One of the reasons I love San Francisco, one of the reasons that I personally find it such a stylish town, is that we love to dress up. Dress up as in costumes, not as in formal wear. (The difference kind of like how in England a “fancy dress party” is a costume party, you know?)
See we’ve got Halloween, which is awesome, especially here. In San Francisco Halloween is not only totally acceptable for adults to get exited about but always marks the end of summer weather. I don’t know how but our Indian Summer almost always manages to hold out through Halloween, but only just. I swear, nearly every year is like that. So that part’s awesome but Halloween can be dull in the grand scheme of things. I mean, it’s mainstream. Plus, ever since people started getting shot and stabbed and they cancelled Halloween in the Castro, the fuel has gone out some. (The best party now takes place, appropriately, on Treasure Island.)
But moving on chronologically past Halloween…
We treat the New Year with great flair as well. Though I suppose that’s to be expected. (New Year’s Eve is also my birthday. The party I attended explored all understandings of “dress up.” I looked awesome. Pics forthcoming.)
In 2009, I attended the Edwardian Ball, though I missed it this year. This is a fantastic event and everyone brings it like it’s their job. It epitomizes, to me, fun with fashion and histrionics at their best.
The Black and White Ball happens in May and though I’ve never been, I hear it is awesome. I’ve got the perfect dress, if I ever make it (see above).
Touted as a “celebration of San Francisco’s spirit,” Bay to Breakers has been around for 99 years. One of the world’s largest and oldest footraces, the name refers to the course of the race which takes the tens of thousands of runners and participants from the northeast end of the downtown area near The Embarcadero (the “bay” side of the city) to the west end of the city and the “breakers” of Ocean Beach. People go ape-shit for this event and it’s chock full of crazy-ass costumes and drunkies. Fun, fun, fun.
Oh! Folsom Street Fair. Which is wild. And sexy. And you’ll see more naked peeps than usual.
And then of course there’s Burning Man, which technically happens on a bumblefuck playa in Nevada, but it started here at Ocean Beach and half the city clears out that week because we’re all waving our freak flags and dancing the night away in Black Rock City. Surrounded by some of the best art on the planet (for reals yo) and with temperatures that fluctuate between pass out hot and chill the bone cold, this place is full of wild, outrageous, and inventive wear. It’s Mad Max meets the Wild Wild West meets Moulin Rouge (the original thing and/or the seizure inducing movie). At the and IN the circus. With fur. On acid. Sometimes literally.
Anyway, the clothes can be great. Those are some creative kids, man.
And then there’s all the Burning Man related fetes.
Did I forget anything?
Look, I know that one might say that an arguably puerile (and often prurient) obsession with costumes doesn’t equate to style. (But people used to call comics and superheroes dorky and/or stupid and we all know how cool and awesome they really are.) But I say our silly and sexy passion (ahem) totally makes this a stylish town.
It shows a willingness to experiment and stray from convention, a faith in the power of what we wear to be transformative, and a flair for the playful and dramatic. So there. We may not have the cultivated style of New York but you’ll see no sea of black here. These parties I’ve mentioned are testaments to the Bay’s hardcore dedication to an idea. Just for fun. We’re awesome at that.