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Friday, May 3, 2013

Sir Douglas of Britex (San Francisco Fabric Store)


I don’t think I’ve ever entered the San Francisco Sewists Mecca,  Britex, and not encountered Sir Douglas on the first floor.  This man isn't simply a salesman, he's a kindred spirit who shares his love of fabrics with nearly every customer who enters the shop. 

Despite the fact that I’m typically headed for the third floor (notions, trims and buttons), this gentleman always has a kind word for me. I’m also always struck by his gorgeous vests, which seem to be a part of his everyday costume. Vests are a special love we both share, agreeing that they give us that slight touch of formality. They also give this man a real sense of presence, helping him to appear dressed up, without the need to wear a suit jacket. 

You don’t see salesmen, or other professional men, wearing suit jackets in this area, as you once would have done. Despite the fact that Britex is in a very traditional part of San Francisco, suit jackets seem to make men feel overdressed. You'll see them outside, but once a gentleman walks inside, he sheds his jacket. Besides, when you sell fabric you need to move around. Vests allow Sir Douglas the mobility he needs along with the slightly dressy look he wants.

This particular vest is a vintage one. Don’t you love the buttons? I think it's velveteen. I’m also partial to it in combination with this striped shirt and those delicious metal buttons.

OK, you know what happened when I stopped to admire this outfit, and ask for permission to include Sir Douglas in my blog. Yup, two yards of beautiful green and blue plaid wool to make up into a vest for next years cooler season!
Hey, it was on sale!

If you're traveling to San Francisco, Britex is just off of Union Square. It's a short walk off BART (the underground). Use the Powell Street Station. When you're tired of shopping in Union Square, take a walk down Market Street towards the water (ask anyone which direction that is) to the Ferry Building. Pass through the building (I didn't say you shouldn't check out the fun boutique style shops and local artisinal products and often a farmer's market) through to the water side and soak in the beautiful views of the Bay, bridges, islands, sea gulls and the whole deal. Oh yes there are also usually street vendors just before you reach the Embarcadero - that's the last road before the water that runs perpendicular to Market- selling all kinds of fun goods from tables and booths, hand carved special pencils, inexpensive jewelry, bags, etc.

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