Boutique Peek: Oak Common in Oakland
The Grand Lake boutique blends Bay Area ease and on-trend styles, with a focus on emerging designers and locally made wares.
All photos by Tessa Love
Step into Grand Lake’s newly opened Oak Common, and you’ll feel what owners Jeffrey Probart and David Yun call a “quintessential Bay Area ease.” Hundred-year-old reclaimed wood beams, air plant and antler wall decorations, and a wagon wheel leaning in the corner lend a clean and casual aesthetic to the shop, which focuses on classic, trend-driven men and women’s clothing.
“I wanted it to have a really warm, inviting, lodge type of feel,” Probart says. “I like a clean vibe.” Probart and Yun moved to Oakland last year after spending 15 years in San Francisco’s boutique scene. After noticing a gap between vintage shops and higher-end boutiques in Oakland, the two built the concept for Oak Common as a “refined interpretation of trends,” with inspiration gleaned from street style and casual northern Californian trends.
What you’ll find
Subdued geometric and tribal prints pattern the tunics of the women’s racks, while the men’s side focuses on hard denim, classic button-up shirts, and causal sweaters. Both sides sport simple T-shirts and jeans in mainstay shapes and colors. “I try not to go too over the top with what the trends are,” Probart says, “but present them in a way that’s going to last for people.”
Brands range from the old standards, including Cheap Monday and B.B. Dakota, to smaller, boutique lines such as Bridge and Burn from Portland and Dear Creatures from Los Angeles, all aimed to ring in for less than $150. Probart’s favorites are the handmade brands produced both locally and in the United States, including San Francisco men’s shirt brand Cary LaScala and Oak Common’s latest designer, Gina di Girolamo, who produces casual, form-driven women’s T-shirts and sweaters. But the boutique’s collection is still growing and shifting.
“We’re shooting for more brands that we love,” Probart says. “We’ve been asking our customers what they want to see and getting good feedback.” Next on the order list is Pendleton and Pendleton Portland, and possibly shoes, which customers have been requesting since the boutique opened its doors.
Who you’ll see
Oak Common’s trendy, youthful vibe draws mostly 20- to 30-somethings. But the diverse and walkable neighborhood has brought some unexpected customers into the shop, too, including couples wandering over from the Saturday farmers market. The most unexpected costumers, though, have been men. “At first, we had no idea how menswear was going to do,” Probart said, “but the men are just flocking here.”
Probart and Yun’s latest project is Backstock Gallery, an “art project space” that opened last month and fills two small, unused rooms tucked in the back of the store. The gallery’s focus is on film, installation, and experimental work by Bay Area artists. The show changes monthly, and each new exhibition launches with an opening party.
Poncho and Lola, the two shop dogs, can be found basking in the sun on the sidewalk or napping behind the counter, and will be sure to give you a friendly greeting.
For the guys, check out Sam’s Natural, a soap company for men developed by a mechanic of 20 years who couldn’t find a good, natural soap to get the grease off his hands. Sam’s now makes balms, salves, deodorant, and aftershave, and has quickly become one of Oak Common’s most popular brands.
Also, don’t forget to check out the sale rack at the back of the shop for amazing deals, and remember to swing by often as new spring merchandise is added.
3231 Grand Ave., Oakland, (510) 285-6629, oakcommon.com.