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What Are We Wearing to Restaurants Now, Oakland?

The East Bay brings out its most eclectic fits for outings to Oakland’s trendy Daytrip

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Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

Welcome to Best Dressed, an Eater series where restaurant diners show and tell what they’re wearing out to dinner, from the small details to the splashy pieces — and how they approached getting dressed for each spot’s specific scene. After two years of inside time, how do we dress to go out these days?

Want to see what diners are wearing in Brooklyn, Philly, and Paris? See all of our Best Dressed series here.

The Restaurant: Daytrip
Location: Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood
Cuisine: “Fermentation-driven shared plates”
Menu Highlights: Miso butter pasta made with Shared Cultures miso, celery salad punctuated with aged Sardinian sheep’s cheese, halibut crudo, natural wines by the glass or bottles to go

When chef Finn Stern and wife Stella Dennig opened Daytrip in October 2021, the aim was to create a party atmosphere centered around playful dishes made using fermented ingredients. Along with inventive shared plates, the lively decor by Stern and Dennig and artwork and menu design by Brijean Murphy took the restaurant to another level, helping cement its reputation as a destination for creatives (and the creatively-dressed). The oft-rotating menu highlights both seasonal produce and the kitchen team’s fermentation projects, all while attracting natural wine enthusiasts. Behind the green-tinted, vinyl-curtained front windows — or outdoors in the parklet or back patio — the restaurant’s people-watching is unmatched. At a recent Friday night dinner, diners and servers opted for an eclectic style fit for this corner of Oakland.

Trisha, 40, visual merchandising and Monelle, 40, attorney

Eater: Has the pandemic changed how you dress to go out?

Monelle: I would say the pandemic has made me care a lot less about how I dress and more ballsy when I do dress up, partly because there was such a long period where we weren’t going out seeing people. So when I do see people, I go all out. I don’t hide items for special occasions — every occasion is a special occasion now.

Trisha: For me, I feel like I care a lot less. I’ve really dipped into the East Bay scene, which includes a lot of comfy shoes like Birkenstocks and clogs. [Monelle starts laughing] I still dress up — you caught me on a bad day.

Monelle: You’re representing the spectrum! You’re speaking the language of every single person in the pandemic who realized it doesn’t fucking matter anymore. Just wear whatever the fuck you want.

My ‘dressed down’ does not look like your dressed down, and you look great! How did you both decide what to wear tonight?

Monelle: I knew that Trisha would really appreciate a good vintage piece. Whenever I see her I make an effort to dress in vintage, because I know she will appreciate it.

Trisha: That’s true. Monelle taught me about vintage — [Monelle starts to argue] okay, we fed off each other with vintage.

Monelle: I mostly dress for other women now.

How would you describe your personal style?

Monelle: I’ll give you four words — unapologetic, independent, fun, unexpected.

Trisha: Mine is high-low, vintage, quirk.

James, 42, software engineer and Chelsea, 48, anime singer and photographer

How has the pandemic changed how you dress?

James: Well, with a whole lot of extra time to develop new hobbies that I didn’t really have much time for before, I did start to take an interest in fashion, which I’ve never done before. I bought this leather jacket from Belstaff, and I’ve been wanting to get a leather jacket for a long time. I did a bunch of research and settled on this one, which I really like.

It looks nice and warm. What are some other ways you’ve been exploring fashion? Have you picked up any other stuff?

James: Well, this shirt as well. So this will sound very silly, but in this old television show Californication, I did really enjoy David Duchovny’s style there, so I did some sleuthing and found out the clothes that he was wearing. This is the brand of shirt that he wears on the show. [Editor’s note: The designer is James Perse] They make amazing shirts made from this cotton that’s imported from Japan, and so that’s really good stuff.

What about you, Chelsea?

Chelsea: I don’t think it’s changed.

James: Chelsea has been a fashion enthusiast her entire life.

Chelsea: The thing is that I usually like clothes in Japan, but I couldn’t go back because of the pandemic. I just said, well, I have no new additions, I just tried to coordinate what I have.

I think that’s great you’ve maintained your sense of style. How did you guys decide what to wear tonight? I heard it’s your anniversary.

James: I think Chelsea put a lot more thought into it.

Chelsea: I usually always decide with my feelings, so I don’t really think, I just wore what I wanted.

James: Jeans are sort of my go-to — I wear jeans everywhere. So I start from there and figure out what I’m gonna put with it. I wanted to dress up a little bit, so I’m wearing nicer shoes, as opposed to just my usual hiking shoes, which I love. And it’s cold, so I have this second layer on my jacket.

Chelsea: That’s the thing, I usually wear short skirts, but since it’s cold and I knew that dinner’s going to be outside, I wore a long skirt.

It’ll be warm soon enough. How would you describe your personal style?

Chelsea: Japanese, pop, sexy, elegant. I don’t follow trends, I wear whatever I love and want, and create my own unique style.

James: My personal style most of the time is pragmatic. I wear clothes that are comfortable so I can focus on my work. I prefer to buy items that never go out of style. Simple and classic. I love black, because it goes with everything.

Daniel, 31, ceramist and barista, and Tamara, 29, writer

How has the pandemic changed how you dress?

Daniel: For me, it’s definitely more comfier, longer, baggier kind of clothes.

Tamara: Same. Definitely comfier, baggier clothing. I always wore a lot of secondhand and vintage clothes. But I feel like now I’m wearing the same pieces again and again, and I kind of pared down my clothes a lot during the pandemic.

I want to ask you both about your shirts. Tamara, I’m really interested in your sweater.

Tamara: I’m wearing his sweater.

It’s a really cool sweater.

Daniel: I’m super into music. Porches is a band, as well as [points to his shirt] Crumb. Crumb is a band.

Well, how did you both decide what to wear tonight?

Daniel: For one, we had to pack a small suitcase. I definitely went for stuff that was more flowy and more like, not form-fitting, just very comfy.

Tamara: I’m not from here. I’m from Toronto and it’s very cold there now, and I was kind of under the impression that it would be very cold here too, so I just wanted to wear something warm. We’re only in Oakland for overnight, so it was kind of whatever we could fit in the suitcase.

I like this skirt, where is it from?

Tamara: It’s my grandma’s, she gave it to me.

I like that! It’s still fashionable and awesome. But how would you describe your personal style now? We were talking about the pandemic earlier, but how do you dress to go out?

Daniel: I would say maybe, like, every once in a while, I’ll put on my fancy boots. But for the most part, I’ll be wearing my sweater or just something super casual.

Okay, I want to hear about these fancy boots.

Daniel: They’re called Ranch black boots from Alohas. It has a protruding heel and a square toe.

So when you bust those out, you’re ready to go.

Daniel: I’ll wear my good pants, my boots, I’ll pick my best outfit. For the most part, I’m just trying to be comfy.

Tamara: I think for me, I feel like every day when I get dressed, I try and make up some kind of character in a way. I feel like I’ve done that a lot more since the pandemic. I think before I was very self conscious, and there were a lot of things that I either wouldn’t think that I could wear, or didn’t have the confidence to wear, but now I kind of don’t care about that anymore.

Do you have a character you’ve tried to dress like, or emulate?

Tamara: I don’t know if it has a name. I’ve leaned a lot more into darker aesthetics and more… not goth, but light goth, I wear a lot more black now. If I’m going out, I’ll wear a lot more mesh or something flowy. I just got a silk skirt that’s completely see-through, and I never would have worn anything like that before the pandemic. But now I’m kind of more into being a little bit more conceptual with the things that I wear. I bleached my eyebrows, cut my hair — I feel like that’s a character, I’m trying to put one together right now. It’s in flux.

Jaime, 46, program manager and Michele, 57, executive assistant

Patricia Chang

How has the pandemic changed how you dress?

Jaime: Today I put on jeans. I would say normally I wear sweatpants. I guess with the pandemic I got more casual.

Michele: I generally just wear jeans and dress casually. It’s not like I necessarily was someone who dressed up.

How did you plan what to wear tonight?

Michele: I was running out of time, so this was what I was wearing earlier today.

Jaime: I was wearing a hat earlier and didn’t feel like taking a shower, so I put another hat on. And it’s cold, so I felt like a turtleneck was the right thing to do. And I only wear black jeans, so that worked out. The all-black clothing is so easy.

What would you say describes your personal style?

Jaime: I guess I’m pretty androgynous. Casual androgynous.

Ana Quintanilla, 33, server at Daytrip

Patricia Chang

How has the pandemic changed how you dress?

Ana: The pandemic has made me think more about how I dress, because there’s been a little bit more inward reflection time and there’s been a lot of reflection on identity — and I think that clothing plays a big part of identity. So I’ve certainly seen a lot of trend changes because of the pandemic and I’ve been excited by those trend changes. I think the way that we dress has become a little bit more creative recently. I don’t know specifically what, but I do think that the pandemic has something to do with that, so it’s allowed me to be a little bit more playful.

How did you decide on this outfit tonight? What were you going for?

Ana: Well, it’s cold so I needed to wear a sweater because I knew I was gonna be going in and out. I actually just thrifted this while I was traveling in Italy, and I wanted to embody ‘Dolly’ energy. [Editor’s note: The sweater is embroidered “Dolly” across the front pocket.] I thrifted it for 10 euros.

That is awesome in so many ways. What attracted you to it? Why did you like it?

Ana: I liked that it said ‘Dolly’ on it. It has this sort of grandma vibe that I was really attracted to. I just spotted the color and that’s what made me pull it out. I feel like right now I’m definitely going through like a bright, happy phase.

How would you describe your personal style?

Ana: My style I would say is kind of roll out of bed, put on jeans, and then a pop of color. But I am slightly attracted to the 2000s color comeback that’s been happening. So, a little sprinkle of that.

I also noticed your eye makeup is very cute, too. How do you change up what you wear for work at Daytrip? It feels like a lot of pressure because everybody’s very dressed up.

Ana: It’s been a really big inspiration as to what has made me be a little bit more creative with my wear. One, because Daytrip is just a very Cool People vibe, and two, I think everyone that works here has a really stylish look to them. So I feel like I had to pump up my game a little bit.

What would you say is the customer vibe for fashion at Daytrip?

Ana: I think we range anywhere from a casual look to super, super stylish. It’s a big range of people. What’s cool is that it attracts a lot of queer folks, and I think there’s a lot of really cool, queer, stylish people that come by and are very impressive — and it’s another reason why I have to make sure I look good.

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