It’s a poem of texture, color. and shape conveyed by the wearer.

Fashion flair? It won’t be found on a rack. A stellar sense of style comes from the inside and flows out with grace and gusto. It’s plucky and individualistic, but also sensible and elegant. It breaks rules and sets trends. It reveres beauty, creativity, and attitude. It’s a poem of texture, color. and shape conveyed by the wearer. It brings smiles and drops jaws. Cheers to these eight San Franciscans who wear it well.

Mayor Willie Brown

What is your most timeless fashion piece? 

A sky cap, head piece, or hat.

What makes you the happiest to wear and why?

Shoes that fit!

When you’re off to a festive occasion, what one thing will you don?

I always wear a snappy, colorful belt. 

What is your most treasured fashion item bought while traveling?

I love to buy shirts, and have a collection from Rome, Paris, and London. Why? Because they are the one thing that doesn’t have to be altered

What should every man have in his closet?  

A blue blazer.

Allison Speer

CEO of Allison Speer Public Relations and Events

What is your most timeless fashion piece and why?

My Black Herm s Togo 30-inch Birkin, which I received for my thirtieth birthday. It was a gift from my boyfriend at the time: it’s 20 years old and looks brand new. That is a sign of timelessness. Also, Tiffany & Co.’s Elsa Peretti gold cuff which I got it 15 years ago. It feels as current today as ever. 

What makes you the happiest to wear and why?

I love wearing anything by Andrew Gn. These colorful pieces, made with beautiful fabrics in Paris, make me feel incredibly glamorous.

When you’re off to a festive occasion, what one thing will you don?

My wedding ring! Most days I just wear my wedding band, but when I go out, I put on my ring and other jewelry, which makes me feel special. 

What is your most treasured fashion item bought while traveling?

I bought my black Hermès Evelyn cross body bag in Paris. It’s perfect for travel, as it fits your wallet, passport, essential cosmetics, and phone.

What is something you wear sometimes that might surprise someone?

Sweatpants. I love chic, casual, comfy, old school ones for running errands.

So we can dream for the future, what fashion items do you pack in your airplane carry-on bag?

I always take my Hermès cashmere wrap on trips. It can serve as a blanket and an eye mask. I use Walker Valentine travel bags.

What would you wear for an important Zoom meeting?

I like to wear color or patterns for Zoom meetings. I love Elder Statesman, Gucci, or Valentino sweaters.

Where do you see fashion trends going in 2021?

I think people are really into casual lounge wear, comfort, and low key looks— nothing flashy.

What’s your favorite fashion quote?

“Don’t be like the rest of them, darling,” by Coco Chanel.

What four designers, living or dead, would you like to invite for dinner?

Oscar de la Renta, Coco Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld, and Tom Ford.

What should every woman have in her closet?  

A great black Chanel jacket, which can be worn with jeans or a skirt. It’s the ultimate power look.

Joel Goodrich

Luxury real estate agent

What is your most timeless fashion piece and why?

The black sequined jacket I bought in Paris after attending the Chanel show and luncheon during Paris Fashion Week. I bought it after seeing Karl Lagerfeld wear it when he came out on the runway to take his bow after the show.

What makes you the happiest to wear and why?

Pucci! The colors are amazing.

When you’re off to a festive occasion, what one thing will you don?

A fabulous jacket brooch. 

What is your most treasured fashion item bought while traveling?

The Dolce Gabbana Alta Moda (haute couture) jacket I bought in New York after attending the show the night before in the Rainbow Room. Liza Minelli sang, Michael Feinstein played the piano. The models were walking through the audience, over a glass catwalk during Liza’s serenade. There was one jacket I had to have! I wore it to the opera’s opening gala that year.

What is something you wear sometimes that might surprise someone?

My classic real estate business look is tailored tan slacks, blue blazer, white shirt with monogram, and, of course, a Hermès pocket square!

So we can dream for the future, what fashion items do you pack in your airplane carry-on bag?

Whether it’s a very social trip with black tie events or a casual resort trip with summer wear, I pack lots of accessories. It’s all about the accessories!

What would you wear for an important Zoom meeting?

For business, my classic blue blazer and white shirt with monogram for a Zoom party. (Versace shirt, of course!)

Where do you see fashion trends going in 2021?

I believe fashion may be a bit subdued over the next year. Then, we will see a repeat of the 1920’s. It will be the most exuberant and over-the-top fashion decade ever as people want to start experiencing life again.

What’s your favorite fashion quote?

When I was honored to be put on a San Francisco Best Dressed List for a third time, they asked for a 1-line quote on my style. I said, “My style is very PC: Versace, Pucci, and Chanel!”

What four designers, living or dead, would you like to invite for dinner?

Karl Lagerfeld, Gianni Versace, Yves Saint Lauren, and Calvin Klein.

What should every man have in his closet?  

Lots of Versace!

Sonya Molodetskaya

Fashion maverick 

What is your most timeless fashion piece and why?

Tom Ford Molly 61 red sequin jersey dress from his SS14 collection. The dress was designed as a tribute to Jay-Z and worn by Beyoncé while on tour as an homage to Tom Ford. I love it because of its interesting design and because it stands out and has a story! It also makes a perfect Holiday dress. I wear this dress once a year around Christmas time.

What makes you the happiest to wear and why?

Colors! Colors! Colors! I love to experiment with colors, putting them together in the most unexpected ways, and it always works for me. Fashion is probably the only game where you are free from any kind of rules.

What is your most treasured fashion item bought while traveling?

A Christian Lacroix A-line strapless dress. I bought it in Las Vegas years ago. They used to have a store in one of the hotels, probably Caesars Palace. Over the years, my body changed size quite a few times [laughing], so when I got bigger, I wore it as a skirt, and again as a dress when I lost weight.

What is something you wear sometimes that might surprise someone?

Anything black!

What four designers, living or dead, would you like to invite for dinner?

Olivier Rousteing, Creativity Director of Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, and Daniel Lee, Creative Director of Bottega Veneta and my latest obsession. 

What should every woman have in her closet?  

Sequins and feathers!

Mary Beth Shimmon

Style trailblazer 

Mary Beth Shimmon attends Contemporary Muslim Fashions Donor Opening at the de Young (Photo – Drew Altizer)

What is your most timeless fashion piece and why?

I think of most of the pieces in my closet as being timeless. I don’t understand people who wear something once and then want to sell it. I spend a lot of time each season looking at the collections and deciding which pieces to buy. I only buy things that I really love and that reflect my personality. The timelessness comes from that connection, so what is timeless for me will be different from that of another.

My most favorite (and therefore most timeless) piece is a Chanel dress with 100 hours of hand embroidery by Lesage with navy and black paillettes and a muslin ruffle trim that adds the perfect touch of femininity. I first wore it to the 2014 San Francisco Ballet Opening Night Gala and later chose it when I was fortunate to be drawn by David Downton, the renowned fashion illustrator. If we return to having events, I will wear it for the opening of the upcoming fashion exhibition “Gabrielle Chanel” at the de Young Museum. I love it and will never let it go.

What makes you the happiest to wear and why?

I’m happiest when I am wearing something that I feel is representative of me, and even better is if I don’t look like anyone else. I wore this Delpozo gown—a trapeze silhouette, striped silk organza, with orange bows—to the 2017 San Francisco Opera Ball. The yellow ribbon and rhinestone earrings are vintage from the Oscar de la Renta runway. This look may not be for everyone, and that is a good thing. Needless to say, I didn’t look like anyone else!

When you’re off to a festive occasion, what one thing will you don?

I almost always wear a piece of vintage costume jewelry, because it is unique and fun. It is probably my only fashion addiction. I’ve never met a tassel I didn’t like.

What is your most treasured fashion item bought while traveling?

I try not to do too much shopping for fashion in other cities, because I want to support our local retailers in San Francisco. Since our foggy city is not the place to buy casual resort wear, I have a lot of fun shopping for that in places like St. Barts and Mykonos. I’ve still not been to St. Tropez, but I can imagine that it will be dangerous.

What is something you wear sometimes that might surprise someone?

I wear my clothes over and over. I don’t mind being seen in the same thing many times. I’m wearing it because I love it!

So we can dream for the future, what fashion items do you pack in your airplane carry-on bag?

My vintage costume jewelry. Some of it is valuable, mostly because it is irreplaceable.

What would you wear for an important Zoom meeting?

I actually wore a Carolina Herrera ball gown to a Zoom meeting with Neiman Marcus and Wes Gordon, creative director of Carolina Herrera. I found a photo of a colorful English garden to use as my background. It was a couple of months into the stay-at-home order, and I just felt like it.

Where do you see fashion trends going in 2021?

In the early days of staying at home, there was a lot of discussion about how people might place more value on comfort, practicality, and sustainability. However, now that it’s been going on a while, with no end in sight, I think people miss dressing up. They may go big with a lot of color and volume. Sustainability is important, but dressing up is sustainable, too, if you wear what you already have!

What’s your favorite fashion quote?

“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants,” by Coco Chanel.

What four designers, living or dead, would you like to invite for dinner?

Gabrielle Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Monsieur Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. I like to always be learning and could learn so much from them about many different things. I would also probably lure them to my closet and try to get them to style me.

What should every woman have in her closet?

People should have in their closet only things that make them happy. 

Christopher J. Meza

Realtor

What is your most timeless fashion piece and why?

A navy blue blazer that fits impeccably. It goes with almost everything, travels well, and can be dressed up or down.

What makes you the happiest to wear and why?

Putting on formal attire makes me happy! I have quite a few different dinner jackets that play on pattern or fabric. Once I’m suited up in them, I feel both elegant and ready for an incredible evening. I’ve a respectable go to collection of formal wear at the ready.

When you’re off to a festive occasion, what one thing will you don?

I have a collection of pocket squares that add panache! 

What is your most treasured fashion item bought while traveling?

I bought a beautiful orange woven belt with great leatherwork and a solid brass buckle. I love that it’s such a great color, and it makes me think of the trip. I purchased the belt at a haberdasher in Provincetown, MA over the Christmas holiday. 

What would you wear for an important Zoom meeting?

A great sport coat, a nice shirt, and dark jeans. My morning routine consists of email, workout, shower, and then I’m nicely dressed for the day. I’m Zoom-ready by 8 a.m.

Where do you see fashion trends going in 2021?

I hope fashion will be fun, because we could use it in these times—and because I like to dress. I hope that everyone will retire their safe-at-home outfits and opt for putting on wonderful clothes again!

What’s your favorite fashion quote?

It’s not strictly limited to fashion, but Oscar Wilde said that he had the simplest of tastes: he was always satisfied by the best.

Christine Suppes

Fashion and Lifestyle writer

What is your most timeless fashion piece?

A light beige Chanel trench coat.

What makes you happiest to wear?

At this point in history (pandemic), silky palazzo pants and a comfortable top with pockets to carry my glasses and cell phone make me comfortable and happy.

When you’re off to a festive occasion, what one thing will you don?

I have some lovely jewelry which only comes out for festive occasions, so I can say with certainty that jewelry is my answer.

What do you wear to a Zoom meeting? 

I wear minimal makeup and a pretty top or sweater.

Where do you see fashion trends going in 2021?

If we are still social distancing (and there is every reason to believe we will be), I see loungewear becoming increasingly important. We will want comfortable clothes to wear around home. Some designers think we will want bulky cocoon style coats; but I think that is a mistake, as they are difficult to store in our closets.

What four designers, living or dead, would you like to invite for dinner?

I have been fortunate to have dinner with many of my favorites, so I will focus on the designers I love whom I have not had the good fortune to meet: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, and Balenciaga.

What should every woman have in her closet?

A trench coat, black pants, a black turtleneck sweater, and black low-heeled shoes. My luggage was once lost at Charles de Gaulle Airport for several days, and I felt very comfortable wearing the above (which I’d worn on the plane) everywhere I went.

Mark Calvano

Real estate developer 

When you’re off to a festive occasion, what one thing will you don? 

Usually a brooch.

What is your most treasured fashion item bought while traveling

One-of-a-kind, hand-printed sport coats while traveling in Venice, Italy.

So we can dream for the future, what fashion items do you pack in your airplane carry-on bag? 

My jewelry, of course.

What would you wear for an important Zoom meeting? 

Things are pretty casual these days, so my polo shirts seem to the right fit for the times.

Where do you see fashion trends going in 2021?

It’s hard to say, but people should dress up, feel better about themselves, and share good energy with others. That’s what I intend to do.  

What’s your favorite fashion quote? 

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken,” by Oscar Wilde. 

What four designers, living or dead, would you like to invite for dinner

Karl, Gianni, Ralph, and Alexander, all cooked up by Coco.

What should every man have in his closet? 

To each his own favorite piece, hopefully not skulls or skeletons.

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