Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian One-Ups NYT’s “Style Tribes of San Francisco”

Every now and again, a hot wind blows through the streets of San Francisco, and someone gets the big idea to write about our particular brand of fashion.

“Fashion?!” folks usually gasp, “in San Francisco?” like it’s just the most foreign, alien concept that ever came and knocked on the big, heavy doors of their cute little brains. Pleased with their ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, and also with the clever employ of words like organic/collective/natural/sustainable, they proceed to bend way over, scoot their sunglasses a bit further down their noses to squint and peer and nod affirmatively at our terribly subtle and nuanced sartorial leanings.

So goes the latest piece from the NYT on SF Style, in all its partially accurate glory, because if the Bay Area is indeed “the land that style forgot,” as they say,  then that makes us easy winners in the Make It Work category. The Times explains that with New York’s Fashion Week soon approaching, it’s time we recognize that “fashion people seldom have much to do with generating style” and this year they’re crediting California with providing things like “the most influential American contribution to global fashion, bar none.” (They even made us a slideshow!)

The Times quotes Gladys Perint Palmer, executive director of fashion at the Academy of Art University: “Every time a designer from here has a little bit of success, they disappear to New York.” And when they go, says Palmer, they nationalize the distinct “offhand cool” of a “foggy, sports- and green-obsessed city,” clothing worn by  “members of the city’s varied style packs, or what some here refer to as tribes.”

The article breaks down these “tribles” by neighborhood: Mission, Castro, Pacific Heights and Haight, all flourishing in “a town remarkably free of fashion hierarchies and in-crowd tyrannies.”

It’s safe to say that style-conscious San Franciscans – regardless of whatever tribe or neighborhood we’re from – eschew showy label-whoring or yes, even “it” bags or shoes, in favor of local designers and clothes that are recycled, DIY, vintage or green.

Let’s take an alternative guided tour of SF street style with your friendly neighborhood lesbian, Fit for a Femme.



(Photos courtesy of The SF Style)


Why are Dyanna Pure and JT Paradox of The SF Style so fancy? They do things like attend SF Fashion Week and collaborate with magazines and win awesome shit. Basically, they make a super cute, highly photogenic couple who will literally jump out of a car and chase your ass down on the street to take your photograph for their blog. GIRL, YOUR OUTFIT IS THAT CUTE.



(Photos courtesy of Closet Riots)


“A body positive fashion blog. Fuck the mold.” As if you didn’t know what a closet riot was! This style tumblr is the brainchild of femme-extraordinaire-electropop-princess Jenna Riot, and her friends are all so damn cute and cleverly dressed I want to steal them for myself. Her fashionable tomboy, Brown Amy, is one of the DJs behind Hard French, a soul- and style-filled tea dance party in SF’s Mission District, poised to take over Toronto and NYC later this month!



(Photos courtesy of Lesbians in SF)


You know what? Homosexy Lesbians in SF is here to “educate others about who the REAL women are behind the word or the stereotype.” Creators Catherine Perez & Aja Blue are another smokin’ hot couple in the queer blogging scene and their relatively new tumblr already enjoys quite a bit of success. Also, they are very nice. Also, they take the prettiest pictures. Also, they have awesome stickers.

Basically, they can do no wrong in their unwavering commitment to capture the queer women of the greater SF Bay Area.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this pretty little tour of San Francisco by yours truly (who may or may not be trying to get you all to move here, one by one). I think it’s lovely that the NYT article – and others like it – simultaneously acknowledge and inform what “we” look like. It’s nice to be reminded that there’s a global give-and-take that constantly breathes inspiration and changes what we wear in our respective corners of the world, and I think Dema Grim said it best:

Here in San Francisco, we’re “not afraid to mash things up.”

Aja Aguirre is a perpetual late bloomer from SF who writes about style, fashion and beauty for Autostraddle. Her award-nominated style blog, Fit for a Femme, takes on both coasts' signature styles and draws on her experience as a personal stylist. Check out Instagram for her latest looks, and Twitter or Tumblr for QPOC Speakeasy x Femme Power vibes.

Aja has written 45 articles for us.


  1. G-D Autostraddle. You’re awesome posts about SF are so distracting.
    I already want to go back there.
    To do that, though, I need to study and get into grad school there. And guess what isn’t going to facilitate that? Looking at pretty pictures of Lesbians in SF!!!!!!!!

  2. These amazingly cute people just made me stop being mad at my closet and start thinking about outfit remixes. THANK YOU AUTOSTRADDLE FOR SAVING ME MONEY I DIDN’T ACTUALLY HAVE TO SPEND. I’ll probably take a girl out to a movie instead or something.

  3. @ Lala,

    You aren’t being a biatch, but you should double check your sources before putting yourself out there like that.

    We would say about 90% of the girls on the blog actually live in SF. Also, as stated on the blog, we photograph Lesbians in the Bay Area. There are obviously many lesbians who don’t actually live in San Francisco who spend a lot of time in San Francisco, hitting up the queer events and supporting the queer community here. We do not solely photograph lesbians that “Live” in San Francisco.

    We don’t like to keep anyone out who wants to be included just because they don’t live in the city.

    So, not to be a total “biatch”, but just make sure to read the fine print before trying to out a blog that is trying to do a good thing here for any girls that spend time in SF.


  4. I was very glad to see my picture up there. I remember when it was taken, Dyanna and JT approached me but I didn’t think anything would come of it! I appreciate these two for bringing awareness about the amazing style that SF emulates. Awesome Article 🙂

    • Untrue! I noticed you and your girl’s bright kicks; it was one of my faves (see also: girls on bikes, girls with puppies).

      It made me want to know:

      A. What y’all were grubbin’ on.
      B. What y’all were lookin’ at.

  5. Seriously everyone should check out Lesbians in San Francisco. Cat and Aja are absolute sweethearts and their blog is amazing and making the lesbian community a happier place. I can’t tell you how many wonderful ladies I’ve been introduced to since being photographed for LISF. my girlfriend, has also been photographed. love the blog and the thought behind it!

  6. I feel as though you should do one of these for Canadians. In general, (and I’m not talking about Toronto because they are Americanized). I’m talking north of 45 degrees, cold-fucking Canada, where flannel is cool and filthy all at once, and pants are built-and-bought to fit long underwears underneath, where hair is done from toque length down, because no-one’s going to see the top of your head anyways. Where boots aren’t a statement, they’re a hypothermia prevention tool and where nails aren’t painted because the cute mitts/gloves you wear 24/7 cover ’em anyways. Did I already mention that turtle necks still aren’t okay? Because we can’t push the limits, but we can push the fucking frontier. But seriously get someone to snap some photos and write this article.

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