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Mercy Vintage
Mercy Vintage
Photo: Aaron Wojack

The Best Shops in Oakland's Indie Boutique Scene

Oakland's indie shopping scene rivals neighboring San Francisco's with a heavy-hitting list of cool stores.

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Mercy Vintage
| Photo: Aaron Wojack

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

To say Oakland is San Francisco's Brooklyn circa 2010 would be a cliché, but it also would be somewhat true. Increasingly hip, current, and creative, Oakland's fashion and shopping scene rivals San Francisco's with its diversity, variety, and strong sense of local pride.

On Oakland's spread-out shopping map, stores range from ultra-niche boutiques to vintage and even couture. Local jewelry designers have a particularly strong showing with shops like Crown Nine and Esqueleto. Vintage shopping here is some of the best in the country, with big-hitters like Mercy Vintage boasting as strong a fan base via Instagram as it does locally.

The city's laid-back, urban vibe and rugged authenticity shine through with each shop's offerings, from vintage records to selvedge denim, upscale woolen throws, handmade incense, and other northern Californian staples of style and utility. Prepare to neighborhood-hop, encounter photogenic treasures from murals to artful store displays on every turn, and shop with abandon.

For a deeper look at what to do (and where to shop) in Oakland's best neighborhoods for retail, check out our visitor's guide.

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Hawthorn

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Hawthorn is a fresh breath of sophistication in the already pristine neighborhood of Rockridge. The staff might be a little reserved and the color palette is monochromatic, but the taste level is through the roof, with names like Ace & Jig and San Francisco cult label The Podolls. Chic basics, tasteful jewelry, and a small accessories selection (and even home goods like candles) complete the picture.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Pretty Penny

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Consignment stores can be hit or miss, but Pretty Penny is a total winner, offering a wide range of mainstream favorites from brands like J.Crew alongside solid vintage finds for all ages. The bulk of the selection is women’s, but there is a small men’s shop upstairs. The staff is always helpful and visibly in love with their job.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Ali Golden

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Oakland’s designer darling, Ali Golden captures the local style perfectly — feminine, cool, basic with a twist. Golden’s Temescal Alley boutique is a concentrated chic capsule, where the brand’s signature silk maxi dresses and nonchalant jumpsuits hang next to pieces from likeminded labels like Ilana Kohn and Raleigh Denim. The sale racks always store affordable past-season finds.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Stranded

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Friendly and easygoing, Stranded (which recently moved from Telegraph Ave) just might be the ideal neighborhood record store. Occupying two stories, the shop is packed with musical gems, from big releases to small local labels and limited editions. The bottom floor is all about new records, including ones released by Stranded’s own label, Superior Viaduct. The attic is dedicated to secondhand finds.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Esqueleto

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You’ll have a hard time holding on to your budget at this Temescal staple. Multi-brand jewelry boutique Esqueleto is a treasure chest filled with rare and curious objects; vintage rings, art prints, unique ceramic bowls, and tribal wall decor create an irresistible hodgepodge that’s highly Instagrammable and addicting to browse (not to mention shop).
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Minds Eye Vintage

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This small store in Temescal Alley is hipster wonderland in the best possible way. Denim dungarees from the ‘80s, cropped band T-shirts, mom jeans, and printed grandma dresses all make honorary appearances, plus there's a nice shoe selection and even an area dedicated to vintage kid’s clothes. Men’s and women’s pieces are nicely balanced, and the staff is always ready to help in the quest for one stand-out to take home.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Marisa Mason

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Another Temescal Alley resident, Marisa Mason is an established Oakland jewelry designer with a distinct, unmistakable aesthetic. You’ll fall in love with her delicate necklaces, tiny moon earrings, and leather key chains, as well as the rustic, bright space. You can always see employees and the designer herself at work in the shop, but sample sales and guest designer trunk shows occasionally sweeten the deal.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Dandelion Post

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On a busy Temescal corner, one-year-old Dandelion Post already feels like a local staple. Owner Jamie Levine has filled the two bright rooms with independent brands like The Odells and Groceries, along with local names including San Francisco's own Nooworks and Jamie Lau. Prints and color take the lead here, whether it's apparel, accessories, or home textiles; there's also a small selection of well-designed natural apothecary goods.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Neighbor

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Looking like all the best #designinspo images combined, Piedmont’s favorite home store Neighbor is exploding with color, texture, and quirk. From the woven baskets and adorable stationary to Cold Picnic’s hilariously inappropriate rugs and Aelfie’s whimsical pillows, every object here is on point.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Good Stock

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Good Stock is the perfect place to shop for gifts you can feel good about; striking just the right balance between boho and girly, the carefully curated jewelry, accessories, and small-batch skincare selections are all sourced from indie designers or collectives designed to empower women across the globe. Be warned, it's nearly impossible to walk away without finding something for yourself, too, whether it's handmade incense, minimalist undies by Pansy, a cute saddle bag, or sandals woven by master Zapotec weavers in Oaxaca.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Mercy Vintage Now

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Eclectic and always packed with stylish buyers, Mercy excels at eccentric and wearable vintage and designer second-hand scores — Rodarte sweaters and Comme des Garçons dresses are a realistic prospect. Make sure you follow the shop on Instagram for a chance to buy especially good new arrivals.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

McMullen

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Located on an unassuming, quiet block, McMullen is Oakland's legendary and discreet designer women's boutique. Owner Sherri McMullen keeps a close watch on new talent and likes to mix all the biggest names, from Preen to J.W. Anderson, alongside emerging and trending designers like Maki Oh and Rosie Assoulin.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Two Jacks Denim

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All those hip Oakland guys? They shop for their skinny jeans and slightly distressed denim jackets at this menswear mecca. Focusing on US-made selvedge denim brands, Two Jacks stocks a variety of indie denim labels — Raleigh, Rogue Territory, and Detroit Denim Co. among them — as well as flannel shirts, socks, leather belts and wallets, and other stylish necessities.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Crown Nine

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Jewelry designer Kate Ellen opened her tiny boutique five years ago in Old Oakland, among historic buildings and fading murals. The fit is perfect — Ellen's delicate jewelry feels timeless and vintage at the same time. Other American designers, such as Sarah Swell and Claire S. Buck, are also displayed in the lived-in, cozy space.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Umami Mart

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Oakland's prime destination for Japanese barware, Umami Mart is also part grocery, part bottle shop and part design store. Be it Japanese bar tools, Hasami porcelain, or or interesting and rare Japanese craft beer and sakes, chances are you'll find it here.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Hawthorn

Photo: Aaron Wojack
Hawthorn is a fresh breath of sophistication in the already pristine neighborhood of Rockridge. The staff might be a little reserved and the color palette is monochromatic, but the taste level is through the roof, with names like Ace & Jig and San Francisco cult label The Podolls. Chic basics, tasteful jewelry, and a small accessories selection (and even home goods like candles) complete the picture.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Pretty Penny

Photo: Aaron Wojack
Consignment stores can be hit or miss, but Pretty Penny is a total winner, offering a wide range of mainstream favorites from brands like J.Crew alongside solid vintage finds for all ages. The bulk of the selection is women’s, but there is a small men’s shop upstairs. The staff is always helpful and visibly in love with their job.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Ali Golden

Photo: Aaron Wojack
Oakland’s designer darling, Ali Golden captures the local style perfectly — feminine, cool, basic with a twist. Golden’s Temescal Alley boutique is a concentrated chic capsule, where the brand’s signature silk maxi dresses and nonchalant jumpsuits hang next to pieces from likeminded labels like Ilana Kohn and Raleigh Denim. The sale racks always store affordable past-season finds.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Stranded

Photo: Aaron Wojack
Friendly and easygoing, Stranded (which recently moved from Telegraph Ave) just might be the ideal neighborhood record store. Occupying two stories, the shop is packed with musical gems, from big releases to small local labels and limited editions. The bottom floor is all about new records, including ones released by Stranded’s own label, Superior Viaduct. The attic is dedicated to secondhand finds.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Esqueleto

Photo: Aaron Wojack
You’ll have a hard time holding on to your budget at this Temescal staple. Multi-brand jewelry boutique Esqueleto is a treasure chest filled with rare and curious objects; vintage rings, art prints, unique ceramic bowls, and tribal wall decor create an irresistible hodgepodge that’s highly Instagrammable and addicting to browse (not to mention shop).
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Minds Eye Vintage

Photo: Aaron Wojack
This small store in Temescal Alley is hipster wonderland in the best possible way. Denim dungarees from the ‘80s, cropped band T-shirts, mom jeans, and printed grandma dresses all make honorary appearances, plus there's a nice shoe selection and even an area dedicated to vintage kid’s clothes. Men’s and women’s pieces are nicely balanced, and the staff is always ready to help in the quest for one stand-out to take home.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Marisa Mason

Photo: Aaron Wojack
Another Temescal Alley resident, Marisa Mason is an established Oakland jewelry designer with a distinct, unmistakable aesthetic. You’ll fall in love with her delicate necklaces, tiny moon earrings, and leather key chains, as well as the rustic, bright space. You can always see employees and the designer herself at work in the shop, but sample sales and guest designer trunk shows occasionally sweeten the deal.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Dandelion Post

Photo: Aaron Wojack

On a busy Temescal corner, one-year-old Dandelion Post already feels like a local staple. Owner Jamie Levine has filled the two bright rooms with independent brands like The Odells and Groceries, along with local names including San Francisco's own Nooworks and Jamie Lau. Prints and color take the lead here, whether it's apparel, accessories, or home textiles; there's also a small selection of well-designed natural apothecary goods.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Neighbor

Photo: Aaron Wojack
Looking like all the best #designinspo images combined, Piedmont’s favorite home store Neighbor is exploding with color, texture, and quirk. From the woven baskets and adorable stationary to Cold Picnic’s hilariously inappropriate rugs and Aelfie’s whimsical pillows, every object here is on point.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Good Stock

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Good Stock is the perfect place to shop for gifts you can feel good about; striking just the right balance between boho and girly, the carefully curated jewelry, accessories, and small-batch skincare selections are all sourced from indie designers or collectives designed to empower women across the globe. Be warned, it's nearly impossible to walk away without finding something for yourself, too, whether it's handmade incense, minimalist undies by Pansy, a cute saddle bag, or sandals woven by master Zapotec weavers in Oaxaca.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Mercy Vintage Now

Photo: Aaron Wojack
Eclectic and always packed with stylish buyers, Mercy excels at eccentric and wearable vintage and designer second-hand scores — Rodarte sweaters and Comme des Garçons dresses are a realistic prospect. Make sure you follow the shop on Instagram for a chance to buy especially good new arrivals.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

McMullen

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Located on an unassuming, quiet block, McMullen is Oakland's legendary and discreet designer women's boutique. Owner Sherri McMullen keeps a close watch on new talent and likes to mix all the biggest names, from Preen to J.W. Anderson, alongside emerging and trending designers like Maki Oh and Rosie Assoulin.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Two Jacks Denim

Photo: Aaron Wojack
All those hip Oakland guys? They shop for their skinny jeans and slightly distressed denim jackets at this menswear mecca. Focusing on US-made selvedge denim brands, Two Jacks stocks a variety of indie denim labels — Raleigh, Rogue Territory, and Detroit Denim Co. among them — as well as flannel shirts, socks, leather belts and wallets, and other stylish necessities.
Photo: Aaron Wojack

Crown Nine

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Jewelry designer Kate Ellen opened her tiny boutique five years ago in Old Oakland, among historic buildings and fading murals. The fit is perfect — Ellen's delicate jewelry feels timeless and vintage at the same time. Other American designers, such as Sarah Swell and Claire S. Buck, are also displayed in the lived-in, cozy space.

Photo: Aaron Wojack

Umami Mart