Features & Columns

Top to Bottoms

Adult Toys | Top to Bottoms | Stomach Stuffers

K-9 Kimonos

K-9 Kimonos

Dogs have tolerated human behavior for about 19 millennia. At this point they're domesticated enough to put up with our silliness, even that means enduring a little dress-up. Among canine Sharks gear and holiday sweaters at Biscuits Dog Boutique in Japantown is a doggy costume you can't find anywhere else. Biscuits owner Jennifer Kim says she can barely keep up with demand for her doggy kimonos and cheongsams ($49.99). That's because each piece is hand-sewn by her mother, Angela Pan (a.k.a. Mama Biscuits), who picks up materials during her frequent trips to Asia. Most of these vibrant silk frocks fit smaller dogs, but because they're handmade, the store takes custom orders for medium-sized dogs (up to 50 pounds), too. Biscuits Dog Boutique, 223 Jackson St., San Jose. 408.564.6537. (JW)

Get On The Floor

Antique and contemporary Asian area rugs—including Persian, Indian, Pakistani and Chinese. Medallion Rug Gallery has it all, and at a variety of price points, ranging from $499 and under to $1,000 and up. Check out their large downtown Palo Alto store or browse their extensive website from the comfort of home. In business for more than 30 years, they have some of the best deals around and shipping is free. Medallion Rug Gallery, 353 University Ave, Palo Alto. 650.567.5865 (NV)

Cement Jewelry

Rings are often adorned in a show of beauty, love or wealth. Design studio 22 creates its line out of cement jewelry to convey strength. The thick, angular rings ($80 apiece) are inspired by urban landscapes and composed of the same materials that build cities: steel and concrete. The Usuals pop-up shop at San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose. Or permanent storefront at 1020 The Alameda, San Jose. 408.294.4500. (JW)

Beer Necktie

Beer Necktie

Purveyors of leather, hair-on hide and uniquely printed silk neckties, Cyberoptix Tie Lab has fashioned a piece for the beer lover with its mustard silk tie superimposed with cornflower blue prints of hops ($55). April Gee, who runs Petit Galleria—a hole-in-the-wall curio shop that replaced an old typewriter store in Japantown—tries to keep a range of Cyberoptix ties in stock because they come in prints that appeal to virtually every profession or interest: NASA blueprints, college-ruled paper, music manuscript and even "ugly Christmas sweater" and "ugly Chanukah sweater." Gee only sells a few at her shop with the rest found online. Petite Galleria, 205B Jackson St., San Jose. Or online at cyberoptix.com. (JW)

Vegan 'Leather' Bags

Giuliana Maresca, a New York City native who settled in San Jose by way of L.A., has played many roles in many places: photographer, print artist, community activist. One of her most popular projects is a line of artisan bags and tees sold under the name Tripetta Cartel. The bags come in a variety of sizes, from over-the-shoulder messengers (roomy enough for a laptop) and totes to smaller zipper pouches. Most are made from a tough vinyl—"vegan leather"—and emblazoned with one of her original prints. Prices range, depending on size: $35 for small pouches, $60 for laptop-sized messenger bags and up to $80 for larger purses. Tripetta Cartel. tripettacartel.com. Select items also available at Petite Galleria, 205B Jackson St., San Jose. (JW)

Wire Wear

Even though my '90s puka shell necklace—and half gallon of hair gel—rests peacefully under six feet of earth, my fashion sense remains a work in progress. But according to a fashion-forward companion, these simple, handcrafted pieces rate quite highly. The designs run from small and elegant to large and ornate, with a signature woven wire motif throughout. Items run from $15 to hella expensive. Valerie Preston Design, 151 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos. 408.475.5525 (SL)

Tenaya Hurst's LED glasses

Made to Wear

This one might break our analog rule but it's too cool to omit. Tenaya Hurst falls into the boundless profession of makers, and her LED-transfused jewelry shimmered just as bright at last week's Tech Awards as any 16-carat bobble. Bliplace is the "wearable, sound activated blinky light circuit" brainchild of Austin Appleby and Mark Atwood, Hurst says, making her creations a perfect accessory for Burning Man or anywhere else tribal music thumps. tenayahurst.com. Orders for LED glasses can be placed with [email protected] (JK)

Something Less Corporate

Look, we know that you sometimes find yourself in that one urban chain of "boutiques." But there's a locally owned place you can go to get all the hip tchotchkes, skinny jeans, boots, shoes, interesting decor and humorous fridge magnets. Therapy has three South Bay locations: Mountain View, Los Altos and Campbell. Plus, zero controversy over cultural appropriation and questionable political affiliations. Therapy, 250 Castro St, Mountain View. 650.691.1186 (NV)

Just Leather

Bob Schmelzer—the wiry former pro skater and proprietor of Circle-A skate shop—went to considerable lengths to curate his selection of vintage leather jackets. One in particular he had to nab from an East Coast vendor—a deep brown jacket with gold quilted lining and a yellow label on the nape of the neck embroidered with "Just Leather, San Jose, California." He had to have it because of the San Jose connection. Because it took a good measure of effort to scout it out, it sells for a hefty $500. None of his jackets are cheap. They're premium vintage in mint or near-mint condition. Schmelzer's recent fascination with vintage leather came about from his friends, many of whom are skaters, punk rockers, drag racers and rockabillies who'd appreciate—and shell out several large bills for—a black Shott Perfecto popularized by Marlon Brando and New York City's motorcycle cops in the '50s. Selection is limited, depending on what Schmelzer finds scouring thrift shops and eBay. Circle-A, 108 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose. 408.995.0677. circlea.com. (JW)

A More Personal Experience

Sure, you could go to Santana Row or Stanford Shopping Center for your high-end women's clothing and accessories. But for a calmer, more personalized shopping experience, you would do well to consider Boutique 4 in downtown Mountain View. The store has a cozy, personal feel, but still features a large selection of hand-picked dresses, blouses, necklaces and earrings. Boutique 4, 279 Castro St, Mountain View. 650.903.9444 (NV)

Pop Some Tags

For the hipster on a budget, boutiques can be a bit pricey. Check out Empire Vintage Clothing, which recently relocated from Palo Alto to Mountain View. They have a curated selection of T-shirts, jackets, pants, sweaters, hats and more—all at second-hand prices. Empire Vintage Clothing, 831 Villa St, Mountain View. 650-254-1970 (NV)

Adult Toys | Top to Bottoms | Stomach Stuffers