From the coffeehouse to the opera house, comfortable, practical, and unpretentious set the style tone for Seattle clothing. What doesn’t fly is bling. If you’re wondering what to wear in Seattle for a night out, go for elegant and understated: rich woolens, fine silks, supple leathers … and nary a big-name designer label in sight.
Here’s What to Wear in Seattle
The city’s deep-rooted outdoor ethic influences what to wear in Seattle. You’ll fit in more if you look like you’re going out for walk rather than out to the clubs. In a city known for grunge and Gore-Tex, you really can’t be too casual.
Raincoat with Hood
Call it another Seattle quirk, but locals rarely carry umbrellas. Instead, go for a raincoat with a hood. Seattleites often just call it a “shell.” Opt for one with waterproof (not just water-resistant) and breathable fabric. Portland, Oregon-based Nau has fashion-forward yet hard-working styles, like its Tripoly Jacket for women and its Quintessentshell Waterproof Trench Coat for men.
Seattle guys pretty much live in hoodies, but a step above the shlubby cotton ones. Seattle’s own Outdoor Research nails the look with its Starfire Hoody for men, or Melody Hoody for women.
Natural merino is an ideal Seattle clothing fabric for either winter or summer. Lightweight T-shirts make great base layers. Companies like Smartwool also make chic tops and skirts for women.
Seriously: Leave the spiky heels at home. Downtown Seattle is very hilly, and people walk here. Women pull on cute boots, paired with tights in winter, bare-legged in summer. Style is up to you, but a northern-Euro look, like Germany’s Rieker, always works.
Guys also need practical footwear for Seattle’s hills. Chukkas get the job done, and a white sole gives them a fresh look.
Finnish store Pirkko has lines that exemplify Seattle style: casual yet sophisticated, with quality materials and striking details. It has a retail store on First Avenue.
Sure, you can always wear jeans. But you’re just as likely to see pants that take a cue from hiking clothing, made with lighter, more flexible fabrics and features like articulated knees. Kuhl gets it right for both men and women.
Knit caps are always in style for men and women. Stash one from Pistil in your bag.
When considering what to wear in Seattle, don’t forget a bag to hold your stuff while you’re exploring. Especially for guys, an old-school-meets-new-school pack like Timbuk2’s Walker Pack is replacing the messenger bag (the briefcase is already long gone) for carrying essentials.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Seattle Travel Guide
- 10 Best Hotels in Seattle
- 10 Best Cheap Hotels in Seattle
- 10 Stylish Boutique Hotels in Seattle
- 12 Fun Things to Do in Seattle
- 10 Must-See Seattle Attractions
- 10 Seattle Museums You Need to Visit
- 10 Best Restaurants in Seattle
- 10 Places to Find the Best Brunch in Seattle
- The 10 Best Cheap Eats in Seattle
- What to Pack for Seattle
—Original reporting by Tina Lassen
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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