Haute Secrets: Stylist Mary Gonsalves Kinney’s Fashionable Guide to the Bay Area

Photo Credit: Lauri Levenfeld

Although many people don’t consider San Francisco to be a fashion city, one stylist is proving all those skeptics wrong. Whether she’s dressing local luminaries like women’s advocate Jennifer Siebel Newsom or providing her Super Bowl outfit tips to the masses, Mary Gonsalves Kinney is on mission to make the Bay Area a more stylish place. The mother-of-three and gal-about-town lives in Sacramento (with her husband, Jason Kinney, a political powerhouse consultant), but spends much of her time running around — in studded Valentino heels, of course — San Francisco. We’re such huge fans of Kinney’s chic style, exciting looks, and friendly older sister vibe, that we had to find out where she hangs out. Here, in her own words, are Mary Gonsalves Kinney’s secret SF spots.

Where were you born: Sacramento, California

How long in San Francisco: I actually live in Sacramento though I have lived in San Francisco, the East Bay (UC Berkeley grad) and Washington D.C. before eventually coming back to my birthplace. My husband is a public affairs consultant and I used to be a contract lobbyist before venturing out into fashion. So, Sacramento remains home to my family of five (two daughters and a son) still at least for now. My work, however, is primarily in San Francisco (yes, I commute three to four days a week), LA once a month and New York every three to four months.

Neighborhood: I’m still a die hard for the Presidio and I love Dolores Park and Hayes Valley.

Occupation: Wardrobe Stylist/Image Consultant

Favorite Restaurant: Kokkari, Spruce (at the bar), and Hakkasan when I’m working downtown because their staff is so sweet and they always get me a table.

Best Sushi: We Be Sushi in the Mission and Roka Akor.

Best Italian: Cotogna, hands down.

Best dessert: Tartine Bakery and Smitten because I’m an ice cream fanatic.

Best place for a romantic date: Quince or Foreign Cinema

Best Sunday brunch: Cavalier, Ella’s and when my kids are in town, Dottie’s True Blue Cafe.

Best place for a power business meeting: In my business, the Rotunda. Popovers, proposals and champagne! I have a regular seat at Café de la Presse or Campton Place because they have a “fashion menu” of tuna tartare, Mediterranean salads, champagne and cappuccinos. I get a lot of solid work done here — no, really!

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? St. Regis or the new Viceroy (for my brother is the new Director there).

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Aside from my usual “pull” haunts like Barneys, Valentino, Chanel, Margiela, and Neiman Marcus, I like to sneak into Betty Lin Boutique on Sacramento Street and McMullen Boutique in Piedmont. Both stores have great buys of unique, European designers and the owners are lovely.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Stephen Silver Jewelry at the Rosewood.

Best Spa: Solage

Favorite Charity Event: The Shanti Project’s Gala chaired by Bahya Murad.

Favorite Cultural Event: San Francisco Symphony Gala

Favorite Cultural Institution: Probably Gay Pride. We take our three kids most years and it is always the most beautiful and most fun gathering of people.

Best Steakhouse: I don’t eat meat, so I need to pass on this one.

Best Pizza: Zachary’s in Berkeley Go Bears!

Best Lunch: I still love a glamorous lunch at the Rotunda or a Parisian-inspired bite al fresco at Café de la Presse.

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Soul Cycle, Equinox OR an amazing run through the Presidio.

Best Massage: What’s that? It has been a few years, but Solage. For sure.

Best Limousine/Driving Service: I have a driver so props to him! Go Gary! I can’t do this commute alone.

Best Museum/Exhibit: Museum of Modern Art and I love attending pop-up art exhibits like Paris’ Gallerie Perotin I attended recently with my French brother-in-law.

Describe your city in three words: San Francisco is inspiring, welcoming, and invigorating.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Walking across the Golden Gate bridge or hunting for treasures in Chinatown.

All-around favorite spot in San Francisco: Honestly, I love the city so much. I really have several favorite spots because it is hands down the most beautiful city. But, if I have to choose, I’d probably say first thing in the morning, walking through the brisk air with a hot cup of coffee from Blue Bottle right on the cusp of the water on the Embarcadero. I love to people watch and the fresh air, the good food and the atmosphere really makes you feel alive!

Best Aspect of San Francisco: Its charm, its openness to all people, and its uncanny beauty.