Privilege Blog

The Joy Of Local Boutiques, And A San Francisco Designer

I found my standalone top. Or, shall we say, a standalone top. Now that I’ve found one I realize I may need a few more. So useful for a life lived in jeans, when no jacket is required but one has too much midlife stomach to set free upon an unsuspecting world.

What’s more, it’s sourced, as Faux Fuchsia might say, from a local boutique. Not my midlife stomach, mind you, I found that on the highway of life. Or it found me. We don’t know. The top I sourced here.

M A C stands in this case for Modern Appealing Clothing. The boutique, in the neighborhood known as Hayes Valley, has been around for a couple of decades. They don’t have a website that I can find, but here they are on Yelp. They also recently won Best Men’s Clothing from SFGate, so if you’ve got a stylish guy in your life, bring him here and make him happy.

It’s run by a brother and sister. They are helpful in a quirky, diffident until you’re interested, committed once you care, kind of way. Rather like shopping in your hip friends’ living room.

Your hip friends who collect terrariums, grow orchids, and just happen to hang Mr. van Noten around their living room in support of abstract expressionism.

I had been brought to M AC by Googling Dries van Noten+San Francisco. A big sale was underway. However, admirable though the Drieses Pieces were, none looked good on me.

The blouse I did buy is made by a local designer, of a toothsome cotton/silk blend. The sailor silhouette was just visible enough for whimsy, but not so pronounced as to suggest Pierrot. I am not looking to remind anyone of a sad clown.

You can see the weave and pattern close-up. It’s subtler than you might expect, given all those rather large circles. You can’t see the round, brown, semi-translucent plastic buttons, but they are there, and convey the requisite mid-century edge.

Here’s the cheerful label. DEMA has a boutique too, and a blog.

Dries, even on serious sale, put me in the $400 range. This cost ~$150. What’s more, when the medium proved too big, and the length of the blouse too short, M A C made alterations for free. I wore my new sailor friend for the first time with my old Chanel jacket,

because sometimes standalone tops don’t have to. It was a fun surprise, putting these two together. The best purchases sometimes show their stuff for real once you get them home.

34 Responses

  1. Love the last line of this post; how true.
    Nice pattern and I'll bet it looks amazing with the Chanel jacket.

  2. it's sourced, as Faux Fuchsia might say, from a local boutique. Not my midlife stomach

    Ha. My midlife stomach is totally locally sourced. Too much frozen custard and cheese.

  3. At the risk of sharing TMI, I gained the same thing on the journey of life.
    What a great line!
    I am not surprised- your twists and turns with words and phrasing is always a delight!

    White Spray Paint

  4. Beautiful detail in the shirt pattern. I lived in SF for a few years, just a few blocks from Hayes Valley. Unfortunately, I left just as it was starting to come into its own so I know very little of the boutiques. I will have to make a point to visit next time I'm in the city (one of several places on my list now due to your recommendations!).

    I've been meaning to respond to a question of yours. From the Paris/LePreVerre entry, I did not see your reply to me until it felt much too late to reply within that entry. (What is the etiquette of blog commentary?) My sincere apologies for the late response. Anyhow, I had no idea that there was a Le Pre Verre cookbook. I'll keep my eye out. Thank you for mentioning it.


  5. Great blouse! My midlife stomach needs some lovely tops like that one. My old standby white tee shirts aren't cutting it anymore.

  6. I would love to see a photo of these two together, it's a very unexpected marriage – the Sarkozy/Bruni pairing of your closet.

  7. Another great find! I've been wanting to support more local designers… thanks for the tip!

  8. Didn't your mom ever tell you not to pick up hitchhikers on the side of the road? Even the road of life!

    Love this top – let's see it on!

  9. i believe Tabitha gets today's nifty metaphor gold star. me, i was going to try to argue that staying at the david bowie end of the pierrot spectrum might be alright – but one can land so very many places when one aims for bowie. i love the fabric; beautiful purchase.

  10. Your new blouse is really great, Unique, and the model is different in a good way!

  11. Whenever you need a shopping companion in SF just say the word! Actually "source" is a technical term we use all the time in the fashion world such as "Can we source more of that material from our vendor in India" so really you and Faux Fuscia are quite with it! Love the new top and OBSESSED with the Chanel jacket. Hope to see them spoted around town soon!

  12. Well Sourced!!!!!! Love that shop aren't their plants natty?? Great clothes. Your jacket is v. nice. I love Dries Van Noten but the COST is insane. Skirts are always $3000.

  13. Nice work Lisa!
    I like how the standalone top found you on the highway of life…
    Lovely Chanel!

  14. Maureen – Thank you for your kind words:).

    Class – Cheese!

    Laura – Thank you very much. Not TMI at all. Midlifers have to stick together.

    Frachellea – Oh goodness, no apology required. I reply to comments because I am so happy to receive them. I hope my responses never create an obligation.

    Deja – Thanks for the endorsement:).

  15. Tabitha – Nice metaphor! As lauren points out below:).

    Patsy – I will try to keep on adventuring.

    Walking Barefoot – I think her stuff might be fun for your niche. Has a touch of the homespun to it.

    Miss Janey – Well thank you.

    Suburban – Ha! Oh gosh, I do not think I can become a here's what I wore blogger. But I will think about how to meet requests. I do not like to say no to politeness.

  16. lauren – I fear were I to aim for Bowie I might end up like Major Tom. *badabing* #predictable:).

    metscan – thank you. It's got more going on than my usual style.

    Rachel – Maybe we should do that some day. Inter-generational shopping. I do need a new Chanel jacket, that one's showing its age. But I haven't liked any of the new ones quite enough.

    Faux Fuchsia – yes for that I could get a new sofa. I'd rather sit on furniture than a skirt. Thank you for the endorsement.

    Jeanne – Thank you!

    Hostess – Highways can be good sourcing environments:).

  17. That last line is so true. I can picture the blouse and jacket going very well together.

  18. Great new top and what a fabulous find your local boutique is – worth their weight in gold I would say. And I am madly jealous of your Chanel jacket too! x

  19. You most definitely found a gem Miss LPC, I do love it. And with the Chanel jacket – apparel perfection. Seriously.

    The shop also sounds like a gem, good for you on looking for a local Dries source! We do like local sourcing, not to mention free alterations.

    Tres elegant!

  20. You SCORED! Great SAT (stand alone top). Love the buttons too. Can't wait to go to the store-thanks for sharing! xo, jools

  21. it's always a great pleasure/surprise to find hidden treasures in local boutiques. i'd love to see a pic of the full outfit on you. you must've got all the attention when out and about. :)

    ~ash's mum

  22. For another stand alone top check out CKBradley's ( Tenley shirt. It is more casual and the color selections are a lot brighter than your black and white selection (which I love) but it is a great shirt with jeans etc. and provides coverage for the tummy.

  23. Beautiful SAT and can imagine it with skinny trousers and Chanel quilted cap toed flats.

  24. Lisa,

    — OFF-TOPIC starting here —
    yesterday you probably had hick-ups, I have been thinking about you: sitting in a restaurant, in my back the table where the waiters put all the coming and going plates and dishes. Feeling uncomfortable, not seeing what is going on behind my back, only hearing the noise since the waiters were not very professional. Well, now comes the clue how this made me think about you: May 1st you wrote how you had this super-horrible-eye-makeup-experience and did not say a word but bought the make up.
    Yesterday at the table I kept thinking to myself "they should move the table a bit further away from out table – especially since it was higher than our table und if something spilled or dropped it would have landed in/on my purse or me."
    You can tell, when waiters don't act like pro's.

    Well, I remained there, feeling uncomfy and not much later I heard a big clashing noise, the whole tray dropped with all the plates and glasses piled on it, luckily not behind my back but on the way to the kitchen.

    I thought to myself: Glad, it happend over there and not behind my back.

    You can tell, when a situation isn't right. But often you can not say it out loud.
    — OFF-TOPIC ending here —

    Have a nice weekend!

  25. Fantastic! And I predict a long and happy relationship with M A C. Thank you for posting on, and supporting local boutiques.

  26. This shop looks great! I love shopping locally, it's so gratifying!
    Wishing you a very happy 4th of July weekend!

    xo Mary Jo

  27. VA Gal – Thank you so much.

    Semi Expat – I hope to go back and scout their dresses and skirts…

    TPP – Thank you.

    Jools – SAT (ha!)

    Ash – Yes, the surprise is a big part of it, I agree.

  28. Kathleen – I will take a look. Color scares me, but I'm always game to reevaluate fears.

    Anon – Yes, exactly. I realized once I took it home that some skinny pants would be perfect.

    Paula – I love the story. Here's to all of us saying out loud what isn't right, in a polite, dignified, assured, way, of course.

    Duchesse – Thank you and you're welcome. I plan to keep up the foraging through San Francisco. Even Palo Alto and Menlo Park, my suburban haunts. After all, lots of you might have to visit Stanford University, or Silicon Valley, one day.

    Mary Jo – Happy 4th to you too!

    agirl – glad someone liked it. Fooling around with puns is not my usual territory:).

  29. Dear LPC, a Chanel jacket, and a really lovely one, so classic, me like! Really like the new blouse too, you have excellent taste, and isn't it great when old and new items of clothing come together so well? I am still thinking about your lovely white lace top! Bx

  30. Hmm, the blouse is lovely, as is the Chanel jacket. I would love to own both of those pieces. Therefore, I think you have fabulous taste. :)

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