Follow Paige A. Ricks as she paws through local designers, boutiques, and street trends. Her first SFBG feature focuses on high end Western wear in a Hayes Valley boutique
Inimitably structured leather wallets by Maxx and Unicorn Co., paisley bow ties, old Americana: these are the style cues at Welcome Stranger.
Upon entering the store, you're greeted with a welcome mat, of course. Before even touching a wool-blend shirt or a pair of dark denim jeans, take in the vintage pieces that decorate the room: picture-less picture frames, rifles, a deer head hanging on the wall, large old trunks and fake novels with wallpaper covers.
The boutique is inspired by the outdoors, carrying brands like A.P.C Jeans, Burkman Bros, and Pendleton -- all Western-style brands that mix plaids, denim, and suede fabrics in their pieces. But store mannequins are dressed San Francisco-appropriate with leather messenger bags and army green military jackets. From corduroy blazers to rainbow socks one could imagine wearing with Oxford shoes, there's enough variety in the boutique to create an outfit from head to toe. An amazing pair of sunglasses made from bamboo by Waiting for the Sun would pair nicely with most of the outdoorsy, chic designs.
The store is owners Catherine Chow and Corina Nurimba second project on Gough Street – the two also own Azalea Boutique, located across the street from Welcome Stranger.
As America enters into its fifth year of the recession, a high-end men’s clothing boutique seems like the dubious financial investment. But for these two stores financial worries haven't been an issue -- although there are few items under $100, a diverse clientele seems undeterred from shopping. Welcome Stranger attracts the hipsters, the hip-hop heads, the mountain men, and the well-established businessmen.
Lesley Tanaka, Welcome Stranger general manager, said soon the store would begin selling their own Welcome Stranger clothing collection. The store already sells a few items under the Welcome Stranger brand – especially eye-catching are the cow skin satchels, which are reconstructed from vintage army sacks.
They epitomize the shop's rugged flair. This is the kind of place that can make a man really feel at home.
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
46 Gough, SF
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