A few months ago, a longtime friend from California came to New York for a conference, and called to see if I was around for lunch. He lives in San Francisco and works at a publicly traded social-networking site in Silicon Valley, and we planned to meet at the Columbus Circle monument. I arrived early, got coffee, waited. And waited. But no one was there: just a picnicking couple and an old dude in relaxed-fit chinos and a Gore-Tex shell. I got up to leave. Then the old dude yelled my name.
I hadn’t recognized my friend—all of 28 years old! He’d registered far beyond the limits of my sexual radar. The reason why, up close, was obvious. He was wearing Rockports. He’d been living in San Francisco too long.
I grew up in that city, and still love it. San Francisco does many things better than most: bridges, hills, car chases, skateboarding, sourdough, fog, and earthquake preparedness—but never, ever men’s fashion. S.F. style is the clothing equivalent of water: The taste is so neutral, you can’t be sure it’s there. Money might be transforming the city in other ways, but its clothing will remain forever comfy and functional.
“New York, to me, always had a sense of trying too hard,” says Jarrett Fuller, 24, who moved to San Francisco from Dumbo last spring to work at another publicly traded social network. Since going west, Jarrett has been wearing the exact same outfit every day for a year: a white cotton collared shirt tucked into jeans with a brown belt. (He owns multiples of each.) The guy who sits next to him at work is considering a similar regime.
This mentality is all about letting your ideas do the talking, says Woods Buckley, a Bay Area native and Google employee who describes a local uniform of free company T-shirts. “There’s an appreciation of not spending money on clothing.” Transplants from afar, like London or New York. will often arrive at Google in “a jacket, nice slacks, formal shoes,” Buckley says, only to undergo a swift transformation into short-sleeves and Patagonias, or “Patagucci,” as he and his friends call the pricy fleeces. Buckley reports that he has never seen a single cuff link at Google. He did, however, recently order a pair of Betabrand “Dress Pant Sweatpants,”a kind of trompe l’oeil pant tailored for the boardroom but constructed out of terrycloth.
Read the full article here: http://nymag.com/news/features/san-francisco-style-2014-3/?mid=twitter_nymag
Molly Young is a contributor to New York Magazine.
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