Cut Hoodies Some Slack

Reading time ~1 minute

No good article about the Bay Area misses jokes at hipsters in their hoodies, whether biking through The Mission or chairing board meetings in The Valley. It’s an easy laugh and a nodding wink to your audience to assure them that you’re on their side, that you know how silly grown adults look in their kiddie jackets. But consider:

  • San Francisco is walkable, and people take advantage of it. My stroll from the bus terminal to my office is about a mile, and the sidewalks teem the whole way.
  • Layering is crucial. The weather changes rapidly from warm to cold, gray and windy and then back. Clothes have to adapt from comfortably light to guarding from the elements quickly and easily.
  • The city is humid. A light sweat from walking stays on you, and nylon clothes become waterlogged and sticky within blocks.
  • The city is windy. Synthetic fleece jackets are great, until a breeze picks up and cuts through the coarse cloth. I’ve never been so cold as when I was near the shore in a thick fleece.
  • Sun gives way to drizzle in minutes. Between the rain and the wind, it’s always smart to pack a hat.

Distilled, that means the ideal outerwear is of natural fiber to let sweat through while keeping wind out. It has a zipper and can go from breezy to windproof. It has a hat.

You know: a hoodie.

The humble jacket is a perfect fit for the local climate, where the weather is rarely great but is never bad. They’re warm in the winter and protective in the summer. You can buy one for a few dollars from street vendors, or spend more for a handmade work of urban art.

Making fun of a San Franciscan for wearing a hoodie is like teasing a Minnesotan for wearing a coat and scarf. Yes, we love our hooded jackets. Why shouldn’t we?

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