Coming Out of the Closet

Moraga Steps, Golden Gate Heights, San Francisco.

Moraga Steps, Golden Gate Heights, San Francisco.

I’ve been in my new house for about a month now.

My new neighborhood, Golden Gate Heights, is an obscure, funky area that no one has heard of, up on a hill above the family-trendy Inner Sunset, and next door to the very fancy and upscale Forest Hill.

Since I am neither fancy nor family (sans kids), this neighborhood fits me quite well. Perfect, really.

But there are issues.

Because I don’t drive and am completely reliant on my feet and Clipper Card, the new terrain, climate and overall scene have rendered most of my wardrobe woefully wrong.

This is something I never considered when contemplating and completing this move to suburban San Francisco.

Living downtown meant that at any given moment I was surrounded by tourists, tech workers, transplants and trannies, gloriously anonymous. No matter how I looked or what I wore, there was someone within iphone-shot more outrageous or disheveled. The cracked dirty sidewalks were my runway where I could try new looks and wear anything and no one gave two shits but me.

Me, in my new yard, watering flowers and plants I don't know the  names of.

Me, in my new yard, watering flowers and plants I don’t know the
names of.

Up here, I am not really surrounded by anything but trees and quiet. When I walk out of my door, unlatch the white picket fence and head towards Muni through the fog and Forest Hill, I often don’t see one person until I get to the station. This quiet can be disquieting. I’ve never felt more conspicuous or naked underneath the layers required to combat this climate. I’m a stranger in my own clothes.

And so my poor Junya Watanabe faux fur, which is begging to see the new hood, is stuck in the closet. I’m afraid to wear my most fashiony-fun items ironically because a) no one would see them and/or care and b) everyone would see them as I’m out there, alone, in the spotlight. And this makes me nervous. It just does.

Junya Watanabe faux fur, coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Junya Watanabe faux fur, coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

I like to think that the longer I’m here, the more comfortable I’ll feel, and little by little I’ll start to bust out the better stuff.

In a way this harkens back to moving to a new school or starting a new job: you want to make a good impression, you want to be accepted, you want to fit in. And so you agonize over what to wear to maximize your success at all of this. Thankfully, over time, you can relax.

It’s just an aspect of this move that never occurred to me. My neighbors have lived here forever. They all know each other. They don’t know me, other than who they see out of their windows, the lady in the pink headphones, alone, off to do God knows what.

I still haven’t figured out what “fashion brand” Golden Gate Heights is (read my thoughts about how neighborhoods reflect different fashion labels here, and why Bernal Heights is the Rachel Comey of neighborhoods.) I need more time to break it in.

All I can say is: There goes the neighborhood.

6 Responses


    Just be true to yourself. I had the same problem when I lived in St Louis (where I had no friends) & then in 2 other suburbs or cities, where I contemplated buying a tracksuit with embellishment to blend in with all the other moms for about half a second, then realizing I wouldn’t even know where to find one (this was pre-internet). I strived so hard to keep my sartorial identitiy that I made monthly trips to NY to shop & have my hair done. People “labeled” me as a this or a that but I didn’t care. It is hard to give yourself a reason why you should even “bother” buying a certain pair of shoes or coat or whatever for the lifestyle in the suburbs but what about the reason is that this is who you are and it makes you feel good? That IS a good reason.

  2. Paula

    Thanks Andrea! Great advice as always. It always comes down to self-confidence, and moving myself out of my comfort-zone, I’m finding it hard to feel “comfortable” in my own skin, let alone my clothes. xo


    B. What you have in that lovely garden of yours is a fluffy colorful bloom of Hydrangeas. Interesting point, …..Madonna hates them. But you hate Madonna so there’s no issue.
    Water deeply once a week
    Avoid sun
    Prune if needed!

    I’d love to know what Fashion Brand I live in……

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