By SHALWAH EVANS
Summertime in San Francisco takes some getting used to if you’re not from here. My friends came to visit from New York for the Fourth of July weekend and as most of my friends and family who live in New York they assume all of California is like Los Angeles. They’re visit reminded me of cardigans, the sweater named for the 7th Earl of Cardigan, a Brit, of course.
I remember when cardigans were only associated with dreadful school uniforms, dorky college professors, preps and geeks. Didn’t former president Jimmy Carter wear a cardigan? Then Mr. Rogers, who probably softened attitudes toward it. Now, you can find anyone from rappers to kindergarten children to our first lady in chic cardigans.
In my mind I can never have too many and San Francisco has perfect cardigan weather—even in the Mission. During the spring a cardigan is great with a scarf and knit boots. In the wintertime you can layer it with another cardigan and light jacket, or simply wear it with your outfit underneath a coat. In the summer I always carry around my now torn up gray grandpa cardigan that I hated myself for buying from Urban Outfitters for $48 (because I knew when it eventually went on sale it would be $20, which it was).
I recently saw a woman walking on Valencia Street with a gorgeous gray wrap around cardigan. In her rush to get across the street with her stroller just as the light began to change I didn’t flag her down for a photo. I wish I had, but I especially wish I’d asked her who she was wearing. That cardigan was BAD.
But I spot great cardigans on people on the street all the time, and I was able to flag down a few others walking in the Mission in their spring cardigans—even a woman in a Marc by Marc Jacobs menswear button down. I dipped in and out of a few stores too. Valencia Street was a mix of highs and lows—prices that is. Buffalo Exchange had a variety of fabrics for men, including wool and cashmere, going for an average of $18. Dema offered unique shapes and styles for women, including a Paul & Joe gray batwing cardigan for $88. And Density, near 17th Street, had more traditional men’s sweaters that could be dressed up with slacks or dressed down with jeans and a t-shirt for anywhere from $60-$106.
One of the best that I saw was a multi-colored (base colors) Pendleton virgin wool men’s cardigan at Thrift Town on Mission Street—$8, reminding me of why I LOVE thrift store shopping.