Clothes may not make the man or woman, but nobody wants to look shabby. As we head into spring, many of us will want to be sure our wardrobes spring to life along with the season. Nobody wants to look like last year’s faded flowers or a sack of weeds. Here are some shopping suggestions for both men and women, from upscale to bargain, that will help you look your best.

Sam Malouf
1460 Burlingame Ave.
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 344-1460

Gentlemen, when money is not an object and you want to look your very best, Sam is the man to see. This boutique is not for the financially faint-of-heart, but if you want to dress in a style that would rival the likes of James Bond, Sam can get you there. Sam Malouf carries a huge collection of top-of-the-line designers, many hard to find elsewhere, and provides the best in custom tailoring. Shop here if you are the CEO (or want to look like one).

Stripe Men
117 Walnut Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 421-9252

The only locally owned men’s clothing store in Santa Cruz, Stripe Men sells clothing and a variety of men’s gifts, toys and gadgets. As the only men’s boutique in the city, Stripe strives to offer a range of prices while specializing in small house labels instead of the more mainstream designers. The ladies who founded the store are both professional designers. They have all sorts of expertise from graphics to interior decoration, as well as fashion.

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Les Deux Copines
1433 Burlingame Ave.
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 375-1933

Les Deux Copines (“the two girlfriends”) have been offering European design with a California sensibility in Burlingame for the past 10 years. They have won an enthusiastic following with their exceptional eye for fashion. The owners travel to New York and Paris every year to make selections. While this is a high-end store, customers report that the attentive shopper can certainly find the occasional bargain.

Red Square Boutique
1628 Palm Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94402
(650) 525-1477

Red Square Boutique is a design collective, featuring local Bay Area designers of both men’s and women’s clothing. Some of these clothes may be too sexy for the office, but don’t worry, there is a wide range of choices. This is not a strictly utilitarian clothing store. Think more along the lines of “wearable art.” In keeping with that approach, the facility also includes an art gallery featuring contemporary San Francisco artists. How often do you find that in a clothing store?

Great Mall
477 Great Mall Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 945-4022

Although upscale boutiques and unusual fashions always have a place in our hearts, sometimes we just need to “shop till we drop” and refurbish our closet with reasonable quality at a good price. That’s when to head for the Great Mall in Milpitas, the largest factory outlet mall in Northern California. For the basics, this is where you will find all your favorites at rock-bottom prices. No frills here, just meat and potatoes. And when you’re done shopping, you can grab a meal and a movie to relax.

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Charles Kruger is well known in the Bay area as “The Storming Bohemian” ever since he entered the Bay Area cultural scene in the summer of 2009, attending 90 cultural events in 90 days and blogging about it. This project was successful enough to warrant a mention in The New York Times. His coverage of Bay area theatre can be found at