Buy Curious: Oodles of Online Bargains, Prepping for the Playa, and TJ Maxx Opens in Alameda

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Got $100 burning a big whole in your pocket? Maybe $23? From the web to your local strip mall - we've got the lowdown on amazing bargains calling your name. And speaking of "burning," what are you wearing to the Playa this year? If furry boots and bikinis ain't your thang, pray that a new San Francisco fashion district gets off the ground. Read all about it in this week's edition of Buy Curious!

furry boots and bikinis ain't your thang, pray that a new San Francisco fashion district gets off the ground. Read all about it in this week's edition of Buy Curious!

SHOP TALK

Azalea: New and Improved Hayes Valley boutique Azalea, opened by two friends in 2003, has taken on aggressive expansion as of late - the launch of online store Tobi.com, and now, the doubling of their space with a new expanded store on Gough Street. Specializing in that urban-casual look that SF hipsters love - the skinny jeans, baby-doll tops, and jersey dresses made popular by designers like James Perse, Rachel Pally, and Velvet - Azalea hosts a special party to mark the opening of their new store, which includes an eco-friendly section. Stop in for a mani/pedi at their nail salon, drinks, and DJ fun. When: Sat., Aug. 18, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Where: 411 Hayes St., San Francisco

TJ Maxx Grand Opening in Alameda The mall formerly known as South Shore Center, now called Alameda Towne Center is slowly turning into an actual retail destination, at least if you like big box stores. In addition to Trader Joe's, Safeway, and Mervyn's, the shopping center (which sits on landfill) is stepping it up a notch with the recent addition of Old Navy and, opening this weekend, a new TJ Maxx. Also in the works: Bed, Bath & Beyond and Borders Books. When: Sun., Aug. 19, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Where: Park Street at Otis Drive, Alameda

Evening Bazaar Travel to other warm-weather cities (like Miami) and you'll notice boutiques wisely stay open well after it gets dark. So why not do the same here? That's what the organizers of the Nite Souk Festival apparently wondered, too. This Saturday, check out their "magical" and "eclectic" event bringing together culture, street performers, and exotic foods. Produced by Entice and Devika's Palacio in collaboration with Novometro and Old Oakland Outdoor Cinema, the event also features henna body art, tarot readings, dance and music, comedy circus, and more. When: Sat., Aug. 18, 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Where: Old Oakland (Washington St. near 19th St.) l_1f6ce72abc67a1371e0208e3e31b2689.jpg

Mission Indie Mart Check out local designs, crafts, and vintage fare in the Mission this weekend! When: Sat., Aug. 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Where: 25th St. at Guerrero, San Francisco Burning Man Brazilian Wax Happy Fun Time Need inspiration for the playa? Head over to this all-day music and fashion event featuring dozens of performers and designers. (But really, the only styling you need is a Brazilian!) When: Sun., Aug. 19, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Where: Café Cocomo, 650 Indiana St., San Francisco How much it'll cost ya: $10 w/RSVP to info@nk7productions.com, $15 at the door, free before 3 p.m. Online Deal Alerts These online bargains are just too good to pass up! WICKTOCK_LG.jpg ** Aerosoles: Save up to 65 percent off end-of-summer pairs like chic gladiators, chunky wooden-platform sandals, and shimmery numbers to spice up your collection. For just $30, get multiple colors! ** Anthropologie: Save up to 50 percent off Anthropologie's delectable collection of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. ** Bluefly: Check out their largest sale of the year, going on now! Save up to 65 percent off looks from Theory, Cynthia Steffe, Catherine Maladrino, and more.

FASHANALYSIS: Style News & Views

San Francisco, a Fashion Destination? San Francisco seems like a stylish city on the outside - picturesque scenery, an air of mystique, plenty of creative types - yet its fashion sorely lacks. Perhaps you could blame it on the challenging landscape, the gale-force-like winds that threaten to tear that cute little silk chiffon number right off you. Or maybe it's some rebellious streak leftover from the hippie days. Whatever the case, Yetunde Schuhmann hopes to change all that with the creation of a new fashion district. According to an article last week in the Chronicle, the president of the San Francisco Innovative Design Council wants to create incentives for local manufacturing, host more runway events, and secure studio and retail space on Sixth Street, of all places. Her idea -- inspired by the Toronto Fashion Incubator and New York's Council of Fashion Designers of America -- now has the support of the mayor. "The fashion sector in San Francisco lacks cohesiveness," Schuhmann wrote in a business proposal to City Hall. "This is, in part, because many of the main players within this industry are having difficulty keeping their heads above water financially ... but if well-respected individuals in San Francisco with national and international influence in the fashion industry band together for this cause, there is a good chance that others will follow." Schuhmann also pleaded for San Franciscans to be more "refined." Good luck! Every Friday, Buy Curious dishes on the hottest fashion trends, news, and sales in the East Bay and beyond. If you've got suggestions for shops or Web site to feature, comments on the blog, or a burning style question you'd like us to answer in our occasional column, Buy Clueless, send them our way! BuyCurious[at]EastBayExpress[dot]com

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