Outfit Crisis : Layering in San Francisco
Fall is solidly here. The days are warm and breezy, the nights are cool, and the days are getting noticeably shorter. Some might argue that SF, being in California, doesn't really get four seasons. I think we do get seasons--we just don't have to deal with snowy city streets. Lucky for us, snow stays in the mountains (fingers crossed it actually snows this year!).
Layering for fall is tried and true method for dealing with the change of seasons no matter where you live. But, for San Francisco, layering is carried through all year. The things that make fall perfect for layering, are also ever present in SF's countless micro climates. The temperature fluctuates throughout the day. It can be warm and sunny at lunch, and windy and cold by dinner. Going out without a jacket in hand, even if right now it's warm out, is an amateur move. The temperature might not get down past freezing in The City, but fog and wind aren't elements you want to mess with. Unlike other major cities like New York or LA, any day of the year could actually end up feeling like fall. To help you cope, I've included several of my current faves including this pull over sweater from Madewell and my go to JCrew Factory Puffer Vest.
When layering in San Francisco, always keep in mind that the weather can and will change.
Base layer: I like a breathable tank, like the silk one above from Everlane, so that if you get warm and need to strip away a few layers you'll still look cute and be comfortable. Believe me, walking up steep hills is a great way to break a sweat, and you don't want to be sweating through you're clothes. A silky tank can easily be dressed up or down, without being too revealing.
Second layer: Next, I grab a button down, flannel or sweater. For work, I pick something that can be slightly dress or professional. A nice woven shirt or soft sweater is both totally office appropriate and will also keep you from freezing. You can tuck it in, or leave it out, or my fave--go for the half tuck. If it's the weekend or Friday I might do a long sleeved t-shirt. If it's cool but not cold, maybe no base layer and just the long sleeved tee. Your tank should fit closely underneath this layer, and should either show purposefully (like with some cute lace at the bottom or bust) or be totally invisible. Your sweater or shirt should fit comfortably, but close to the body. I love oversize sweaters, but not when you're goal is to pile on a layer or two more. You want to put your arms down, don't ya?
Third layer: Warm flexible outerwear. This could be a puffer vest, trench coat or light weight down jacket. You could also go with a denim jacket or leather one. You should be able to zip it up if and when you want to (because you will, eventually). I buy mine a bit roomy. Not big, but with enough room to comfortably wear a sweater or two underneath. Most days, this is my outside layer. Some days, if it happens to be really chilly or windy, I'll double up. Two sweaters, two t shirts or two jackets aren't bad. Here, you might need it.
Accessorize: Accessories are really personal. They take an basic outfit and transform it into something that is totally you. I always grab a pair of sunnies when I head out. Plain black, big frames, mirrored lenses--I like them all. (This is California after all!) I also love a good leather bag, and a stack of delicate bracelets. You might grab a statement necklace or a fluffy, colorful scarf. Remember that these small details can make or break your outfit, but also offer an opportunity to experiment and really make the look yours.