Reliquary is one of my favorite stores in San Francisco. It’s a teeny tiny boutique located in Hayes Valley, one of the city’s best shopping districts (if you’re in the area, Cotton Sheep, the first store in the United States to carry Kapital, is a must-visit in the area). When you enter Reliquary, you’ll find the space is split into sections. Men’s clothing is on the left as you enter; women’s on the right. There’s a small space in the middle and towards the back that’s reserved for jewelry.
The selection here is tiny — even microscopic — when compared to big retailers such as Mr. Porter. You will not find a hundred brands here, but rather a tight selection of names such as Evan Kinori, Sage de Cret, and Bode. It’s a store with a point of view. And you can get that view not just from their inventory, but also the kind of people you often see milling about. The store feels a little crunchy bohemian, but clearly upscale, and caters to the sort of people who like flipping through 45rpm lookbooks.
They also carry a great selection of vintage — mostly jewelry, but also clothes picked up from flea markets and dealers. Much of it is militaria and workwear. I’m still haunted by a Czech liner jacket that I once passed on here. At the time, I was already buying a vintage, curb link bracelet, which I felt was a bit expensive for my budget (but still way more affordable than brand new silver bracelets). “I’ll justify this by not purchasing the jacket,” I told myself. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t passed it up. There are thousands of Czech liner jackets online, but their details differ and the fit is a bit uncertain (liner jackets can fit a bit wonky, but that’s part of the charm, so long as you get the silhouette right). The one at Reliquary was just perfect — and it was reasonably priced at about a hundred bucks.
Once a year, Reliquary also holds a warehouse sale, where you can find deeply discounted jewelry and past seasons’ apparel. Typically, you have to go out of your way and into the city to visit. Sometimes you’ve also had to book an appointment. Reliquary’s warehouse sale is popular because they have a dedicated customer base. If you share their sense of style, there’s always stuff at their warehouse to admire, maybe even covet and purchase.
This year, given the need to socially distance, they’re holding their warehouse sale online. I don’t know how much of their vintage stock will be included — warehouse sale inventory is always kept a secret until the opening day. Vintage can be challenging to sell online, given the need to photograph one-off items. But hopefully, they’ll include a good bit of their vintage stock.
The sale starts this Friday, August 7th, at midnight PST. It will last for three days, closing on August 10th. Don’t expect a ton of stock — again, this is not Mr. Porter. But if you enjoy small boutique experiences and brands such as Evan Kinori and Sage de Cret, you’ll probably want to check this out.