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Our San Francisco adventure starts with the adorable Erin, the blogger behind Cali Vintage, who is taking us on a vintage shopping expedition in SF’s Mission neighborhood. We’ve been to the Mission before– LA natives, think Echo Park but with more bearded hipsters in overalls– but there’s nothing like having a local to show us around.

Hey Erin! We’ve got to ask the obvious question… how’d you get into blogging?

I started in December of 2008. I didn’t show my outfits then or anything like that, but I was selling vintage clothes on EBay and Etsy, and I had an interest in fashion so I started a blog. I took baby steps, since there weren’t as many bloggers around then as there are now, and started taking and slowly publishing pictures of myself. I wanted to keep a record of my outfits.

You always have great outfit posts on your blog! What would you say your style philosophy is?

(Laughs) My philosophy, mm. I think it’s important to me to have a sense of humor. To not take myself too seriously, and to have one element that’s playful or odd and adds a bit of fun. Nothing too serious for me. (Editor’s note: Erin is wearing a vintage dress, vintage Ferragamo flats, a sweater, and a bright red hat that reminds us of Madeline. Stylish and chic? Yes, but also totally fun.)

Love that. You’ve called the bay area home for some time now- what is it about this city that you love?

It’s such a great mix. There’s some of everything– bargains like thrift stores, high end boutiques. San Francisco isn’t known for its fashion, and people are surprised to discover there’s a good fashion scene here. We don’t really have seasons, but the weather changes a lot so you see lots of interesting layering, that type of thing. The weather makes people get creative.

Your personal style involves a lot of vintage– what attracts you to thrift store and vintage clothes?

I’ve always been into vintage. It started as a bargain, since thrift stores are appealing when you’re on a budget. Vintage is totally unique. Designers are inspired by it, they look to the past to create trends, and you can find the original looks at vintage stores. It’s all about experimenting. If you’re new to vintage, the most important thing is an open mind. Don’t seek out specifics, because you won’t find them and you’ll be disappointed. It might be the middle of winter and you’ll find a great sundress. Vintage shopping is about the hunt!

Thanks Erin! You’re a wealth of inspiration, as always. And thanks for the tour of your favorite thrift stores in the ¬†Mission (below).

First stop: Thrift Town, 2101 Mission St, between 17th St & Clarion Aly. Inside a two story mecca of second hand goodies, Erin scooped up a pair of baby blue vintage Ferragamo pumps (she’s got a radar of designer vintage, this girl does) and a cream coat. The coat is missing buttons, but that’s not a problem. “I’ve got a pile of vintage clothes at home that I could get fixed up, but I rarely do. Details and imperfections add character!”

Next stop: Painted Bird, 1201 Guerrero Street. It’s a tiny shop, but it has a really well edited selection of items. Erin paws through some silk shirts (her latest obsession) and looks at a printed floral dress. “Painted Bird has a great atmosphere, like a little well curated, high end boutique, but it’s completely affordable.”

Last stop: Clothes Contact, 473 Valencia Street. This funky shop has a huge selection of wildly colored period garments, with a lot of 70s and 80s looking pieces. Also, it sells vintage clothes by the pound- something F21 shoppers will surely appreciate. Another also: the cashier was dressed as a matador. We love the Mission.

Want more must-shop thrift and vintage stores that come with Erin’s seal of approval? You got it.

Afterlife, 988 Valencia St: “A little like Painted Bird– a well curated selection in a boutique atmosphere. They also stock great jewelry from local designers.”

Idol Vintage, 3162 16th Street: “Great, affordable vintage in a really central location. If you’re coming from the BART (bay area subway system) or other public transportation, this is a great spot.”

Mission Thrift, 2330 Mission Street: “It’s run by the same people that run Clothes Contact, but it doesn’t sell by the pound. It’s been around forever, and they are super stocked. There are literally racks and racks of clothes.”

Retrofit, 910 Valencia St,¬†between 20th St & Liberty St: “A really well edited, special little boutique. It has higher end pieces, so definitely good for shopping for a special occasion piece.”

Shauplatz, 791 Valencia St, between 18th St & 19th St: “They have a lot of really old vintage– like pieces from the 1930s and 1950s. It’s pricier, but great for special dresses.”