Shopping the Haight

Tired of people-watching on Haight Street? Then try the shopping. These are some of the stores worth a stop:

* Dharma, 1600 Haight St. Indian print cottons, tie-dyed tops and velour mini-dresses evoke the days of peace symbols and water pipes. Ex-hippie mothers shop here with their daughters. It's fun and funky, and the imported flower child clothing won't break the bank. Prices range from $5 to $150.

* Solo Fashion, 1599 Haight St. (big store) and 1472 Haight St. (small store). Lovely, long, romantic dresses in flowered rayon prints co-exist peacefully with tight, short lace dresses. A dashing collection of Mad Hatter hats nearly steals the show. Heavy emphasis on Los Angeles and Bay Area designers, including owner Cornelia Reich, with some one-of-a-kind designs. Small men's section at 1599 Haight features fanciful silk shirts. Wonderful accessories. Prices range from $22 to $200 at the small store; from $20 to $300 at the big store.

* Ambiance, 1458 Haight St. Dresses, blouses, skirts and pants in rayon and cotton, mainly for young contemporary customers, although clients range from 13 to 70. One-third of the goods are private label, with the rest from L.A. and New York designers. Mostly moderate, but dresses can run as high as $300. Elegant, soothing, er, ambience.

* Daljeet's, 1744 Haight St. For the rock 'n' roll set, black patent leather boots with peace symbol clasps and "wickedly cool T-shirts." Alternative fashions, strictly for the young club crowd. Prices range from 50 cents to $300.

* The New Government, 1427 Haight St. Never-been-worn polka-dotted shoes with 4-inch platforms? Bell-bottomed earth-tone pants? Vinyl jackets? Egad! It must be the 1970s. From the worst decade for fashion in memory. Is that disco music we hear? Great for Halloween. Prices range from $25 to $60.

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