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The second-floor lounge at AetherSF

Sometimes the store itself is as big a draw as the clothes inside. That?s definitely the case with AetherSF.

The first stand-alone retail space from the sleek outerwear company is constructed from three steel shipping containers stacked on top of each other. The L.A.-based founders, Jonah Smith and Palmer West, teamed up with French designer Thierry Gaugain and Berkeley firm Envelope A+D to create the industrial structure that juts out on Hayes Street.

Inside, tannish reclaimed oak lines the floors and mural-size photos of stark wintry landscapes cover the walls. There?s a glass-enclosed lounge on the second floor, where you can sit in modern Eames chairs and contemplate your next outdoor excursion (even if it?s just to the Biergarten next door). Our favorite feature is the three-story conveyor belt that stashes most of the store?s jackets and rotates them around when you want to try one on.

Which brings us to why we really came here: for the grown-up gear. Few companies make sophisticated sportswear the way Aether does?with performance-friendly fabrics and modern styles. We?d happily wear the Space Hoodie on the streets and the slopes.

AetherSF is carrying mostly outerwear right now, but slouchy knits will arrive soon. We?ll try to contain ourselves till then.

489 Hayes St.; 415-437-2345 or

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