Shopping guides

Here are my favorite shops in San Francisco, Paris and Amsterdam. I will be posting shopping guides for Berlin and other cities. So keep checking or sign up for our newsletter by emailing me (info[at]


The best shopping for men’s clothing in San Francisco is in Hayes Valley, a neighborhood next to the Civic Center / City Hall. For women’s clothes, it’s all over the place: Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights, Valencia and 16th  Streets in the Mission, downtown Union Square, and Union Street in Cow Hollow.

San Francisco shops do the rugged urban look very well. Locals love European brands like G-Star Raw and Diesel, and US designers such as Marc Jacobs. This is not the city for sophisticated Italian look, but I am partial to it, so I go anyway to the Max Mara store in downtown SF.  Unfortunately the locals’ lack of interest in what they wear means shoe shopping is a catastrophe in this city. The Gucci and Prada stores in San Francisco do not carry a collection that even comes near what their Milan, Rome and Paris stores have on offer. This is a jeans-and-sneakers kind of town.

Azalea: Women’s and men’s clothing store in Hayes Valley; carries APC, James Perse, Toki-Doki’s quirky t-shirts, designer jeans from Acne (a trendy Swedish brand), and many others; excellent nail spa for manicures and pedicures.

411 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
+1 415 861 9888

Nomads: just down the street from Azalea, this shop carries G-Star Raw and other men’s clothing brands for guys who want to look sporty but still chic.

556 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
+1 415 864 5692

MAC / Modern Appeal Clothing: also in Hayes Valley is one of the few boutiques in Northern California that carries an astounding selection of clothing from young Belgian, Japanese and French designers. The men’s and women’s clothes are stunning and the service is impeccable.

Modern Appeal Clothing
387 Grove Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
+1 415 863 3011

Rickshaw Bagworks: Looking for a cool messenger bag that’s made locally in San Francisco and inspired by the urban cycling culture? Check out Rickshaw Bagworks. They have messenger bags of varying sizes and colors with efficiently divided pockets and slots, perfect for gadget freaks. Read my review of Rickshaw Bagworks on NBC Bay Area news.

Rickshaw Bagworks
904 22nd Street,
San Francisco, CA 94107
+1 415 904 8368

Max Mara: Luxurious, elegant and understated, Max Mara is the place where women go to find the most exquisite coats, jackets and dresses. This Italian company does not believe in adorning their customers’ bodies with vulgar logos, so all their efforts go into impeccable tailoring and fabric. Their Sportmax and ‘S Max Mara lines are my favorites: younger, sportier and more fashion-forward. Service is outstanding. Max Mara is best known for its coats, but everything else is just as impressive.

Max Mara
175 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94108
+1 415 981 0900

Max & Co.: the younger “sister” of the Max Mara group targets women in their 20s and early 30s, but the styles can be worn by older women as well. Trendy, urban mix and match pieces, and reasonable prices make Max & Co. very attractive to shoppers who don’t feel like splurging on Max Mara and Sportmax.

Max & Co.
Westfield San Francisco Centre
865 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Sun Hee Moon: local San Francisco designer who makes urban “classic” womenswear such as A-line skirts and dresses that are sporty and girly at the same time (for the modern Audrey Hepburn, according to their website).  She has three locations in San Francisco. My favorite is store on 16th Street in the MIssion.

Sun Hee Moon
3167 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
+1 415 355 1800

Marc by Marc Jacobs: the less expensive women’s and men’s clothing line of American designer Marc Jacobs (who also designs for Louis Vuitton) is all about urban chic. His specialty: gorgeous quirky dresses that make you stand out in a crowd, adorable coats, and the best fitting cotton twill trousers for men and women.

Marc by Marc Jacobs
2142 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
+1 415 447 9322

Hlaska: chic laptop bags for people who don’t want to look like geeks. They also make beautiful brief cases, brief bags and wallets. Read my Hlaska review on NBC Bay Area News.

2033 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA
+1 415 440 1999

Hideo Wakamatsu: never look like a dweeb again when you’re traveling. Wakamatsu’s fabulous trolleys, luggage, backpacks and weekend bags ensure that despite the airlines and the TSA, you can still feel good when you travel. Read my article about Wakamatsu on NBC Bay Area news.

Hideo Wakamatsu
563 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
+1 415 255 3029

Cop.Copine: quirky French chic, very feminine style that is urban and eclectic. Read review.

343 Powell Street (at Post)
San Francisco, CA
+1 415 989 9035

Villains and Villains Vault: one of the best places in SF to get casual, sporty menswear (and womenswear). They carry G-Star Raw, Diesel and the major jeans brands such as 7 for all Mankind. Large selection of jackets and hoodies.

1672 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
+1 415 626 5939

Villains Vault
1653 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
+1 415 864 7727

Rolo: Located in the Castro, the only neighborhood in San Francisco where you find guys who really care about their looks, Rolo carries a terrific selection of gorgeous sweaters, jackets, coats, jeans, shirts – everything for the stylish man.

2351 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
+1 415 431 4545

Bloomingdales: if you must go to a department store, go to Bloomingdales in the Westfield Shopping Centre, downtown SF. Since it opened only recently, it’s modern, light and airy. It is conveniently located above the Powell Street BART and Muni underground stations. Bloomingdales has the best beauty department in San Francisco. Space NK, my favorite London beauty shop, just opened a small space selling their best products (e.g. Eve Lom’s skincare).

Westfield San Francisco Centre
845 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
+1 415 856 5300


It’s impossible to come up with a Paris shopping guide that fits on one page but I’ll try. Here’s a small selection of boutiques I always visit when I am in Paris.

For women’s clothing, I like the modern, chic French style exemplified by agnes b. Budget versions of this look can be found at Comptoir des Cotonniers. My other favorite is Sportmax: they have a boutique in the 7th arrondissement. There are so few Sportmax boutiques around the world. Max Mara stores carry Sportmax but not the entire collection.

I love shoes and Paris is the place to shop for fabulous shoes (although Milan and Rome are just as good). All you have to do is walk down the rue de Rennes on the Left Bank. I’ve included my favorite shoe store on that street: Christian Louboutin.

For men, Killiwatch is the place to shop for the French “grunge” look. Kitsune, a quirky Japanese brand, has just opened a boutique.

Agnes b.: the epitome of French chic, but the modern, urban version. Her Agnes Troublé began making clothes for her friends in the early 1970s, setting up her art gallery/shop in the Les Halles area when it was still home to butcher shops and flower stalls. Today, agnes b. has shops al over Paris, but my favorite remains the original space on the rue du Jour which has a raw, loft-like quality. The other store I visit is on rue du Vieux Colombier on the Left Bank, close to the St. Sulpice church. Unlike other brands, agnes b. despises marketing and does not advertise. She actively supports young artists (several of her shops are also galleries). It’s not surprising that she has a large group of loyal customers around the world. Her clothes for men and women are stylish and funky, elegant and playful. Best place to shop for clothes in Paris.

6, rue du Jour
75001 Paris
+33 1 45 08 56 56

6, rue du Vieux Colombier
75006 Paris
+33 1 44 39 02 60

Comptoir des Cotonniers: if you are on a tight budget but you love the agnes b. look, this chain of boutiques, which can be found all over Europe (and recently New York City), is the key to understated, relaxed French style. I love their summer dresses which evoke the Côte d’Azur when there were only fishing villages and a young Brigitte Bardot was riding around on a moto. The spring coats are also a must: unlike Max Mara and Sportmax which can be too overwhelmingly Milan-chic, CDC does a more innocent look. Great place for neutral toned basics like t-shirts, cardigans and trousers.

Place St. Sulpice (flagship store)
Paris, France

10, rue du Jour
75001 Paris
+33 1 53 40 75 77

Claudie Pierlot: like agnes b., Claudie Pierlot does French style very well. This is a good place to shop for knitwear: cardigans, sweaters and dresses.

1 rue Montmartre
75001 Paris
+33 1 42 21 38 38

Sportmax: the younger, funkier sister of Max Mara, Sportmax makes gorgeous coats, dresses and jackets that truly stand out. This is my second favorite place to shop in Paris, after agnes b.

72, rue des Saints Peres
75007 Paris
+33 1 45 49 22 03

Christian Louboutin: no one does chic, sexy high-heels like Louboutin. They’re comfortable despite the vertiginous, vertigo-inducing heights. The rue de Grenelle shop is opulent and quirky at the same time. Worth a visit even if you won’t be buying shoes.

38, rue de Grenelle
Paris,  France
+33 1 42 22 33 07

Parfums Frederic Malle: I love this perfume boutique on the rue de Grenelle across Louboutin. These mysterious perfumes – created by some of the greatest “noses” in the world (such as Jean-Claude Ellena and Dominique Ropion) – are unique because they were not the brainchild of a large company’s marketing department. Each perfume bears the name of the person who created it (and its creator had been given the freedom to create whatever he or she wanted). Extremely limited distribution ensures you won’t smell like everyone else (least of all Britney Spears).

37, rue de Grenelle
Paris, France
+33 1 42 22 76 40

Kitsune: funky men’s and women’s clothing from Japan; check out their music CD compilations, too.

52, rue de Richelieu
75001 Paris
+33 1 42 60 34 28

Colette: a concept store that is art, entertainment and retail therapy rolled into one giant space on the rue St. Honoré. This is the place to find clothes for men and women, accessories, perfume, candles, and other pieces you can’t find anywhere else.

213, rue Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris
+33 1 55 35 33 90

Kiliwatch: trendy menswear, urban warrior style

64, Rue Tiquetonne
75002 Paris
+33 1 4221 1737

Assouline: this is the headquarters of the Assouline publishing house which specializes in “fine illustrated books, luxury editions and an exquisite gift line dedicated to fashion, photography, art and design.”

35 rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris
+33 1 43 29 23 20

Merci: new concept store that sells books, furniture, flowers, designer clothing (40% off), Annick Goutal perfumes (also 40% off) in a light industrial space in the 11th arrondissement near the Marais. They donate all of their profits to charities that help poor children.

111, boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris
+ 33 1 42 77 10 38


Amsterdam’s casual style resembles that of San Francisco. No elegant jackets with fur collars here. No Louboutin high heels. The Amsterdam look is pure raw urban street style which is the specialty of Dutch fashion company, G-Star Raw. The best clothes shopping for men in Amsterdam can be found at Diesel, G-Star Raw, and the boutiques in the Nine Streets (Negen Straatjes) neighborhood. For women’s clothing, you can go to agnes b. and Van Ravenstein if you want a more sophisticated look.

Nine Streets Neighborhood

Donna Fiera: trendy young women’s clothing, mostly from Italy and Scandinavia; chic yet sporty.

Huidenstraat 18
1016 ES Amsterdam
+31 20 428 9250

Lock, Stock and Barrel: urban chic look for men and women; they carry Filippa K, my favorite Swedish brand, as well as accessories, bags and belts.

Hartenstraat 26
1016 CC Amsterdam
+31 20 421 3348

Van Ravenstein: if you like Belgian designers such as Dries van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Martin Margiela, Veronique Branquinho and Ann Demeulemeester but have not time to shop in Antwerp, Van Ravenstein is the place to shop. It’s also one of the few places in the Netherlands where you can find Balenciaga and Givenchy. I like the shoes and bags at this store.

Keizersgracht 359
1016 EJ Amsterdam
+31 20 639 0067

Skins Cosmetics: the only place to find all of your favorite (but not mainstream) perfumes such as Creed, Diptyque, Coudray, Parfums Frederic Malle and beauty brands such as Laura Mercier, Nars, Nuxe, Ren, Aesop, Dr. Sebagh.

Runstraat 9
1016 GJ Amsterdam
+31 20 528 6922

Cortina Paper: if you love high-quality paper goods such as leather-bound blank notebooks from Italy, stationery, writing paper, gift wrapping paper, note pads, Cortina Paper has them all. They also have beautiful pens and pencils from Germany and Japan. A must-see for the paper lover.

Reestraat 22
1016 DN Amsterdam
+31 20 623 6676

Centrum (Rokin, Leidsestraat)

The center of Amsterdam is where you find the chain stores such as Zara and Mango, and the main department store, de Bijenkorf, which is not worth visiting. There is only one place I would recommend: the agnes b. store on the Rokin.

Agnes b.: classic yet modern French style for women and men; they also carry watches, bags, shoes and belts. This is my favorite place to shop for women’s clothes.

Rokin 126
1012 LC Amsterdam
+31 20 627 1465

Filippa K: menswear and womenswear by a Swedish firm that believes in minimalism and simplicity. They do the “basics” well: white shirts, lightweight wool trousers, jackets. The PC Hooftstraat store carries men’s and women’s clothing.

Leidsestraat 53 (women’s collection only)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 625 9006

PC Hooftstraat 129
Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 673 2343