Fashion is continuously changing. Although how people dress is largely determined by what is trendy, it's sometimes overwhelming trying to keep up with the latest trends. As we explore fashion here in Silicon Valley more, let's focus on what the South Bay has going on. I started this journey by speaking with Kimmy from Black and Brown on San Carlos Street and Araceli from Thrill of the Luxe on North San Pedro Street, whom you may remember from a previous post. If you haven’t visited them, go check them out. The vibe and aesthetic will for sure get you excited about South Bay style.
“When I think of true San Jose fashion, that true timeless fashion is going to be Dickies, Ben Davis, Pro Club Bigger T, and Pendleton, as well as work wear, which is really popular. This type of style is definitely ingrained in San Jose,'' says Kimmy Nguyen, who has been working at the Black and Brown vintage shop for over eleven years. Streetwear and hypebeast are the core of what San Jose attire is all about. Wide leg, relaxed fit, and baggy denim are key characteristics. Chunky platform, high boot, and mid-century retro looks are all making a comeback in San Jose as well.
Another characteristic of South Bay fashion is the mixing of garment styles. “In the vintage community, it's still hip/hop and rap influenced with oversized jackets and baggy jeans, which can be mixed with vintage stuff, newer stuff, and designer clothes,” says Araceli, who likes to carry timeless pieces in her vintage shop. Something I’ve seen here in San Jose more and more is the mixing of a hypebeast t-shirt, some vintage denim jeans with a designer shoe, and a new jacket from an H&M-like retail store. I think this is an interesting take on baggy, comfortable garments with a South Bay flare.
As I was researching what South Bay style is, an interesting term from a reddit article came to my attention. They called it “MFA Uniform”. This isn’t exclusive to the South Bay but has a profound influence on the people who reside here. MFA Uniform, if you haven’t heard of it, could be considered a more hipster look with jeans, a button up, and some type of leather shoe. It’s something you could wear daily if you work in the tech industry, or something you could wear to meet with friends. We have seen this fashion style at our Pick-Up Parties as well. Typically, it’s guys wearing a plaid shirt and denim pants with a dressy shoe.
Hypebeast/streetwear, thrifted vintage clothes, and MFA Uniform are what San Jose’s fashion consists of. Through the many cultural backgrounds that reside here in the South Bay we get a lot of different influences, resulting in a look that intermixes. Within these intermixes is where we truly discover our distinctive style. “Keep having an open mind with fashion. Every day I get customers that have never been here, and every day I hope that fashion keeps moving forward. Clothes are a great way to express yourself. You can buy and wear nice used pieces of clothing, and that could work for everybody,” says Kimmy. Whenever you feel like wearing that shirt that you may be unsure about wearing, just wear it. Express how you want the world to know you. Wear the clothes that speak to you and make you feel good about yourself. Try new looks out and you will love how it makes you feel.
On my own personal fashion journey, I like to break the gender barriers. I like to wear baggy clothes and give off a street wear vibe, but I also mix it with vintage garments and Mad Max-like clothing, giving it a post-apocalyptic touch. The more experimental and expressive people are with their fashion, the more they expand the style of the South Bay, because it enables others to feel as though they can express themselves, too. I think this influences others to become more aware of what they’re wearing. “To see a really masc male be okay putting on a more femme item is good. If you like it, you like it. We should not be categorized,” adds Kimmy.