Pimp My Pup

Yap Stores in Ghirardelli Square makes hip and comfy threads for dogs.

(Photo by Jessie Schiewe)

Earlier this month, hundreds of models strutted down New York runways donning the latest (and, in some cases, the zaniest) fall and winter fashions, like skin-tight corsets worn over shirts, skyscraper-high Mary Janes, ridiculously oversize long sleeves, faux dreadlocks, platform combat boots, and sheer, well, everything. Though the models looked great, they also looked uncomfortable, because that’s the other thing about fashion: It’s painful. But it doesn’t have to be — that is, if you’re a dog.

At Yap Stores, a 10-year-old boutique canine clothing and accessories store in Ghirardelli Square, fashion and comfort aren’t mutually exclusive. While you can find everything from Hawaiian shirts, denim overalls, and Burberry plaid dresses to knit sweaters, sports jerseys, and leather vests, each piece has been specifically designed and tailored to suit a dog’s needs. For example, a silk reptile-print dress with a full skirt is designed with velcro straps so you can strap the frock around the dog’s body instead of trying to squeeze them into it, and the light-reflective raincoats are cut differently depending on the dog’s gender to prevent mishaps while answering nature’s call.

“When a dog puts on our clothing, they feel good because we figure out how to make the clothes fit and be comfortable,” Liy Kath, Yap Stores’ owner and head product designer, says.

The outfits and accoutrements — which include hats, sunglasses, socks, beds, harnesses, and purses — are created by a team of designers (with occasional input from engineers at UC Davis) and manufactured in a factory by the airport. One bag, the patented Yap Sack, which looks like a baby carrier that you strap to your chest, went through multiple prototypes and took more than a year to develop. Speaking of bags, there’s also a suede shoulder sling for holding your dog close to your hip, and a range of discreet, “incognito” handbags in bright hues and various patterns, like zebra and plaid, for stowing your pup in.

“This is serious what we’re doing here,” Kath says. “It’s not just cute and whimsical. Cute can be overrated, and we’re trying to be more technical.” And, he adds, if an item of clothing doesn’t fit, Yap will exchange it for a different size and ship it to you at no additional cost.

In true San Francisco spirit, lace wedding dresses and tuxedos are also available because, you know, dogs can get married, too. There’s even a smattering of items that come in sizes for both dogs and humans so that you can be twinsies with your furry friend. So if you always wanted to laze around your apartment in matching terrycloth bathrobes with your dog, now’s your chance.

Yap Stores
900 North Point St., Suite 204.
415-346-8878; yapstores.com

Check out more stories from the Beasts and Birds of S.F.:

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Hangin’ With Officer Edith
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The Real Fancy Feast
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The Birds, Beasts, and Snakes of San Francisco
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