If you’re at all familiar with these pages, you know that I spend a fair amount of time writing about food. Over these last seven and a half months that hasn’t changed much, but the material somehow seems to be striking a different chord with people. I think that’s because unlike so many things in our lives, food has remained unchanged during this period. Those things that you just love to eat? They are just as good as ever.

Al’s Attire has the most attractive collection of masks I’ve seen anywhere. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

I find clothes to be similar. Much like good food, good clothing remains just as satisfying as it ever was. Granted, we may not have as many places to go these days. But to me, this simplification that we’ve all gone through has just made the basics that much more important. And in terms of our quotidian habits, besides the food we eat, what could be more fundamental than the clothing on our backs?

Al’s Attire has designs to appeal to anyone’s fashion sensibilities. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

This renewed interest in matters sartorial has another, more concrete source: my discovery of Al’s Attire. Al Ribaya has been operating his eponymous shop on Grant Avenue for over 15 years, but it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve begun working with him closely. And in that time, I’ve become near-fanatical. I’ve written here before about the letter-perfect suit that Al initially made for me, and more recently about the dilapidated shoes that he both refurbished and recreated in a new color.

A favorite pair of shoes, both rejuvenated–and reborn. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

Al hasn’t let the pandemic slow him down—if anything, it’s infused him with a new creative energy. Not only has Al’s Attire become the North Beach hotspot for fashion-forward masks, they’ve also introduced a unique Fight The Virus line of jackets and shirts incorporating vintage superhero fabrics. The line was so well-received that Al followed it up with a Stop The Virus collection, and he can barely keep up with demand.

Al’s Superhero-themed ‘Fight The Virus’ line has taken on near-cult status. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

In between all of this production, Al hasn’t forgotten about his old friends….including yours truly. In fact, the two items I just picked up are going to absolutely make my Halloween. 

First, check out this shirt:

The Shirt.

Now check out the jacket:

The lining of The Jacket.

Finally, the ensemble:

Ready for the Halloween weekend. Note the jacket’s fabric is actually a very heavy-duty gabardine, though it appears supple.

As you can see in the photos, the dedication to detail on these garments is no less than extraordinary. The buttons, the colors, the lining: consulting with Al, I chose every last detail. The shop is a treasure trove of fabrics and fasteners, buttons and beads, and the options are nearly limitless. There’s only one thing more fun than designing your own garment–and that’s the day your finished item shows up.

Vintage buttons are just one of the unique touches on this one-of-a-kind jacket. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

As you might imagine, I couldn’t be happier with my new items. I can’t wait to wear them on Saturday, and to get working on the next thing—new boots, perhaps? I’m constantly looking around for ideas, and being involved in the design of the pieces has really brought back my enthusiasm for shopping. And in times when diversion can be hard to come by, that’s very much appreciated.

So do yourself a favor, and pay Al a visit. Hey, you might just fall in love with clothes again.

See you in the neighborhood!


Al’s Attire
1300 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA
(415) 693-9900