S.F. Street Fashion: Use Your Imagination

Categories: Fashion

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There's something most other street fashion blogs do that I've never bothered with -- providing a little bio about each person photographed. It tells how old they are, what their profession is, what neighborhood they live in, and so on. Back in March, I photographed outfits at La Grande Fete, the opening party of Jean Paul Gaultier's exhibition at the de Young Museum, and a woman wrote to me saying she was upset I hadn't identified the people in my photos. She had a good point -- people put lots of effort into their outfits and deserve credit.

But I have my own reasoning for leaving everyone anonymous. First, it leaves their identity up to the imagination, which is what fashion is all about. When we get dressed, we're essentially getting into costume, preparing to play a slightly different role every day. If we went to see Wicked, we wouldn't expect Elphaba to come out on stage and say, "Just so you know, I'm a witch," right? If she did, we'd all be like, "Duh, girl, you're green," and we'd think the musical was dumb.

Second, being photographed is a little invasive. Even though I ask permission, I still feel like a bit of an intruder. I don't want to hold someone up while I find out all their personal details. It's difficult enough to just persuade some folks to be photographed in the first place.

So this week, I had fun imagining the lives of the fashionable citizens I encountered. But I'm curious what you, as a reader, think. Do you want to know who these people are? Am I just a lazy bones for not asking? Or is it more interesting to imagine their lives?

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Kate Conger
I really appreciate this girl's casual incorporation of such an outrageous pair of overalls into her wardrobe. On their own, they're wild, even a bit absurd, but paired with a simple black turtleneck and boots, they seem almost as typical as a pair of jeans.

I was also struck by her eye ring and manicure (below). Some in-depth research (okay, a 30-second web search) tells me the eye can be a symbol for holiness, intuition, prophesy, and other witchy things. I don't know whether any of them inspired her, but I like the idea that she was trying to do something magical with her nail polish.

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Kate Conger


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