While long stints with no updates are certainly nothing new to this blog, the reason I've been silent this past week is because my wife and I went on a much-needed vacation. Our destination choice was San Franciso, a city I hadn't been to since I was a teenager (and then for only a short time). We had our minds set on relaxation, food, and seeing some sights, with a bit of shopping thrown in for good measure.
There have been numerous other people write about the city more eloquently than I'll be able to in this entry, but I will say that this trip bumped it to the top of my list of most-loved cities in the United States. The international flavor, west-coast vibe, and sheer number of places, people, and things to see in the city were overwhelming for our short visit, yet I felt like we took a lot in during six days and over 30 miles walked (plus many more covered by mass transit).
We saw the coast (and three dolphins swimming together!), walked through a bunch of different neighborhoods, visited 3 museums, ate a ton of great food, went to the farmers market, saw some city landmarks (City Lights Bookstore, Haight & Ashbury, etc, etc), and generally tried to take it all in.
If you've been there, you know that San Francisco is something of a shopping mecca. Within 4 blocks of Union Square alone, there are flagship stores for just about every high-end outfit that you could possibly think of. Saks Fifth Avenue, Burberry's, Harry's Of London, John Fluevog, Alden, Allen Admonds, Brooks Brothers, Hickey Freeman, Hermes, and probably 100 more. The Levi's store even had a custom, made-to-order shop.
Needless to say, most of these places were completely out of my league in terms of prices. I do like to look at clothing and fabrics and cuts of things (and sometimes snark at prices), so I went into some of the aforementioned stores (and several others) while there. In the midst of all the madness, I even managed to find a couple deals.
First off was a pair of gun metal gray Alfani desert boots. I'd been looking for a pair and even held off an a sale pair of Clarks the day before leaving town, so when I ran across these for $26.00 (plus tax), I made them mine.
Speaking of Clarks, a few days later I ran across a pair of desert bucks in the clearance section of a store that shall not be named. They were the only pair of shoes in my size in the entire section and looked like they had been drop-kicked around the store a few times, but after breaking them in the past couple days, they already have a killer patina. Crepe soles and totally excellent, especially for $27 (plus tax).
It wouldn't be a true vacation without hitting a few of the thrift stores that San Francisco had to offer, and since my wife had already mapped out locations, we managed to make our way through about 8 or so during our visit. Again, I managed some pretty good finds.
First off is a Kenneth Cole three-button 100% wool jacket with a Nehru collar. Many will scoff at Kenneth Cole (and I know I certainly have), but this one fit me perfectly and has a lovely cut. For $7 I couldn't resist it.
Next up is another jacket, this one from the St. Michaels (so, pre 2000) Marks & Spencer line. Like the Kenneth Cole, it's not exactly a high end jacket, but it's made from a nice, light super 100s wool, and I have a feeling I'll get some use out of it during these hot months.
Lastly (and possibly my favorite) is a vintage Pendleton tweed jacket that fits like it was tailored for me. Super nubby 100% wool made in the U.S.A. with some super-bright pinpoint flecks of color woven in. Oh, and leather elbow patches and braided leather buttons.
Even though the last day was completely socked in with fog, blocking our view of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a city I would recommend anyone visit.
I can't wait to go back.