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San Francisco style: It's unforgettable

by Danielle Paquette, Special to CNN
  • Blogger Dyanna Dawson and partner John Tran showcase hot looks on
  • Blog was created because it combined fashion, photography, writing and blogging
  • Dawson says weather, travel habits, thrift and vintage shops, city vibe influence fashion
  • Bloggers look for "exceptional personal style," including fit, uniqueness, standout pieces

There is fabulous fashion beyond New York, Milan and Paris. In this new series, CNN showcases trends in threads around the globe. This week, blogger Dyanna Dawson of shares the San Francisco scoop.

(CNN) -- Contrary to Katy Perry's infectious West Coast anthem, not every California girl sports "Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top."

Such skimpy apparel doesn't meet San Francisco's style standards. For starters, the weather is unpredictable. And the city's eclectic array of designer boutiques, thrift stores and vintage shops prove incentive enough for inhabitants to stay fully, and fabulously, dressed.

Blogger Dyanna Dawson and partner John Tran showcase the hottest looks on, a website for trendsetting San Franciscans, by trendsetting San Franciscans.

"We aim for quality over quantity," Dawson said. "Our blog is the highlights reel of San Francisco street fashion -- only the best make it on the site. We photograph maybe one in 200 people that we encounter."

Here, she explains San Francisco style:

CNN: What inspired you to start a San Francisco-specific style blog?

Dawson: John started the blog in 2008 because it combined all of his favorite things: fashion, photography, writing and blogging. It's a lot of work for just one person, so he brought me on about a year later in 2009.

I've always been really interested in fashion, especially on the consumer trend level, and John's taught me everything I know about photography.

CNN: Describe the "style vibe" in your city:

Dawson: There's a certain utility to the way San Franciscans dress. There has to be, because of the unpredictable weather and the amount of walking the average SFer does. Classic American work wear is hugely popular all over the city. Haight Street is littered with eco-chic boutiques, while the Mission District houses a treasure trove of great vintage spots. It's really interesting to see where these three styles converge.

CNN: What influences street style?

Dawson: The weather plays a crucial role in dictating which runway trends actually make it to the streets. We don't have proper seasons, and San Francisco is pretty well known for its microclimates that vary from district to district. This makes layering pieces essential year round, even in summertime.

Also, since most people in the city ride bikes or take Muni, comfortable shoes and handbags are worn by both men and women alike.

CNN: What are popular looks? Staple pieces?

Dawson: The unisex SF uniform varies a bit every season, but is more or less: dark skinny jeans, a fitted coat (usually a peacoat or trench), canvas or leather shoes (oxfords, loafers, boots, TOMS), a nice carry-all and some tasteful layering pieces.

I never leave the house without a scarf and sweater in my bag -- no matter what time of year it is. You just never know what to expect with San Francisco weather. Even when it's bright and sunny out, you could turn the corner and get hit with some fog or a gust of wind.

CNN: Are there any trends specific to San Francisco? What makes fashion stand out from other cities?

Dawson: San Francisco is a great place to live, in part because it has so many wonderful vintage and thrift stores. The ready availability of vintage fashions can be seen in various forms throughout the city.

San Francisco tends to be more laid back than a lot of other cities, so most of what we see on the streets -- and a lot of the outfits we post on the website -- tends to be casual.

CNN: What makes you stop and snap a photo of someone?

Dawson: We always have our cameras on us, ready to capture fashionable morsels wherever we might be. We look for morsels that strike us for their exceptional personal style. This can mean either epitomizing a popular trend we want to feature, or putting their own unique spin on a vogue.

Fit is a key element, and we also look for people who are wearing standout pieces (bags, shoes, coiffure, accessories, etc.).

CNN: What trends do you love right now?

Dawson: We like to post features that showcase different examples of the same trend, as photographed all over the city. One of the hottest trends in San Francisco right now is animal jewelry. We usually include a poll, so that readers can vote for their favorite piece.

CNN: Where should we shop in San Francisco?

Dawson: We get asked this question constantly! We even have a dedicated resource page for people who are either visiting SF, or just new to the area. It lists all of my favorite shopping spots, along with some other info on where to eat and drink.

CNN: What advice would you give to fashionistas on a budget?

Dawson: We're so lucky to have all of these amazing thrift stores and affordable vintage stores. I know from growing up in the SoCal suburbs that not every city is as fortunate. They key to thrift/vintage shopping is to go often, and to not be discouraged when you leave empty-handed. Even the most seasoned vintage shoppers don't strike gold every time. And if you live outside of the Bay Area, there are tons of great finds on Etsy and eBay.

How do people dress in your city? Submit your favorite looks to iReport for a chance to be featured on

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