Roy G. Biv says: Hello, Uniqlo

Uniq – what? Meet the new guy in town, Uniqlo, who just moved into the old DSW location on Powell Street in downtown San Francisco. In case you’ve been living under a rock, their grand opening on October 5th caused a shopping frenzy like no other: a side street was closed off to corral eager shoppers all day, security guards acted like bouncers at a night club, and the long lines lasted well after the grand opening weekend had passed.

Unlike their trendier neighbor H&M across the street, Uniqlo is a Japanese retailer who is all about delivering casual, comfy, and quality basics to their consumers, Roy G. Biv style. Think of them like the Gap, only they aren’t trying so hard to be trendy. With an endless supply of the colors of the rainbow throughout the store, I was sure I would find my pot of gold somewhere.

I finally had the chance to check them out two weeks after they opened and I was utterly surprised that there was no line. I headed straight for the coveted straight skinny colored jeans on promo for $9.90 a pair – but to my dismay, it was slim pickings for a slim pair. I moped around the store and almost settled on a pair of jeggings when I spied a pot of gold in the form of a tiny bin marked “clearance.” There were only a few items in there, mostly stained or damaged in some way, but that is where I found my two pairs of skinny colored denim in my size. They were “damaged” because the alteration must’ve been too short for whoever it was originally meant for, but they were my perfect inseam. Did I mention they hem your pants in house for just $5?

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is an excellent place to shop with your significant other. Not only do they have every color imaginable, but because of their very basic designs, it is easy to get a male and a female version of the same thing. Sadie Hawkins attendees, your prayers have been answered!

Although I’m not a fan of plain basic aka boring pieces, they do have their place in my closet. My favorites so far: ultra stretch color jeans, ultra light down jackets & vests, all of their coats, Heattech lounge wear, and cashmere sweaters.

I’ve always been a dark denim type of gal, but I’ve finally jumped on the colored jeans bandwagon. My final purchases: 2 pairs of colored jeans (red and green), 1 pair of regular jeans, and 1 navy blouse for a grand total of $30. It must be the luck of the Irish; just call me Victoria O’Brien from now on.

How do you like my wild prints paired with the colored pairs? Rawr!

Vintage Fashion Expo: WINNING

You know the saying, “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack”? Well, I found that needle twice, no, make that three times. Except that the haystack was the Vintage Fashion Expo, and the needles were my three vintageous purchases. After an S&M-ish detour around Folsom Street Festival, I arrived at the Expo late Sunday afternoon. I suppose it was due to the moat of bondage clad half naked bodies outside, and the fact that it was late in the day, but the exhibition center was surprisingly quiet. This meant less crowds to fight through, less rushed shopping, and overall more bargaining power.

My first stop was at Aubergine Vintage. Clearly, they brought everything with them as well as the kitchen sink. Racks among racks of dresses, skirts, maxi dresses, slips, sweaters, hats, vintage Dooney & Bourke, boots, 70s polyester, 80s shoulder pads, and so much more. Everything was tagged with pricing, which eliminated the need for bargaining. Additionally, their prices were surprising very reasonable. I talked to Sarah, the store manager, and found out that they obtain most of their treasures from Texas and Europe. Oooh la la, French laundry direct from the the City of Lights? Cowboy boots straight from the “everything is bigger” state? I wanted to know, what was the most amazing thing that they have come across? “Recently there was a pristine vintage Burberry quintessential trench coat, and those go for $3,000. It was spectacular; amazing,” gushed Sarah. Wow was all I could say to that. I made off with two dresses in impeccable condition for $32 – the fact that they were petite sized was an added bonus!

Energized from my purchases from Aubergine, I proceeded next door to Donnaland, where they had a wide range of clothing and a killer jewelry collection to boot. It was the ultimate one stop shop for a complete outfit. Although her price points were higher, they were still far better than some of the other vendors there, and fast talking Donna was ready to wheel n’ deal. Donna had a personality as big as her vintage collection, and after speaking with her I know why: she’s been in the business since 1982. “I used to have the world’s largest wholesale deadstock company in St. Louis, Missouri for 24 years. I would travel all over the world to buy whole factories of clothing,” she explained. I hovered over the jewelry trays for a long time and contemplated a pair of gold toned 60’s clip on earrings until my eyes landed on a lovely sequined number hanging by the fur coats. Initially I wasn’t thinking of buying it until an impromptu entourage of gals threw compliments my way as I tried it on. “Ooooh it looks good on you girl!” said one. “I see it with a pair of ripped jeans!” added another. With my ego inflated, I was convinced I needed it in my closet, and I tried my hand at wheeling and dealing but didn’t move the needle much. The verdict: $37 for a fully lined sequined wool top, and not a sequin out of place. Thank you Donnaland, I shall return next year.

All I could do for the remaining 15 minutes left until the Expo’s close was to drink up the sights with my eyes (and camera) as vendors began packing their worldly goods away. It was a successful day: I spent $69 for three awesome pieces and still had money leftover to buy a ticket to the Vintage Couture Ball. I don’t quote Charlie Sheen much (or ever), but it seems fitting in this case: WINNING.