Skinny Pants in San Francisco

28th February

How would you define San Francisco style? Is it even possible to define a style or styles in such a metropolitan area? I perceive that in general, there is a particular style among San Franciscans, and just as I recently posted about Seattle street style and New England (winter) style – and a while back about Santa Cruz style, I have decided to take on the challenge.

Let me share with you some of my people (style) watching last weekend and common elements  I found among the lovely muses at Union Square in balmy San Francisco (my sympathy goes out to my readers in less hospitable zones this winter).

Skinny Pants are everywhere

One of my favorite looks on the streets of San Francisco (and the cause of a few dressing room pep talks – to myself) this winter is the skinny pant look. Particularly in dark colors, it can (in the right cut on the right body) create a lovely slim silhouette as part of an ongoing clothing movement which evidences precisely how much we mind our physical conditioning.

Obviously, the skinny pant is popular everywhere, but I could not ignore its prevalence while musing about San Francisco style. Unlike Los Angeles, this California hot spot is not particularly known for bling or extra fuss. Laid back and low-key seem to be good descriptors for the way skinny pants are typically worn on a Saturday afternoon in San Francisco.

Skinny pantsMany of the looks showed distinctive elements of androgyny.

Skinny pants

skinny pants

The look of the center muse is especially awesome in my opinion. The jacket cinching at the waist creates a flattering lady-like silhouette, while sturdy heeled boots are a nice counterbalance.

Of course, huge numbers of tourists at Union Square might skew one’s impression by providing examples of looks requiring more effort.

Skinny pants in San Francisco

Dare I hypothesis that the lovely lady on the right is a tourist rather than a local muse?

While the looks captured above combine skinny pants with wintry boots, it was striking to me how many women are still wearing shoes and sandals sock-less – in February! Of course, the option exists as long as temperatures hover in the mid to high 60’s.

Skinny pants

Laid back needn’t mean unstylish, as we see in the great footwear choices of these muses. The fedora is particularly cool here, don’t you think?

Layering is big in San Francisco. After all, you never know what the skies might bring at any given moment. I love the ironic juxtaposition of ballerina flats sans socks with a puffy vest (pictured above) or sandals and white jeans with a down winter jacket (below).

Skinny pants

…or the vision of a woman walking around sleeveless…in February!

Skinny pants

The following muses created an ever so slightly dressier look with jackets and/or more delicate looking footwear.  

Skinny jeans

Skinny pants

The muse on the left looks so 1960’s (classic retro, I would call it) while the lady on the right shows more of an L.A. flare, with bright white raincoat and polished looking scarf. Both lovely in their own ways.

Skinny pants

These ladies make good use of layering, although their ensembles look more “think Spring” than dead of winter, don’t you think?

A few San Franciscans, not being especially curvy nor possessing extra “athletic” thighs, looked great in skinny pants of lighter/brighter colors. It seems like a perfectly appropriate choice in a city where it can feel more like summer now than in July.

Skinny pantsLeggings didn’t seem as prevalent in San Francisco that Saturday, but the look is nearly identical – at least a close cousin.


The muse to the right is stunning in a look which is potentially very difficult to pull off: bright red flats with boldly patterned leggings. Physical conditioning definitely plays a role when the silhouette is broken up so many times!

In a city which is traditionally as non-conformist as San Francisco, you have to expect there to be dissenters. Baggy pants – the exaggerated type – have their place too. Harem pants or the type pictured directly below are an interesting change of pace and an opportunity for a more sculptural look.

DSC03240 - Version 2


So, how would I define skinny pant style in San Francisco? What I can say is that there is not a single look, no cookie cutter way of dressing which I have seen in other areas. San Franciscans seem to think for themselves even while engaging in a popular trend.

At the same time, I noticed a commonality in particular elements, including no-fuss casual/androgyny to a celebration of Spring in winter, combining both warm weather and winter garments/footwear.

Yes, San Francisco is an exciting place of free thinking and divergent ideas. I hope you will check back for my next post on San Francisco style.



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