Puffer in the bag: San Francisco, here I come. . .

Well, I was supposed to make this trip in June, but then I got hit by a car. I'm finally taking off for my first ever visit to San Francisco tomorrow at the crack of dawn. 

Complicating my packing: We're in the midst of a major heat wave, here in the Pacific Northwest. The idea that I might actually feel cold is a bit hard to imagine at this moment. But the forecast is for temps at least 10 degrees C  lower than here (or 20 degrees F lower). 

I'll be there for 6 days. Weather with highs in the low 20s (70s F) and lows in the high teens C. Sun and cloud. No rain. 

My bag is carry on size for international but I am checking it anyway, and I feel like I am taking WAY TOO MUCH. But I'm likely to be making decisions on the fly and needing to carry weather appropriate and day-to-night outfits in my backpack, because we are staying off the beaten track and won't always get back to our place to change after a day of galleries and hikes, for dinner. 

Activities: Hikes, galleries, restaurants, some shopping (maybe). General sightseeing, since I have never been to SF. 

What I am thinking of taking (in Finds). A lot of it is about layering. 

Note: the Vince "dress" is actually a blouse -- I had it shortened. It is nice with the Dries van Noten pants. 

If weather is warm (ish), I have;

 Dries van Noten cotton/ linen pants
Sarong shorts
Boden skirt
Sleeveless/short sleeved tops
Silk blouses (for evening) 
Paul Smith jacket (lightweight wool/ linen)
Denim jacket

If the weather is cool (ish), I have: 

Wide leg full length jeans
BR lightweight wool pants
Skirt (in a pinch -- if in Uber/ taxi) 
Silk blouses (layered under knits/ jackets for eve)
Foil sweater (for evening) 
Other toppers, with knits underneath

Footwear is all comfortable for walking at least short distances -- the slingbacks are not for actual hike, obviously, but evenings. 

Some possible combos I tried this morning -- please excuse no makeup, messy hair, etc. These are decidedly not fully styled -- I didn't add belts, jewellery, or anything like that. Rushing to get ready! 

The last two pics are my travel outfit -- wide legs, sneakers, sleeveless Sandwich top, Paul Smith jacket, scarf if needed. 

If you can see anything I can cut out, let me know, and if you know what the weather is really going to feel like, let me know that, also! 

Thanks for bearing with me here! 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Jenni NZ replied 11 months ago

    So fantastic you can finally go! I don’t have any packing advice as have only been there once in 2013, in March. Different time of year but it was cool temps. Your outfit combos look great.
    Also I hope you have recovered from the injuries well.

  • Aquamarine replied 11 months ago

    I’m a terrible overpacker, always worried I’ll be too hot, too cold, too bloated etc etc. I just accept it, as does my poor husband. Sorry, not helpful but I like all your outfits and I hope you have a good time!

  • Sal replied 11 months ago

    I went to San Francisco in August and was surprisingly cold!  It was much colder than Portland, Vancouver and Victoria.  I think that is typical though.

    Your capsule looks great - do have a wonderful time!

  • Bijou replied 11 months ago

    It looks perfect to me - a brilliant travel capsule and nice to know that you have options if the weather is cold. When travelling, I always take a cap and umbrella (or buy these as souvenirs).

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 11 months ago

    Sounds like an exciting trip, and your travel capsule looks great! I wonder if you need both the Cole Haans and Naturalizer sneakers; I might choose the more comfortable of the two. I would pack both no-show socks and some knee-high stockings, in case the latter are needed for warmth.

  • rachylou replied 11 months ago

    What?! You got hit by a car?! Ack!

    You look cute! My only thing is, I’d want socks. You’ll probably be warm during the day, but when the sun starts going down and the wind picks up and the fog rolls in, that’s when it gets icky. It’s sort of more icky than actually cold…

  • Suz replied 11 months ago

    Thank you all! I do have no show socks packed. I can add extras or taller socks as well. 

    Rachy, I have listened to you over the years and that is why the puffer is in my bag! It's broiling hot here but I trust I will need it! 

    Sharan, the sneakers fill slightly different functions to the Cole Haans. The Cole Haans are lighter weight/ for warmer weather. The Naturalizers have a slight platform so they have a different kind of support. They're both super comfortable. But for me, switching out shoes is the best strategy for happy feet, no matter what. It definitely means my bag is more full but if there is one thing I can guarantee, it is that I will wear ALL the shoes (and maybe then some -- I've been known to buy shoes while travelling!) 

    Jenni -- I'm not 100% but much, much better. Well enough to travel. The pneuma resolved, so I can fly. :) More on that, later. 

    Aquamarine -- thank you. -- at least I know I'm not alone! 

    Sal, Bijou -- thank you both! 

  • Greyscale replied 11 months ago

    How exciting! Hikes, galleries, restaurants sounds like the perfect itinerary.

    We have intense microclimates. In my neighborhood, the Mission, it can be 80 when it’s 70 elsewhere in the city, and in western neighborhoods out towards the ocean it’s truly cold and grey. It’s always damp and cold in the evening no matter how bright and sunny during the day, so do bring that puffer! But I doubt you’ll be cold during the day. The sun is so bright that it warms things nicely.

    I enjoy walking all around the Mission - Valencia Street is full of fun restaurants and 24th has so much local color. Not so many clothing shops these days. You’ve probably seen that our downtown shopping area is a bit sad these days, but there are a lot of designer-y things in other parts of the city.

    Meanwhile, I’m headed to NYC for work, where I’ll need to remember what real summer feels like!

  • Star replied 11 months ago

    Just to say have a wonderful trip!

  • Brooklyn replied 11 months ago

    Looks good to me! I am an unapologetic over packer. I like to feel my best (style-wise) while on holiday, it’s part of the enjoyment of the holiday. Have a good one!

  • Dee replied 11 months ago

    Looks like a great mix and match wardrobe for your trip. I tend to overpack myself due to being a mood dresser. I am rather surprised to hear how cool it can get there even though its still summer but it looks like you've got your bases covered. Have a wonderful time.

  • Janet replied 11 months ago

    I’m so glad you can finally make this trip! As an overpacker myself, I think you’re taking a good amount to have options, since you’re checking your bag anyway.

    Every time I’ve been in SF, I’ve wanted one more warm layer or item. So I’d be prepared for that!

  • replied 11 months ago

    Yes SF is much cooler than I thought it would be! Recs- go to the Exploratorium and the place they invented Irish coffee :) Trolleys are fun, but rattle so much they feel like they'll collapse right under you!
    Capsule looks good! I like the idea of sarong shorts. Maybe they'd be less unflattering on me than regular shorts!

  • Vildy replied 11 months ago

    My experience is S.F. is cold in summer.  I had stayed a BART ride away where it was broiling hot and was dressed for that but wasn't warned and in the city I was freezing.  I went to Candlestick Park in the olden days and oh man, the stiff wind.

  • ChristelJ replied 11 months ago

    Exciting! So glad you are well enough to travel. I was in San Francisco in May. Everything Greyscale says about the microclimates was certainly true in my experience. I had to be prepared for cold but also found it hot some days, and layering was key. Your travel capsule looks good to me! Shoes are most important in my view, and you have a good plan for those. I found it useful to carry a tote bag during the days we walked around in the city a lot. Looks like you plan to take your silver backpack. Have a great time!

  • cat2 replied 11 months ago

    SF in Summer can deliver everything from gorgeous sunny low 70s days to wind and fog, sometimes on the same day. It’s not the icy fog you get elsewhere, but it does come with chilly winds. Overpacking and layering is the way to avoid being the tourist in a Golden Gate Bridge sweatshirt bought off the street. Have fun! Oh, if you are staying in downtown, some fun shops have migrated to Jackson Square, which is also an area with galleries and historic buildings.

  • Suz replied 11 months ago

    Thank you all so much for your helpful thoughts and wishes! I am on my way and will report on how the capsule worked out when we return! 

  • Angie replied 11 months ago

    Yay! Your trip is FINALLY here and you've recovered beautifully! Looking better than ever, Suz

    I've been to SF in July and wore my trench coat for 5 days - you are wise to bring a warm topper. As cat2 said, the weather in SF in Summer is very unpredictable.

    Excellent outfits for all sorts of layering and weather! You haven't packed too much. You need OPTIONS. Rachy is pleased you brought a light puffer!

    KILLER CAPSULE. The best I've seen you pep. You look chic, practical, pretty, pulled together, trendy classic, comfy, and honestly-you! I expected nothing less :)

    That skirt is such a fun wild card. Sarong shorts are sublime! LOVE you in wide leg jeans. And short blazers/jackets are the bomb. Can't pick a favourite look! Love that you're dressing up at night. Elegant! 

    Have a beautiful and safe trip with your sweetie! 

  • Angie replied 11 months ago

    And what Brooklyn said. 

  • slim cat replied 11 months ago

    Fun trip and great collection for travel! Looks like you have everything covered - have a wonderful time in San Francisco!

  • Elle replied 11 months ago

    I echo Grayscale. The eastern part of the city tends to be much warmer than the generally foggy and windy Sunset/Richmond districts near the ocean. Days can be shirt sleeve only but at night you'll need at least a down vest and generally a light puffer.  And it can be up to 30 degrees warmer outside the city. 

    Besides Valencia St (19th St - 24th St)  & 24th Street in Noe Valley, Upper Fillmore and Chestnut street in the Marina have some fun shops. Union Square/downtown is pretty sad and parts of the Tenderloin near Civic Center can be iffy.   For walks, I like the Chrissy Field walk, the Lands End trail, and climbing up the Filbert and Greenwich St stairs to Coit Tower.  Muir Woods in Marin County is beautiful but you will need a parking reservation.

    Have a great trip

  • kkards replied 11 months ago

    Yay for traveling! i find it impossible to pack lightly when traveling somewhere that as variable temps. 
    have a great trip  

  • Kyle replied 11 months ago

    Oh, no! Somehow I missed that you had been injured and I am just so sorry to hear it. Good grief, what an ordeal for you and so scary.

    Your packing, meanwhile, is masterful. You have an array of great outfits   To choose from. As long as you have layers, warm toppers and options to cover your legs and feet (especially at night) I’m thinking you’ll be fine. One question: Is anything here casual/rugged enough for hiking?

  • DonnaF replied 11 months ago

    Hope you are having a great time! If you are renting a car and visiting places popular with tourists, don’t leave a thing inside, not even in the trunk. Apparently rentals have some type of marking to indicate that they are rentals so are a frequent target of thieves.

    Looks like you will have typical SF weather. 50% chance of rain on Monday and 30% on Tuesday but I doubt you’ll see anything but possible drizzle at night.

  • Karie replied 11 months ago

    I didn’t know you had been hit by a car, how awful! Hopefully you have completely recovered and there will be no long lasting effects.
    It looks like you have some great mix and match items covering a variety of weather possibilities. I’m always cold so I usually throw in an extra sweater - I have a nice stack of different colored J Crew cardigans that are perfectly not too thick and not too thin, and I usually toss in a few of those, and I’m always glad I did.
    And I love those Naturalizer slingbacks, I have the exact same pair! They are very comfortable.
    Enjoy your trip!

  • Jaime replied 11 months ago

    How wonderful that you are ready to go! You definitely have the smashing outfits lined up - and how smart of you to shorten that Vince dress to a top. (I sold mine long ago.) Love the silver shoes but good you are bringing sneakers too. I have never been to SF and look forward to your report. Safe travels!

  • Helena replied 11 months ago

    Gorgeous ... You look like you are leaning into the creative edge of your style and it looks great on you!

    Have a fabulous trip xo

  • nancylee replied 11 months ago

    Everything looks beautiful, Suz, and as someone who now lives just south of SF all I can say is layers, layers, layers. It can be quite breezy and cool by the bay and even more so at night. And good walking shoes as well. Lots of hills. 

    I'm so sorry to hear about the accident! Yikes. :(
    Glad you're mended and able to take this trip finally! Enjoy! It's wonderful city with lots to see. 

  • quietloud replied 11 months ago

    Looks like a fantastic travel capsule, and I love all the outfit combos you put together. Also, those silver slingbacks are amazing!

    I hope you have a wonderful trip!

  • Runcarla replied 10 months ago

    How did I miss this!?!  Amazing capsule!  I hope you got to wear it all.  Those silver Naturalizers are *chef’s kiss*.  I hope they are comfortable - and stay on ;-)

  • Olive Green replied 10 months ago

    Seriously Suz, that calm and oceanic blue retreat capsule was perfect, and this one even better. The urban sharp outfits and the boho casual ones are pulled together by the prints and cohesive colour way. 
    The work you put into your wardrobe choices really paid off, it all sings. 

  • MsMaven replied 10 months ago

    Beautiful outfits! Several took my breath away. You've got it figured out. A little over a week ago I was in Spokane, 110°, slightly cooler every day as we embarked on a Snake-Columbia River cruise. I took a lot more than you did and didn't wear half of it, wishing I'd gone for more neutral looks. 

    I'm sorry to hear about your accident, but I will go on and on drooling over your choices. I have been away from YLF for over a week--what a great reward for being back home. 

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