35 responses

  1. Jennifer
    April 9, 2015

    Great packing tips. Our microclimates do nail many tourists! And yes, I’ve sadly seen clods wearing jeans to opening night at the opera. California Casual at it’s extreme worse.

    04/09/15
    1:21 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jennifer, Thank you fellow Norcal dweller!

  2. Chronica Domus
    April 9, 2015

    I respectfully beg to differ. Even though you state “you can wear jeans anywhere”, does not necessarily mean you should.

    My husband and I always make a point to dress for dinner, especially so at some of the better restaurants around town, and that never means jeans. I think it is a matter of respect for the establishment (same goes for places of worship, the opera, the ballet etc.).

    Your other points are all excellent, and layering is certainly the key to a successful visit to our city by the Bay, no matter the month!

    04/09/15
    1:27 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Chronica Domus, We will respectfully differ, then. I cannot think of – although I am by no means familiar with the majority of good restaurants, only several – of a place where jeans worn carefully would be an automatic sign of disrespect for the establishment. Dishevelment would be, or cheap shirts with slogans and the like, but the city is influenced more and more by Silicon Valley where Peter Thiel, one of our thought and venture leaders, wrote famously that he dismisses startup founders who come to him in suits. Now, I believe the controversial Mr. Thiel goes too far, but I do think part of the California ethos is to suspect that everyone we see might be brilliant something or others who were just too busy or distracted to put on a tie:).

    Of course, I think that those who do eschew jeans add to our city’s diversity and sparkle. I appreciate the elegant, enormously. But as one who, to this day, will call her sister to ask, “What are we wearing,” I can confirm that the answer is often, “Jeans. It’s California:).” With no disrespect intended.

  3. Leslie
    April 9, 2015

    We visit SF as often as possible (we have a great excuse: our son lives there)and your choices suit me well. The Oscar de la Renta dress is gorgeous!

    04/09/15
    1:28 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Leslie, Perfect excuse. Now if I just had an excuse to NEED the de la Renta:).

  4. Frances/Materfamilias
    April 9, 2015

    Duly noted. Hoping to make another trip to your lovely city within the next year or two. Now I’ll know how to dress (quite honestly, not so much different than in mine, although we might tweak the layer-ratios)

    04/09/15
    1:28 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Frances/Materfamilias, I think Vancouver and San Francisco are very, very similar places, except in our relationship to rain. Looking forward to your next visit!

  5. Mardel
    April 9, 2015

    Noted. It has been a few years since I’ve visited San Francisco but hope to get back to traveling and back there in the foreseeable future. Oh, and as an artsy cousin with grand dame by night tendencies, I’d wear everything you’ve shown. (and it is not so different from what I do wear, although once the weather warms here we need far fewer layers.

    04/09/15
    1:29 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, I hope you come out soon too. And I was thinking of my time back East in summer, and that is the difference, you don’t cool down at night the way we do.

  6. Mary anne
    April 9, 2015

    Former NorCal resident here, I remember being horrified way back when we went to the SF Opera (not opening night) and seeing people in jeans. Ay yi yi! We now live near Boise and the dress code is pretty similar, but not the weather.

    04/09/15
    4:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    Ay yi yi is right. Opening night at the opera is a long-standing social event. Seems that if people want to attend, they ought to honor the occasion. I mean, they can go in jeans all kinds of other times:). I feel like at the opera jeans-wearers are wrecking the fun for others. At restaurants we’re all seated so it seems fairly harmless.

  7. déjà pseu
    April 9, 2015

    Lisa, I think you’ve nailed it. Microclimates are key, as are layers. And a windbreaker.

    04/09/15
    4:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    The light jacket totally has to be a windbreaker. I should have made that clearer!

  8. Sue B @highheelsinthewilderness.blogspot.ca
    April 9, 2015

    You do that packing/capsule wardrobe thing so well, Lisa. Now…can you do that for Paris…. before, say, May 3??? Coz I’m severely stressing about what to wear in Paris. Still, once I haul all my “potentials” out and start to try stuff on…I’ll probably feel better. But it’s Paris!!! How come I never worried a bit about Sydney, London, New York, Dublin?? Probably because that was before I started reading fashion blogs and saw all the cool outfits everyone else was wearing. Sigh. I guess it’s a question of too much research.

    04/10/15
    7:53 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sue B @highheelsinthewilderness.blogspot.ca, For Paris I have to point you to Sue at Une Femme – who you know already of course:). I always think hardest about Paris and New York, when I have traveled there, because they are the twin cities of fashion and who am I to swim against those currents:). It will of course not matter, just stride about in your fishing boots and you’ll start a new trend, oh gorgeous one.

  9. RoseAG
    April 9, 2015

    I’ve been cold every time I’ve been to San Francisco, I think I’d add a cotton sweater into those outfits.

    04/10/15
    7:54 am
    Lisa said...

    @RoseAG, I have gotten used to feeling cold when I head out the door, and warming up as I walk. 10 minutes into whatever foraging I’m doing and I’m good. If, that is, I’ve remembered to wear a scarf to keep my neck warm and my ears if it’s really windy.

  10. Renee
    April 9, 2015

    Okay, I am a San Francisco Bay Area resident for over 50 years and am still amazed and chuckle at all the clothing I carry in my car in order to be prepared for our microclimates (funny, my husband’s degree is in Meteorology).

    Lisa, I think you got it right! However, I have the ubiquitous down vest stashed in the trunk for when the fog rolls in…Burr :)

    04/10/15
    7:55 am
    Lisa said...

    @Renee, I have a down vest from UNIQLO:). I find I need it more in August than April though! And hello to a fellow SF Bay citizen!

  11. Jane
    April 10, 2015

    Wish I had an Oscar de la Renta size budget because that dress is gorgeous! It reminds me of your wedding gown with its tulle layers and silhouette.

    04/10/15
    7:55 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jane, Hehe. I noted the similarity but didn’t want to make it all about me:). Thank you for taking that burden off my shoulders…

  12. hostessofthehumblebungalow
    April 10, 2015

    We get the fog here too but I found that I needed more layers than I packed the last time we visited SF…early mornings were especially chilly and my Pacific Northwest Gore Tex Pacific Trail jacket was not quite warm enough…next time I’d pack a cashmere cardigan…love SF!
    The city is perfect for walking and we walked about 6 or 7 hours each day so comfy walking shoes are most important…
    Oh and I loved to shop in Gumps.

    04/10/15
    7:56 am
    Lisa said...

    @hostessofthehumblebungalow, Gumps! I agree. Very unique home goods store, great jewelry, Asian artifacts etc.

  13. AK
    April 10, 2015

    What do you mean the fog is disappearing? That’s one of my favorite things about the City. I love Mother Nature’s free air conditioning!

    I’ll be down at the end of the month for a garden tour in Marin and a museum visit in the City. In one day. I’ll definitely be thinking about microclimates. Marin is usually 5-10 degrees warmer than SF, especially the Presidio. I’ll definitely take a windbreaker. I have a Kuhl jacket that looks okay in town. My shoe choice is problematic. Comfort is important, but so is traction. I may have to go with my Salomon hikers. They are definitely 8 hour shoes.

    04/10/15
    11:35 am
    Lisa said...

    @AK, In 2010 there were fears we were losing our fog. Now the picture is much, um, foggier;). http://www.ericsimons.net/?p=10 I too love the marine layer, it is our identity, I think.

    Have a good visit!

  14. Nancy
    April 10, 2015

    Good tips! But that temperature range should be expressed as F, not C. (72°C = 161°F)

    Oakland resident here (for almost 30 years). The best advice I’ve ever heard about dressing for our multiple climates is: “Always carry a sweater, and always carry sunglasses.”

    Now please tell me what to wear to a business meeting in St. Louis in May!

    04/10/15
    11:36 am
    Lisa said...

    @Nancy, Yikes! With a photographer and a copywriter I could maybe be an actual blogger! Thank you. And I have never been to St. Louis. I wonder if some readers here might know.

  15. Patsy
    April 10, 2015

    I was wondering about that…… temps between 48C and 72C would really only be temperate in Hell and you’d have bigger things to worry about than your clothing in Hell.

    04/10/15
    3:58 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, Yeah, yeah, yeah;). xoxoxox.

  16. Leanne
    April 11, 2015

    So true. I live in SF and have a lightweight jacket that packs small. I call it my “summer down.”

    If someone visits for work, the classic tech exec SF look: carefully distressed jeans + (is that ironed?) white T-shirt + finely tailored Italian wool blazer and some polished shoes (or sneakers, of course :)

    04/11/15
    9:13 am
    Lisa said...

    Oh yes! Classic tech exec look. Classic.

  17. kathy
    April 11, 2015

    Yes the microclimates. In LA it can change 20 degrees between the shade and the sun. When people visit us from the east coast they’re always surprised at how cold it can get at night. Layers are key. Love the McQueen scarf.

    04/11/15
    9:14 am
    Lisa said...

    Oh yes, I forgot! The sunny side of the street is a completely different experience than the shady side. Thanks!

Back to top
mobile desktop