The Archive (credit: Melanie Graysmith)

When it comes to shopping for clothing and general fashion essentials, men have a reputation for not being at their best. But all of that angst is easier to manage thanks to the range of shopping options for men in San Francisco. Read on for five terrific men’s boutiques and other shopping spots the City has to offer.

The Archive sign (credit: Melanie Graysmith)


The Archive
317 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 391-5550

How do you perceive a men’s clothing store with collections some define as “curated?” As one loyal fan suggests, “You either love the curated selection or you hate it,” so there you go. The Archive may give off an art gallery-like vibe upon entering, but the friendly, knowledgeable staff shows no attitude and welcomes customer queries. Regulars are likely not going to find the clothing and accessories at The Archive anywhere else in the City, or even around the Bay Area. The Archive, a StyleZeitgeist Magazine-approved retailer, carries avant-garde clothing lines of Avant Toi, Boris Bidjan Saberi, Devoa, Drkshdw and more, including accessories such as belts, scarves, jewelry, hats and wallets. Quality and brand recognition deliver, and prices are very expensive, drawing in a clientele seeking the anti-Brooks Brothers experience. The Archive does not disappoint.

Beckett & Robb (credit: Melanie Graysmith)


Beckett & Robb
1 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 685-0848

Fit is everything; we all know that. The only way to get the true fit that makes us look great is to have custom made clothing, or the important pieces at least. Doesn’t that cost a fortune? Well, according to respected custom outfitters Beckett & Robb, no; custom tailoring does not have to blow the bank. “Becket & Robb makes clothing for men who want world-class products at a fair price.” What exactly does Beckett & Robb offer? Custom clothing made with “Unique cloth from the best mills in England and Italy.” With over 15,000 suit, coat and shirt fabric options, Beckett & Robb promises, “there truly is something for everyone.” Depending on cloth choice, two-piece suits are priced from $850 to $7,100 and shirts from $99 to $300. Visit the website to see the complete clothing options, cloth choices and price ranges.

The Darkside Initiative
1827 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 837-1909

While it has a reputation as a great sneaker shop, The Darkside Initiative has a lot more to offer, although sneakers do reign here and the shop is one of only four Nike Tier O accounts on the West Coast. For those in the dark, a Tier O account is essentially the highest level a store can attain, so they get the rarest and the best, like Nike Quickstrikes. The North Beach shop also carries apparel that partners just right with sneakers and makes the place a definite one-stop mix. Apparel includes bottoms of varying fabrics and lengths, all sorts of jackets, t-shirts and other tops, plus bags and accessories, including sunglasses, hats, cell phone cases, straps and more. The sneakers here are top-line and the coolest, newest styles including brands Adidas Consortium, Converse First String, Nike, Vans, Vans Vault and others. Women’s sneakers are here too. Check out the website for pictures of what is available, plus highlights of the newest shoes coming in.

Cary Lane (credit: Melanie Graysmith)


Cary Lane
560 Laguna St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 896-4210

Cary Lane is something different on the retail-clothing scene. It is not a consignment, second-hand or designer shop stocked with up-to-the-minute fashions. Everything in the shop is brand new, and boasts designer labels sold at well below retail prices. The Cary Lane motto is “designer pieces at outlet prices,” and this is pretty much the case. Trying on is an absolute must as sizing can vary from brand to brand. Cary Lane says, “We strive to offer great items at very affordable prices. Our clothes are always around wholesale prices,” plus as a bonus, receive an additional 10 percent off when you pay in cash. The men’s collection weighs mainly on all kinds of tops, from dress shirts to hoodies, plus casual to work casual pants and various jackets, from blazer types to windbreakers and sweaters. There is always a selection of shoes worth a look too. The mini-chain began in 2008 with one shop in Noe Valley, which moved in 2010 to the newly cool Hayes Valley neighborhood, followed in 2012 by its Valencia Corridor shop. There are now three Cary Lanes in the City, with the May 2014 opening of its Inner Sunset location. Visit the website for more details and exact locations.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at