San Francisco is full of charm: romantic bridges, winding streets, and a serious dose of fog named Karl that looms at all times. Given the fact it gets chilly but never snow-covered cold in the city down by the Bay, there's a pretty hardcore debate amongst locals as to whether or not winter coats are necessary. I used to live just outside the dreamy city and polled all my friends that are still there via Facebook, asking them, "Do you need a winter coat in San Francisco?" Their responses were varied — some were full of humor and snark, while others offered up some legitimately valuable advice.
I get cold really easily, so I'd personally say if you're going to San Francisco this winter, be sure to wear a flower in your hair and pack a damn winter coat. My now-ex boyfriend and I used to head to San Francisco to cheer on the Giants (OK, he went to cheer on the Giants and I went to binge on concession stand garlic fries) and I always wrongly assumed it would be warm enough to get by with just a cute, light jacket and corduroy pants. Wrong, wrong, wrong to say the least. By the end of games, I consistently ended up looking like this:
While a few of my friends stand by me on team pro-coat, the majority were distinctively pro-light jacket with layering instead. Below are their comments and tips if you're new to the Bay or visiting this winter.
1. Patagonia Jackets (Not To Be Confused With "Coats")
My friend John said, "It's always a step away from chilly in San Francisco," He reaches for Patagonia jackets whenever he heads outside, because they're appropriate "both for casual outdoor activities and look nice enough to wear 'on a date." This jacket is definitely a staple for most San Franciscans.
2. Sweatshirts (With Birkenstocks)
Sweatshirt, $38, StayHomeClub
"It seems to me that the hipsters in SF only wear Patagonia. I was thinking there might be a city law," my friend Julie commented. She advises a winter uniform of sweatshirts and Birkenstocks. I can't argue.
3. Blanket Scarves
Blanket Scarf, $65, Madewell
"Be too fashionable and you look like a confused transplant from New York," warned my JET Program pal, Xander. While I would argue looking too fashionable isn't a bad thing, he advises, "A woman wearing a scarf doesn't seem out of place to me ... [but] a full-on East Coast winter coat is overkill." Well, I love blanket scarves, so I guess his advice is acceptable.
4. Fleece & Beanies
Another NorCal ex-boyfriend (man, should I avoid dating West Coast men from now on?) said, "Avoid investing in a big damn winter coat by just layering ... Fleece and beanie FTW!" Some things never change.
5. Cowl Neck Wool Pea Coats
Mini Wool Coat With Asymmetrical Zipper, $159, Etsy
The final commenter on team layers & jackets is a seriously stylish lady. She shared, "Cowl neck, wool pea coats are my favorite because they do the job of a scarf, too. Plus they're adorable and it's basically like wearing a fashionable blanket/cocoon." I may love winter coats, but any excuse to wear a blanket in public is solid in my book.
Regardless of how you choose to stay warm, enjoy your visit to the Bay! And if you get the chance, definitely devour some garlic fries for me, K?
Images: Mike Behnken/Flickr; Author's Own; Courtesy of Brands