Regional Style: Locals vs. Tourists

A coworker of mine was telling me a story about his weekend. He was out in San Francisco riding one of our iconic cable cars with a friend of his who was visiting. My coworker pointed out to his friend that he could tell the difference between local San Franciscans and those who were visiting by their attire and accessories. One woman overheard him and said, “You’re right! How did you know I was a tourist?” He did the diplomatic thing and said that he “just knew.”

(Photo Credit: Street Pepper)

Delving a bit deeper into our conversation we both agreed that San Franciscans are known for wearing a few things: lots of layers, quirky combinations, a lot of black and gray… not everyone, but this is our general observation (and a part of our personal style). Men tend to wear hats, scarves and carry messenger bags, or the often mocked “murse.”

(Photo Credit: The SF Style)

Most distinctively, our attire tends to be fitted and conceptual compared to the more relaxed/casual attire of those who visit from the suburbs, or other parts of the United States (I’m not naming names!). BUT, even when you see casual attire in our city, it still looks distinctly San Francisco. Why is that?

It got me thinking about how our little city is overflowing with unique style from person to person, yet we can still have a general idea of the average attire. Well-fitted, dark colors, utilitarian accessories, and seemingly pre-meditated outfit concepts. This can translate as the style for every metropolitan city, really, but it’s not. New York style, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the list goes on. There are so many variables that factor into this equation that make each region unique: weather, lifestyle, social norms, socioeconomic status, etc. Each city’s style can be so so different, but in any of these cities, I’m sure the locals can point out the tourists. It can become a fun pastime. At the same time, this reminds me of the time I went to Rockford, Illinois with my super cute lady friends a few years ago. Me, the wannabe rockabilly gal, Shauna the glam goth queen, and Christina, the super cute indie chick. We got a surprising amount of attention, which I never really got at home… and we lived in Orange County at the time. So who knows. Do we dress the way we do because we want attention, or is it because we want to spice up our lives and wear things that make us happy? My honest answer is: a little bit of both. But I think that’s a topic for another entry!

Do you agree? Do you think I’m full of crap? What’s your take on “the tourist”? Do you think their attire is circumstantial to the fact that they’re on vacay? So many questions!

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1 Comment

  1. Hava
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I really liked this post! Very fun to read. It’s totally true. And it is a fun game to play!


    tatiana Reply:

    Thanks Havs. :)


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