Where to Shop Now: Sui Generis Womenswear Boutique in the Castro

As seen in this weekend’s San Francisco Chronicle: (Check out the newly expanded glossy version in print every Sunday!)

The men behind the Sui Generis stores, Gabriel Yanez (left) and Miguel Lopez, built a clientele in Guadalajara, Mexico, but yearned to make a splash in San Francisco's fashion scene. Photography by Russell Yip / The Chronicle

It may not seem the most obvious choice to open a high-end womenswear boutique smack dab in the heart of the Castro, but for Miguel Lopez and Gabriel Yanez, going against the grain has always made perfect sense.

Never mind that the ailing economy has shuttered doors of retailers throughout the country. Since their move to the Bay Area in 2000 from Guadalajara, Mexico – where they produced their own men’s and women’s clothing lines, owned two ready-to-wear boutiques and dressed a small cadre of Mexican celebrities – this enterprising couple have had an eye on making their mark on the San Francisco fashion scene.

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Get Katy Perry’s Pinup Glam Look

Photo by Frank Micelotta/FOX

You’d be hard-pressed to open up a magazine, turn on the radio, or switch on the TV, for that matter, without seeing or hearing about pop princess Katy Perry. The media darling is everywhere, including the San Francisco Chronicle, where I wrote a story about Perry’s vintage-inspired style and put together a more affordable look using her Moschino Cheap & Chic cherry-print dress as inspiration. Check out the Style story here on sfgate.com, and be sure to look out for more of my celeb fashion reports for the Chronicle on Lauren Conrad and Rachel Zoe this coming Sunday!

Noteworthy Newcomers to Hayes Valley

Me with Cindy Spade, the always-helpful co-owner and buyer for Ver Unica in Hayes Valley.

As much as I love shopping online, there’s no better substitute in my mind than exploring a neighborhood on foot—especially when that neighborhood is Hayes Valley. Popping in and out of some of my favorite boutiques there (Azalea, M.A.C.-Modern Appealing Clothing, and Flight 001, to name a few) never fails to remind me of why San Francisco is such a cool place to live.

Ver Unica is another local favorite I’d put at the top of my must-frequent list, namely because co-owner and veteran buyer Cindy Spade has a killer eye and stocks an impeccably edited collection of vintage clothing and accessories from the 1920s through 1980s, including one-of-a-kind dead stock. Although I’m usually game for rolling up my sleeves and digging for that hidden gem, sometimes I need the immediate gratification of easy-to-find, mint-condition goods.

Try not to panic if in the next couple months you find Ver Unica has vanished from its 437 Hayes Street digs. Just head over to the 500 block, where Spade says she and her husband will be opening a bigger and better shop by summer. They’ll celebrate with a grand re-opening party, which I’ll post here as soon as I get wind of it.

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What’s New with Trina Turk

Trina Turk at her Burlingame, California boutique. Photography by Edric Itchon.

With influences of classic American sportswear showing up strong among this season’s trends, it seemed only fitting that I catch up with designer Trina Turk, who paid a recent visit to her native Bay Area to work the social circuit and promote her new line of vintage-inspired jewelry.

Celebrating the 15-year anniversary this year of her namesake line of sporty women’s wear characterized by its So-Cal vibe of vibrantly colored prints, the prolific Turk—who designs 10 distinct collections annually— took time out at her Burlingame boutique to chat about how she’s fared in the recession, what she still loves about L.A., and why it’s always good times vacationing with BFF’s Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan.

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