San Francisco Street Style

A  couple of months ago I read a blog post about San Francisco style complete with numerous photos of gorgeous young women wearing 5″ platform sandals and strapless sundresses.  They looked great but I couldn’t picture any of them in the generally foggy, cool, hilly city where I was born. So, on my most recent trip to the Bay area I toted along my camera in the hopes of capturing some REAL San Francisco street style.

San Francisco street style varies with the neigborhood

The fashion scene in “The City” changes depending upon the neighborhood.  Often each area has it’s own unique feel. People downtown tend to dress more formally, and you’ll usually see your trendiest looks there. For instance, the girls wearing the striped outfits in the photo above were enjoying a sunny moment near the Ferry Building in the downtown area.  Meanwhile, in the photo below a casual group in jeans and T-shirts strolls a street near the Haight Ashbury.

Comfortable Shoes

San Francisco is known for it’s hills.  It’s also a city that encourages walking and the use of public transportation. As a result it’s really rare to see anyone in high heels.  Sneakers, like the converse seen on the street car in the photo above, or other sensible walking shoes are the footwear of choice for both men and women. The wedge sandals on the girl below were some of the highest heels I saw the whole week and a half of my stay.

Layer Up!

The weather in the City by the Bay is mercurial.  It can be cold and drizzly near the ocean and change to warm and sunny by the end of a streetcar ride.  As a result people tend to dress in layers like the couple below.

Does San Francisco have Style?

Recently Danielle Steel, on of San Francisco’s more famous residents, told the Wall Street Journal that:

San Francisco is a great city to raise children, but I was very happy to leave it,…There’s no style, nobody dresses up—you can’t be chic there. It’s all shorts and hiking books and Tevas—it’s as if everyone is dressed to go on a camping trip. I don’t think people really care how they look there; and I look like a mess when I’m there, too.

Although I can see her point of view, I really don’t agree.  San Francisco residents have their own look that relates perfectly to their surroundings and lifestyle.  Although a lot of people live in their jeans and fleece jackets, I saw a lot of very chic ensembles.  The woman below is clean and crisp in a white dress with black accessories.

The woman in the photo below looks elegant in an all-neutral outfit.

Quite a few women were wearing cut out shirts with inserts of lace. The young woman in the photo below is a perfect example of the eclectic but practical style that I expect to see in San Francisco.

San Francisco is a unique place.  I don’t expect the residents to look like they live in Paris, L.A. or New York.  In fact, I think it would be quite boring if they did.

If you’ve been to San Francisco or you live there what do you think of the style?  Looking at my photos do you think Danielle Steel is correct of is she just being a snob?

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10 Responses to San Francisco Street Style

  1. Alexis of NorthOnHarper August 3, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I love the blush look with the cardigan…. it is easy and elegant!

    Some of the people look a little more casual than I attempt to be– but I don’t have a serious problem with the style (a la Danielle Steel). It may not be super stylish, but it isn’t horrendous either!
    Alexis of NorthOnHarper recently posted..Confessions Of A ZookeeperMy Profile

  2. Hugo August 3, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Excellent post. This is one of my favorites.

  3. Paula August 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I don’t live there, so it would be hard to give an educated answer but based on your photos, it does look more casual than I would expect. Here in Boston, it’s pretty conservative. And colors in the winter are dull, dull, dull.

    Thanks for the street style photos–great!
    Paula recently posted..Jewelry SwapMy Profile

    August 4, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    They’re still more stylish than anyone in the Midwest (where I’m from). Some of these outfits are especially unique… I also don’t see ‘casual’ as being ‘a mess.’ You can be casual and still chic!

    I’ve never been to San Fran but would love to go. It looks so different from LA!

  5. Dress Code: High Fashion
    August 4, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    All looks very relaxed & comfortable.

  6. mary jo
    August 25, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I like that you mention how the people dress for their environment. SF does have it’s own style, though in 7 years of living up there I never saw a pair of 5″ heels or much makeup or bright colors–so it’s not for everyone, haha.

    xo Mary Jo
    mary jo recently posted..missoni: italian eye candy turning japaneseMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      I saw a few high heels, but not like here in L.A. where every other girl is wearing crazy high platforms. But then we don’t walk much do we?


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