, and are keen to share the (re)love. On any given day, a thrilling hunt may turn up a killer pair of Celine boots, a Mansur Gavriel leather bucket bag, a vintage Jean Paul Gaultier bomber or a pair of Raf Simmons trousers.

10. Buffalo Exchange

Shopping Mission

More fashion-conscious than a typical thrift store and with a higher turnover rate, this buy/sell/trade consignment shop is Crossroads Trading Co.'s closest competitor. Don't be surprised if there's a line of tote bag–hauling locals looking to sell their clothes while the staff combs through someone else's stash. The buyers are trend-focused here; they don't take accept any old ratty T-shirt or stained pair of jeans. Men's and women's racks are separated into adjacent rooms and are filled with everything from silk blouses to leather jackets. (Items are also sorted by size, a nice touch for secondhand shop.) But, unlike Crossroads, footwear is the main attraction here. Shoes are stacked seven shelves high and run the full length of the store.


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