If everyone's supposedly got a soul mate, we'll venture a guess to say they've also got a closet-mate, too. You know — that one person out there whose picture-perfect wardrobe hits all the right notes for you? Whose accessories are a painfully perfect mix of butterfly leather staples and a variety of timeless heels? She's the owner of the one closet you'd simply kill to raid, and for us, all that belongs to Bay Area beauty Julia Engel.
The inspiration-maker posts her crisp, clean looks on her blog, Gal Meets Glam, but took some time off from being professionally chic to traipse through her favorite SF hood. She gives us the downlow on what's hip, where we should eat, and why we should always turn to layering. Click through to get a hefty dose of what's-what in the Bay Area, and save a lil' room for some gelato on the way home, too.
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Photographed by Michael O'Neal
San Francisco is such a rad city. How did you get your start in fashion here?
"I grew up two hours outside of the city in a small town and knew I wanted to be here when I finished college. After graduating, I briefly did social media and marketing for Tart Collections before deciding to pursue my blog full-time and take on the opportunities that were coming my way. I never thought that it would turn into a full-time career, but I feel so blessed to be doing something I'm passionate about. The city continues to inspire me every day."
What do you like most about this neighborhood?
"I love North Beach, because you feel like you're in Europe with all of the cafes and outside seating — and it has the best Italian food! There are also random shops and stores that you can wander into. The views are gorgeous. Although it's more of a touristy spot, I love going up to Coit Tower. I'm always inspired by the architecture and array of colored buildings and homes in San Francisco."
What are your go-to neighborhood shops?
"My favorite spots are on Fillmore Street and in Hayes Valley. You can find the best boutiques that carry a wide range from designers to unknown affordable lines.
"My favorite shops are Chloe Rose Boutique, Heidi Says, Curve SF, Steven Alan, Nida, and Acrimony. Chloe Rose has been a favorite store of mine because it's such a wonderful atmosphere. The owner, Marissa, and employees are so sweet and helpful and there is always a plethora of color and pretty things!
"Heidi Says has some of my favorite brands including M Missoni and DVF. Curve is filled with some of the most coveted and beautiful designers like Isabel Marant, Valentino, and Balmain. My husband usually drags me out drooling."
Where do you hit up for vintage, home wares, or other goodies?
"Ver Unica in Hayes Valley is a great spot for vintage as well as Wasteland in Haight-Ashbury. My favorite designer consignment stores are Fillmore & 5th, and Jeremys in SOMA."
What's the last great thing you bought?
"I just bought an Isabel Marant red printed floral jumpsuit for spring. I've already worn it since it's been over 70 degrees."
What are your favorite haunts in the city?
"Since we live in the Marina, my husband and I are usually eating at a restaurant on Chestnut, Union or Fillmore so that we can walk there. I love De La Rosa — their food is delicious and it's a fun spot to go to with friends. For after-work drinks, I like Nectar Wine Lounge and Bin 38 because they are a little bit more low-key. I also love Bar Tartine in the Mission, Outerlands in the Outer Sunset for brunch, and 21st Amendment for burgers and beer."
Why do you think people come to you for styling advice?
"I'm just a real girl and I think I'm easy to relate to. I don't have a model body and not all clothes look perfect on me. I have to find things that fit and flatter my body and while doing so, I learn so much of what works and doesn't. I'm not trying to create costumes or come up with the most creative or insane way to wear things, but put together outfits that are attainable and practical."
How would you describe your style?
"It's very feminine, colorful, and timeless. I try to not make any impulse purchases (which is really hard) and buy items that can be worn in many different ways. My style is always evolving, especially as I get older, and I'm slowly incorporating a little bit more edge."
What are your favorite brands?
"I love Miu Miu, Stella McCartney, Saint Laurent, and Mulberry. The list could go on and on!"
Who are your fashion icons?
"Olivia Palermo, Diane Kruger, Miroslava Duma, and Kate Bosworth. They are always so inspiring and put-together."
What are you up to on the weekends?
"On a sunny day, my husband and I will pack a lunch and walk to North Beach. You can find the best gelato here, which always reminds me of my honeymoon in Italy."
Theory Cropped Open Front Blazer, $355, available at Theory; Jill Stuart dress, Miu Miu bag, BaubleBar necklace.
That purse! That blazer! Tell us about this chic combo.
"I picked up this white Theory blazer when I was in New York for Fashion Week in February, and I wear it at least four times a week. I bought this Miu Miu bag when I was in Italy — it's one of my favorite things in my wardrobe."
How do you balance the different seasons with your clothes?
"San Francisco is somewhat always the same temperature, give or take 10 degrees. It's never that warm or super cold. Having lots of layering items is key to dressing in this kind of weather. Since I love dresses and skirts, that means lot of tights and coats."
B by Brian Atwood heels.