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Style - Painted Bird


This January, Painted Bird, that cozy bastion of vintage delights atop a quiet Guerrero Street corner, spread its wings and moved one block east to a new home on the sunny sidewalks of Valencia. With this migration came more square footage, an extra dressing room, and space for more garment racks, but the details that make Painted Bird a staple for lovers of vintage clothing remains.

Sunlight filters through the front windows in a fuzzy glow, brushing the cream colored walls and illuminating a glass display full of deadstock jewelry and sunglasses. Beneath a rainbow chandelier, garments hang in color families. Wafty blouses, dolman sleeved sweaters, and flirty skirts on one wall, and circles of silken-soft tees, licorice-black motorcycle jackets, and denim vests corral in the center. Dresses, coats, and trousers line the opposite wall under the gentle gaze of taxidermied goats, supplemented by a soundtrack of shoegazer space rock and sweet folky pop.

Painted Bird’s collection of treasures cannot be illustrated in one simple note. A symphony’s worth of themes weave in and out of the racks of merchandise. For those who gravitate toward a late sixties and seventies aesthetic, one can find tooled leather purses, a collection of woven straw clutches nesting on a shelf, high-waisted jeans, and suede vests with waterfalls of fringe cascading off the shoulders. For those who prefer an eighties vibe, skinny jeans, sequin-and-stud tops, or one-off novelty pieces, like leggings with Patrick Nagel ladies printed on them. Subtle hints of the southwest abound, be it via belts adorned with turquoise and silver, western shirts, references to animals native to the high desert, or a fitted jean jacket with dentalium and black leather detailing.

Since 2005, Painted Bird has provided San Franciscans with ways to add vintage to their wardrobes at the most approachable price points, in a place that feels like a delightfully mellow sunken living room. Items are sourced from all over the country, and there is also a consignment program for local Bay Area clothing and accessory designers, putting Painted Bird, a primarily vintage store, in the covetable position of giving a uniquely San Francisco flavored spin on their merchandise. Treading lightly upon the earth by buying both local and second hand is something to embrace, and a step through their doors will connect you with something comfortably familiar, or a whiff of the unknown.

Painted Bird
1360 Valencia Street