August 5, 2013

By Gabrielle. Photos via seersucker + saddles.

If you closed your eyes and imagined how you would dress if you lived in California, I’m sure some of your daydreams would look like you on a beach, rubbing sunscreen on your shoulders, and adjusting your sunnies. There might be a flimsy kimono blowing in the breeze. Or is that just me?!

Friends, it is cold here! And I honestly don’t know how to dress for this weather. So confusing! It’s sweater-friendly, but also open to the idea of shorts and skirts. It’s sunny yet foggy. Perfect day for a picnic, always, until the very minute it isn’t! When dressed appropriately, the Bay breeze is like a kiss on your cheek. (Not as wonderful when you’re huddled against it in the afore-mentioned flimsy beach attire!)

It’s a good thing our time in France taught us all about the brilliance of layered dressing. But it’s also a good thing that I found Beth Parker. Because her spring wardrobe from Lexington seems to be the perfect inspiration for my summer gear in Oakland. Her pattern IQ is off the charts, isn’t it? (And where was this tee when I needed it?)

P.S. – Have you met Karl the Fog? He’s charming, but also a little devil when you least expect it. Like when I’ve forgotten a layer or two!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenny also August 5, 2013 at 10:02 am

Being a paranoid Bay Area mom I always pack a sweatshirt and/or long sleeve in my kids backpacks no matter the forecast. I bet you’ll love September; it’s the warmest month in NorCal.


2 Christy@SweetandSavoring August 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

Love these outfits! I experienced this crazy weather phenomenon when I was out in the Bay area in June. Layers are so important since there are so many different micro climates in Northern California! Good luck continuing to get settled :)


3 Jennifer O. August 5, 2013 at 10:09 am

My sister moved to Monterey a couple years ago after a lifetime in the South (Atlanta, New Orleans, southern Maryland) and the weather was a huge shock to her system. It does seem to be all about layers and she wears a cardigan and/or a jacket year round. It’s a beautiful place to live though, and the weather sounds wonderful when I’m sweltering or freezing in DC.


4 Alison August 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

Just wait until October and November. They are the best months of the year, warm and sunny. I had a November wedding in Oakland. It was beautiful. June and July tend to be foggy and freezing when the central valley heat rises and pulls in the cold foggy marine layer. When the central valley cools a bit in the fall the fog stays out. I’m now in the South Bay where it is a bit warmer in the summer than the East Bay. I’m so glad I’m not in Monterey. I like to at least see the sun during the summer even if it isn’t hot.


5 kitterlee August 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

Haa, it’s true! It’s an “always bring a just-in-case sweater” place for sure!
What a change from the desert temperatures you’ve been in lately.
I lived and worked in Oakland for years, and LOVED the weather, I think it’s just about perfect. I love that it’s kissed by the fog, but not overwhelmed by it. I also love the plants, trees and flowers that thrive there – so lush and colorful. You might be surprised come Winter as well, it’s quite mild, rarely freezes at night. But the rain… it can be plentiful and chilly.
Now I live on the other side of the tunnel, and it’s just too hot for me. If ever you need to warm up, just head East!


6 Karen August 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I actually miss the weather in Oakland! Now that we live in the southeast part of SF, I bemoan the fact that the fog comes rolling in in the late afternoon/early evening. All of July was cloudy/overcast/foggy in our current neighborhood, and it made me miss the days in East Bay when we would wake up to fog up in the hills but know that it would burn off by 10:30 AM. Even my 3-1/2 year old comments on the ubiquitous fog in our current neighborhood.


7 Dominique August 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Welcome to the East Bay! It’s almost always chilly over there, and this has been an unusually cool summer. If you want some sunshine, come over to Marin County – San Rafael and north is always bright and sunny. Lots of great public swimming pools for the kids too. You can lose your layers over here. Any time we have friends from the City or Oakland/Berkeley area coming over in the summer, they always call to check on the weather because they are in the fog and think we will be too but we are usually in our shorts and tanks hanging out in the backyard. As Mark Twain said, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Let’s just hope this permanent summer fog lifts soon!


8 Elise August 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Here in the Bay Area we always take along a cardigan! And as others wrote, September is the warmest month usually. But you never know when the fog and/or breeze will kick in!


9 Moriah August 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Ah yes, welcome to the Bay Area. Dress in layers because you never know. And I am sure you will become familiar with the Caldecott Tunnel, which may family likes to call the Cold-to-Hot Tunnel. :-) If you need warmth, go inland. Welcome to the Bay!


10 Sally from Little Hiccups August 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

As an Australian living in Berkeley I was quite unprepared when I first moved here for just how cool the Summers are. My friends and family back home are complaining about how cold their Winter is right now but I’ve got to say, when I check the forecast for both Berkeley and my home town of Adelaide in South Australia it’s quite often warmer there than it is here! We’re in Summer and they’re in Winter! That said, 16c here feels much warmer than 16c back home so while my family and friends are rugged up in coats, beanies and scarves my kids and I are getting around in t-shirts and jeans or dresses and leggings. We live in leggings. They’re a must if you want to wear dresses in the Bay Area :) And cardigans. Always have a cardigan with you.

It never gets properly cold here though so I find we can wear pretty much the same clothes all year round. Just add a scarf and a slightly thicker jacket and your Bay Area Summer outfit becomes a Bay Area Winter outfit!

Just remember that once Summer is officially over the weather will start to warm up – for a little while at least.


11 RuthWW August 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm

On Friday, we drove from Sacramento south to Tracy, over to Fremont, to Mountain View, up to SF via Hwy 280, then north over the Golden Gate to Hwy 37 to Vallejo, then home to the Sacramento area. 356 miles. In San Francisco we had to turn off the a/c and close the windows even while driving thru GG Park. I brought sweatshirts in case we got out in SF… SF had fog and was pretty cold. Everywhere else was sunny and almost hot. Typical summer weather in the Bay Area….


12 Ann August 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm

That might be my next haircut too. Lovely collection!


13 Jennifer August 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I live in the Oakland Hills and the summers are always the same: wake up to fog, it clears and you go to sleep with the fog rolling in. Mother Natures air conditioning! Usually the first week of school is HOT – go figure. The good news is we will usually have a warm Halloween – enjoy!


14 Becky Sue August 6, 2013 at 6:24 am

We just got back from our very first visit to the Bay area. We left 90 degree New England and landed in 59 degree San Francisco. It was quite an adjustment. I was prepared with layers and we always carried a backpack (one we left on the cable car but after panicking was later found) with extra layers . My husband and I had a continuing joke, though not that funny, one would say, “What’s the temperature?” and we’d both would look at the car dashboard and if it was foggy (we always called the fog, Karl) it was almost always 59. The Bay area has been on my bucket list for years and we finally made the trip. I look forward to continuing the experience through your blog.


15 Beth Parker August 6, 2013 at 6:35 am

Sincerest thanks for today’s feature, Gabrielle! Wishing you a smooth & stress free unpacking session! xx–Beth


16 Ma August 6, 2013 at 7:47 am

Last week we had a pretty cool day after a hot spell (on the East coast) and I said to my husband… I want to live in the San Francisco area! It’s like this ALL the time. I’d love it! :)

I like these outfits a lot. Looking at this model makes me want to cut my hair. :)


17 Christine from Giftovus August 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Great outfits! The first look is my favorite and I love how you incorporated the two pairs of Converse sneakers. I love my Converse shoes and if done right (as you demonstrated above) they can look cool and put together. Thanks for the inspiration!


18 Alix August 15, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Ah yes, that’s our Bay Area! You get four seasons in one day! (I have to disagree with the commenter above who said it’s always cold in the East Bay….not true! We rarely get the fog that The City gets, and while mornings are cool, most of our days are sunny and beautiful, even when it’s cool in SF!) Of course evenings are always a tad chilly throughout the Bay. Cardigans, hoodies and scarves will become your best friends here. And yep, October is one of the most beautiful months with temperatures rising—like I always say, we DO get summer here, it just likes to arrive fashionably late!
; )


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