Monsieur Robot presents: San Francisco Style [redux -- MR on holidays]

14.8.09

Let me introduce to you the wonderful Monsieur Robot, my favourite man in the whole world. He will join me from now on to give his tasteful opinion on Men's fashion. So if you have a boyfriend, husband, little brother, dad or grandad looking for style advice, look no further!
xxx Mademoiselle Robot



Hello!

Do you have a penis?

Do you sometimes like wearing clothes?

You do???

Well then you're in the right place!

I've been in San Francisco for almost a month now…and I can count the number of stylish people I have seen on one hand. Three to be exact. As a big city I can't help but compare SF to NY one of the best places to see street style. So why is SF so different?

Firstly SF is a great city, a green city that still lives in the shadow of its hippy founders. Why would that affect the street style? Well apart from the unfathomable amounts of tie dye I have had to endure San Francisco is about RECYCLING and I don't just mean your paper, plastic and cans, I mean your wardrobe too. The city is FULL of thrift stores where you take your old duds and trade them for someone else's, or for cold hard cash. These places are FULL of great clothes and I get the sense that last seasons styles don't go in the bin here, they go to someone who doesn't care what season it is, and that's a great thing.

From the big stores like Barneys (my first stop in NY) to the smaller stores, what I have noticed is even these places have selected clothes which verge on the bland. The Helmut Lang and McQueen selections on offer are the most wearable of the collection. Strangely, in terms of Haute Couture Margiela is big here, but then ostensibly that makes sense; that functional minimalism and carefully created 'worn in' ness of Margiela's clothes are perfect in this city. They look just like you fished them out of the back rail in some dingy thrift store; they just come with a massive price tag. The Marc by Marc Jacobs store in the city is also an interesting indicator of SF style. It's low on actual collection pieces and high on Marcs extra cheap 'special items' almost half of the store taken up by goods that cost no more than $30. The fact is that if you compliment someone here on what they're wearing they're more likely to brag about how cheap it was than what the label says.


photo - Street Fancy

The shop I most frequently find myself in is Urban Outfitters, I'd rather shop somewhere that doesn't have several branches in London, but I've yet to find a store here that I want to shop in that much. What's interesting though is that the hipsters frown on Urban Outfitters. I can understand this as the store does make it too easy to achieve a 'whole look' but then that's just good business, you can get underwear, shoes, accessories, bags, coats and hats - the whole lot in one shop. Instant cool? Perhaps not. The ethos of Urban Outfitters is in direct conflict with the cities fashion recycling vibe. $48 for a shirt that LOOKS second hand? You can spend a little bit of time and find an actual vintage shirt for about $12, like I did.

photo - Street Fancy

So as the Londoner in SF with my capsule wardrobe full of brightly coloured and sometime avant garde clothes will I ever get a chance to wear my one armed Cosmic Wonder sweatshirt? I like the city's style because it's rooted in functionality and practicality, all the cycling that the San Franciscans do has bred a distinct kind of cyclist chic. Shirts are tucked in. Jeans aren't too skinny for obvious reasons, keys are kept on climbing clips on the back of your jeans and bags are functional; rucksacks and backpacks are the only option on a bike. One trouser leg rolled up and you're good to go. Does it look good? Yes. Will I do it when I return to London? No, but I'll sure miss all these cheap clothes.

Monsieur Robot

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