Note: Wardrobe Remix is a series of posts inspired by creative ways to get more out of your wardrobe during a seasonal change. To view similar posts, check the “Wardrobe Remix” tag.
2 Fabulous, Temperature-Adaptable Outfits for Cold Mornings That Melt into Hot Days
Ah, California. The Golden State. A paradise whose infinite sunshine and perpetually warm temperatures frame a sarong- and sandal-clad existence. At least, this was the Hollywood-designed stereotype I blissfully believed before I moved to San Francisco for a job in September 2012.
Imagine how shattered my childlike expectations were when I first leapt from the Volvo upon arrival at my new San Francisco apartment, only to be greeted by a wind so frigid, tears froze to my eyeballs. Where was my mythical California sun?
Granted, it was 2:30am and I was delirious from days of driving and living off gas station granola bars and greasy Days Inn breakfast buffets, but this freezing breeze on a cloudy night didn’t align at all with my “sunny with a high of 75” assumptions. This Jersey boy had dressed for beach weather, with a short-sleeved shirt and shorts so short, my boxers billowed in the wind. I looked and felt like a misguided tourist; the only things missing were the oversized fannypack and a local attraction map stained with sunblock and aloe vera.
Here’s the thing about California : Los Angeles isn’t San Francisco. In fact, with San Francisco lying 381 miles north, they’re literally not even close. Most of the California seen on the big and small screens highlights the sun-soaked indulgence of Los Angeles life.
San Francisco, on the other hand, is a decidedly foggier, grittier city that exalts its body hair, its beards and beanies, and its hand-knitted hoodies. Notice a theme? Need for hair growth patterns and clothing accessories conducive to warmth.
However, I find that dressing warm and growing hair to insulate against the cold isn’t good enough, because San Francisco’s weather is as flaky and unpredictable as your typical Tinder match; this city is infamous for thirty degree disparities in a twenty-four hour time period.
So, how’s a local to dress with mornings that chill to the bone chased off by afternoons where sweat beads slide down the spine like wet lemmings?
My key is to dress to adapt. Meaning, wear immediately malleable outfits that yield to a simple re-purpose to meet changing temperature needs throughout the day. Below are two outfits that translate into four unique looks while seamlessly marrying both fabulous style and multi-temperature utility.
Warning : iPhone photography and a stunningly handsome but begrudging clothing model lie ahead.
Outfit 1 : Sweater Together
My first outfit blends classic Americana inspiration with millennial sass. The outfit’s upper half consists of a preppy vintage acrylic v-neck cable sweater coupled with an equally preppy cream polo. Bright green rings circling the sweater’s sleeves and neck rebel against more conservative color formations and afford a tart segue to yellow jeans that shine like a bikini bottom from a designer swimsuit collection. This outfit is aesthetically pleasing whether the sweater is worn in its most traditional sense for a cold and misty morning commute :
Or gently knotted around the shoulders for sweat reprieve when the sun shows its face around noon (when doing this, make sure to strategically vary lengths at which the sleeves hang, so you don’t look like an uppity country club member) :
Outfit 2 : Jacket Hackery
The second outfit exudes a rugged chic like “glamping” at its best, underpinned by gleefully thrifty pieces. This outfit works from both style and practical perspectives, whether with the dapper camel-colored suede jacket shielding from an annoyingly brisk morning :
Or lightly encased around the body, with the wearer’s bare arms enjoying freedom on a decidedly less frigid afternoon. The trick to properly rocking a jacket off the shoulders is to ensure said jacket is as blazer-like as possible (eg, tight, svelte, and fitted), not bulky and oversized. This way, you you won’t look like Luke Skywalker hefting around the Tauntaun he dissected in Empire Strikes Back.
Worn right, your jacket will drape off the shoulders like the best cape you’ve never owned :
Despite the camel jacket’s “wow” factor, let’s not overlook an underdog piece in the second outfit : the summery button-up shirt. Why? Because its pink-lemonade-meets-red-wine-sangria patchwork proudly sprouts from beneath a loud vest, and the shirt is both fierce and traditionally familiar in its message. Remember, just because your outfit can produce two practical looks doesn’t mean either look will be fashionably memorable unless you splash in fun, season-bending colors to endow your outfit with that extra zip and pop.
From a personal style standpoint, Northern California’s weather can either be viewed as cumbersome and inconvenient, or as a platform for which one can creatively flex sartorial muscle. I choose to subscribe to the second mindset not because I’m an optimist, but because I’m vain and devoted to style versatility. I also believe that with the right amount of creativity, ability to let clothes work with and for you, and commitment to colorful, sassy twists on classic concepts, anyone can devise and pull off fabulous, temperature-adaptable looks.
Now, it’s time to go soak in some warm San Francisco sunshine and have a sangria, enjoy a blissfully sunny, buzzed afternoon that will be swept away by near-freezing evening winds. But what to wear?