On a recent business trip to San Francisco, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do some gear shopping. My previous visits to San Francisco have lead me to Mr. S Leather, but this time I thought I'd branch out and see what the world-famous Castro neighborhood had to offer.
Prior to my visit, I asked my followers on social media where were some of their favorite places to buy gear in San Francisco. The silence was unusual. Did I not have any followers who lived in or had visited San Francisco? Were there a lack of gear stores? Surely a city known to be one of the gayest cities in the world would have a plethora of men's underwear shopping options, right? Hmm, maybe not.
I traveled along Castro Street popping into a few stores, but leaving without any gear. I quickly began to notice that while there were stores that offered mens underwear, that wasn't the sole focus of any of the stores. Underwear and other gear was mixed in among shirts, pants, shoes, and accessories. I found the selection of underwear to be smaller than I had hoped and there were very few brands represented. I tried a few other stores just off Castro Street but found the same situation. Every store seemed to focus on something other than underwear....you could find it, but it felt more like an afterthought in most stores.
Feeling defeated, I noticed a sign for a delicious shop called Hot Cookie. I figured if I wasn't going to find any underwear, I might as well get a treat for my sweet tooth. As I was walking towards Hot Cookie, I came across a store called Outfit. I decided I had nothing to lose so I popped into browse around. I walked into the small boutique and found it to be a similar mix of products I had seen at other stores...clothing, shoes, underwear. Much like the other stores I had visited, the products offered were all nice, I just wasn't seeing as huge of an underwear selection as I had hoped. I'll admit I was getting ready to depart when a helpful guy (Alek) behind the counter informed me that there was more upstairs...and everything upstairs was on sale! DING! DING! DING! Jackpot!
I headed up the tiny staircase to the upper level loft area. Note, the ceiling is LOW, so my tall friends probably won't like that experience. I felt like I had been transported into the attic of some fabulous gear buddy. While there wasn't a lot of underwear, there was a wonderful mix of other gear and clothing that all seemed to speak to me. (I'll admit, knowing it was all on sale also helped). Some tight shorts and pants quickly caught my eye. There were a variety of colors so I grabbed a few that caught my eye and moved on to the next rack. I don't know exactly how long I was upstairs, but it probably was more than the time I had spent in all of the other stores, combined. I had my hands full, so I decided it was time to head back downstairs and try some of the gear on.
Since the upstairs featured all sale items, I had to try on some sizes that weren't what I normally wear, but I thought I'd give it a shot and see if it worked. I tried to squeeze into a small, shiny gold singlet, but it just was not meant to be. I did however, end up purchasing some tight football looking shorts/pants and mesh tank.
After leaving Outfit, I finally made it to Hot Cookie where I opted for the chocolate rice krispie bar instead of their famous chocolate covered macaroon penis treat. Definitely a great spot for a sweet bite after shopping.
While I was happy to not leave San Francisco empty handed with gear, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the available underwear selections. Perhaps in this tech-savvy area, internet sales have put the brick-and-mortar underwear stores out of business? Perhaps that's why all of the stores that did sell underwear, had a variety of other clothing and shoe options? Or maybe I just really missed the good stores? If so, point me in the right direction for my next visit! I do know I'll be back to visit Outfit and see what other fabulous things I can find!