Look Like a Local in Portland, OR

Travel Tips — By Brie Milgrom on October 23, 2010 at 1:35 am

Portlanders like their fashion with a dash of comfort and a pinch of originality. Portland has a mild climate, a little on the damp side, with warm summers and cold winters. We are currently enjoying gorgeous crisp fall days with lots of sunshine and a chill in the air that encourages layering, sweaters, lightweight scarves, tights and fingerless gloves, and curling up under a throw blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.

Rain, mode of transportation and extra curricular activities influence fashion choices. My favorite thing about Portland fashion is that you can dress like yourself. Gender expression through fashion is fluid. It is perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear Carharts or a man to wear a Utilikilt (or skirt).

This gentleman is an excellent example of local fashion:

* Black boots
* Fitted jeans
* Buffalo plaid button down shirt over a fitted t-shirt (layers)
* Dark denim
* Long hair
* Beard
Accessories: Messenger bag, keys, pin

You’ll notice he is smiling. Portlanders generally tend to be friendly, especially on beautiful days. Also, you are just as likely to see a lady in the same outfit.

Other popular items of clothing include:

* Zip up hooded sweatshirts (hoodies)
* Jeans that are less fitted
* Leather shoes
* Dress over leggings
* Well loved slouchy boots
Accessories: Large jewelry, satchel

* Bangs and braids
* Skinny jeans tucked into boots
* Cute and comfortable shoes
* Colorful outfits
Accessories: Hats! (We love hats), oversize sunglasses, chunky jewelry

Other popular accessories:
* Klean Kanteens (or other reusable water bottle)
* Tattoos (Portland is a seriously inked town)
* Face and body piercings
* Shaggy hair cuts
* You would think with all the rain we would be the umbrella capital of the universe. Not so. Nothing will make you look like a Portlander more than not using an umbrella when it is raining. (There are exceptions. I happily embrace my giant rainbow umbrella.)
* Toms shoes
* Lightweight scarves wrapped casually several times around the neck
* Vintage Nikes
* Frye Boots

Portlanders like spending time outside bicycling, bike communting, hiking in one of Portland’s many parks or the nearby Columbia Gorge, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing… So it follows that popular fashion choices include upscale athletic apparel. It is perfectly acceptable to go from yoga to lunch without changing your clothes. Adidas, Nike, Lucy and Columbia Sportswear are all based here as well.

Still confused about what to wear? I devised an acronym to help. To look like a local wear something that is one or all of the following:


In short: come as you are.

[All photos courtesy Brie Milgrom. Thanks lovely strangers for letting me photograph you!]

Tags: dress like a local, fashion, portland, what to wear


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