He Wears It Well: The Haute 5 Men’s Boutiques in San Francisco

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It’s almost the weekend, and with today’s Haute 5 picks of some of the best men’s boutiques that San Francisco has to offer, there is absolutely no excuse for not making grand entrances as the dapperest of dons at any of your VIP parties.

Wilkes Bashford

Whether Union Square is your favorite part of town, or the Palo Alto area calls to your luxury fantasies, you’ll be all set at either shopping venue because they are both home to Wilkes Bashford boutiques. In Union Square, the atelier set up shop back in 1966 and quickly went on to establish his name as one synonymous with upscale men’s fashions. Brioni and Ralph Lauren are some of his claims to fame. He rode the wings of success to open a second locale in Palo Alto in 2001, to cater to the Silicon Valley crowd. Late last year, luxury lovers breathed a sigh of relief when a “going out of business” scare was squelched after he reorganized the brand under the Mitchells/Richards/Marshs name.

Wilkes Bashford Union Square is located at 375 Sutter St.; 415.986.4380. Wilkes Bashford Palo Alto is located at 450 Stanford Shopping Center; 650.322.7080.

Black Fleece by Brooks Bros.

Naturally we couldn’t mention men’s fashions without bringing up the Brooks Bros. brand, and with a mention of that luxury label, we are drawn to talk about the new Black Fleece by Brooks Bros. boutique. The opening of this brand in our City by the Bay is quite a compliment, considering that this is only their second U.S. outpost, with the other residing on Bleecker Street in NYC. Earlier this month, the luxe store served as the venue for one of the most fashionably attended SF events: a dinner in honor of Jennifer Siebel Newsom and her upcoming film Miss Representation. Brooks Brothers Chairman and CEO Claudio del Vecchio and Black Fleece designer Thom Browne stopped into town for the occasion, where SFLuxe reported that even Mayor Gavin Newsom was quite impressed. “I can say, having been around this town a while, this is a pretty impressive crowd. You got the right folks here!” According to SFLuxe’s reporting, guests at the dinner already decked out in Black Fleece included Geoff Callan in a Black Fleece three-button jacket ($900) and tartan trousers with mother-of-pearl buttons ($400) and Sex and the City’s Jason Lewis in a three-button basketweave suit ($1,600). For more coverage and event photos check out SFLuxe‘s full report.

Black Fleece by Brooks Bros. is located at 2223 Fillmore Street (between Clay and Sacramento)


We can think of very few names that evoke imagery of the world of the affluent more so than Hermes. Whether shopping for a fine French silk tie, or leather goods fit for a king, Hermes is one of the it boutiques for men who have achieved certain levels of success and stature. For 2010, the Spring collection delivers “what men want now” with a line chock-full of perfectly cut trousers, with a palette of brown and blue as the ruling hues.

Hermes is located at 125 Grant Ave.; 415.391.7200

Paul Smith

If we weren’t breathing a sigh of relief in 2009 that Wilkes Bashford would continue to feed our need for luxury goods, then we were squealing with delight that Paul Smith opened his doors with a 10-year lease on Geary Street. Even Vanity Fair came to town to fete the designer extraordinaire last spring. Smith, whose blog posts appear on Vogue.com, commented on March 6, 2009, the day of the opening:

“I have been visiting San Francisco for many years, in fact since my hippy days in Haight – Ashbury. Although it is a very big city it feels far more intimate and friendly than many, so I am really pleased to be opening my shop here. I have chosen Geary St, which I think is a great location, even though it is not the Union Square end. I instantly fell in love with the building because of its strong 1950’s façade; a strong, graphic piece of architecture. Inside I have tried to make a series of rooms, each with their own character so that visiting the store is a really special experience where you can really discover things, as we will not be selling just clothes and accessories for men and women but books, objects, curiosities and much more. As with all my shops I hope this shop will be like no other, full of its own character and individuality.”

Paul Smith is located at 50 Geary St.; 415 352 3520

Ralph Lauren

If you were headed out to Palo Alto to check in with Wilkes Bashford, might as well make a stop in to say his to his good friend Ralph Lauren. The good news for 2010 is that if you happen to be near the Pacific Heights area and craving some RL, you are in luck. WWD reported that the opening of the new boutique in Pacific Heights “was packed with friends like Vanessa Getty, Alexis Traina, Katie Traina, and Marissa Mayer. But regardless of who was or was not there, the fact still remains that for a sophisticated look that demands respect, very little should come between you and your polo.

Ralph Lauren in Palo Alto is located at 650 Stanford Shopping Center; 650.326.1710

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