Look, I'm not Anna Wintour, and your style decisions for Outside Lands (this Friday-Sunday in Golden Gate Park, if you live under a non-Golden Gate Park rock) are your own. Lord knows, I wore some pretty wack shit to days-long music events like the Club MTV Tour or Lallapalooza 1993*. (That said, just because Native American headdresses are allowed doesn't mean you should wear them, jeez. And even though this local app is giving away free flower crowns, doesn't mean you're Lana Del Rey.)
What I'd like to impart here is advice on dressing for Outside Lands weather conditions, as a long-time Outer Sunset resident. And before you say that this is unnecessary and that everyone knows to wear layers, tell that to the concertgoer my corner store had to call an ambulance for last year because she was so cold she started going into shock. Don't be that girl!
First, let's talk about the weather.
Do not believe the weather in your neighborhood
You wake up Friday, Saturday, or Sunday morning. The sun is shining, it's already warm, and you think "there's no way I'll need a jacket on a beautiful day like today!" Oh, honey. No. What are you, new? Even if it's warm and sunny in Pac Heights, the Marina, the Mission, or NoPa, that doesn't mean it is out on the west side.
Do not believe the weather in the morning
Even residents of the Sunset or Richmond District resident have fallen for the illusion of a clear, warm, beautiful morning, and have headed out for the day in just their shirtsleeves. This is nature's way of attempting to cull the herd — if you're smart enough to remember to bring an additional layer, you get to survive and breed. Otherwise, you freeze and die. (You will not actually freeze and die, but you will be pretty miserable.)
When night falls, the temperature drops
According to the National Weather Service, it was 72 degrees in the Outer Sunset at noon today, and it's expected to drop down to 57 by 8:15 p.m.. Conditions are expected to be similar this weekend. That means, you need to leave the house dressed in 72 degree clothing, but you're going to eventually hit 57 degree temps. It may feel even colder than that.
So, what to wear?
Rethink the shorts
Every year, I hear Outside Landsers getting off the N in their shorts, saying "oh, I shouldn't have worn shorts." Like they are surprised or something! Though it might even be warmish now, it will not be hot enough to necessitate shorts out here. Besides, you look better in jeans. Seriously.
This isn't church, you don't need to wear a skirt/dress/kilt
Yes, even if it is long. Even if you're covered up like a sister wife, you're still going to be bare-legged waiting for the N at 10 p.m. Besides, did I mention how you look better in jeans? Especially instead of a maxi dress. Trust me.
You're going to be on your feet and walking all day, so think hard about shoes
Some people can wear flip-flops all year long, run for the bus in them, and do great. Is that you? Your Outside Lands shoes should be your desert island shoes, ones you can cover miles in, stand in, but that you won't get sick of. For some, that's a pair of Reefs. For others, that's a pair of Fryes. But this is not the day to bust out new shoes, or shoes you're less than in love with.
Don't overdo the top
Don't bundle up your top half like you're in The Thing. You're going to get warm, and you don't want to be standing there as your sweaty mess of a sweater slowly cools into a damp chafing garment. Wear a tank top or t-shirt as a base layer and you'll be fine.
And here's what to pack:
Even if you're wearing socks, bring an extra pair in case yours get wet or whatever. And if you're not wearing socks, bring some in case you start blistering (maybe pack a couple band-aids too, if you have room). Yes, most shoes look cooler without socks, but if you end up having to walk home if/when Muni melts down and your phone ran out of juice so you can't get an Uber, you won't care about that.
A top layer or two
One long-sleeved layer is great, two is better. Go for pack and squish-ability, and toss at least one thermal in a ziploc bag so it stays small. If you have time and $70 or so, hit Uniqulo (111 Powell in Union Square, or at the Stonestown mall) for their ultra-light down jackets (made for men and women), which smoosh down into a bag that's smaller and lighter than a burrito.
I know that sounds like overkill, but packing a pair of knit, fingerless gloves has gotten me through more Outer Sunset coffee runs, beach walks, and parklet lounges than I can count. You can find a pair of cheap knit gloves lots of places (from Target to your local dollar store), just cut of the fingers so you can text. That way, you don't have to whine "my hands are soooo cold," as the man passing my apartment did about 469264692462 times at last year's Outside Lands around 10:30 p.m. on Friday.
Oh, no! I forgot all this stuff at home, and now I'm way out west!
There's a Goodwill at 2400 Irving, between 24th and 25th Avenues, that's open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. most days. While I'm not nuts about your wearing thrift store clothing without washing it, if it's that or be cold and miserable, it's worth the risk. Also a good source for raincoats, which you shouldn't need, but you never know, do you?
The Hard Wear Store
Located at 2401 Irving Street at 25th Avenue, this is a nice, locally-owned store where you can grab a sweatshirt hoodie, jackets, socks, thermals, all that stuff. They're pricier than Goodwill, but the stuff is new, unblemished, and frequently emblazoned with an expression of SF pride.
Multiple Asian variety stores on Irving Between 20th and 25th Avenues
If you need some underwear, a toilet plunger, and a coffee cup, there's a solid 5-6 places to get all those things on this stretch of Irving. These are good spots for extra shoes (especially if your feet are petite), socks, gloves, or, god forbid, a rain poncho (which I hope you will not need). That mothball smell will wear off in no time (I hope).
Did I scare you about coming out west? Good. Just kidding! Don't be scared, we're part of San Francisco, just like wherever you live is. I just want you to have a really great time when you visit! And, if you dress and pack a few things appropriately, you will. And you will still look cute! I believe in you.
*Did I just get street cred with those references, or pity over my extreme ancientness? Please do not answer that.