Social worker Thea Anderson lives in San Francisco with her husband, Ivan, teenage son and five-year-old daughter. “I manage a grant program that supports students who have experienced trauma,” she says. “The young people in the city are really inspiring — they’re smart, energetic and totally radical.” Here, Thea shares five outfits she wore in a work week…
“I work in an incredibly casual office — some people even wear yoga pants — but I like getting dressed up. I used to be a school teacher, but after I had my second child, I went to grad school for social work. For the first few years of my daughter’s life, I would dress like a grad student — wearing jeans, boots and sweaters every day. I would buy her cute outfits and take pleasure in dressing her, but not take care of myself in the same way. Putting more love and attention on her than I do on myself has been an ongoing struggle for me, but a few years ago I realized that needed to shift. Now I try to wear clothes that make me feel good.”
“I’m generally a terrible thrifter — I have no imagination when it comes to seeing the potential in some old thing. But the jean rack is more manageable. I look for a high waist and a good wash (my favorite is a medium blue stonewash). If they’re a little too big, I just get them altered. I also like online window shopping. There’s a store in Portland called Frances May that I’ve never been to, but I feel like it’s my local shop. I try to wait and be thoughtful instead of making impulsive purchases. Also, because I live in San Francisco where there are essentially no seasons, I buy a lot of clothes off-season during sales. I got this polka-dot sweater at Barney’s end-of-winter sale for like 75 percent off. I sign up for my favorite stores’ email lists and follow a bunch on Instagram to keep up with sales.”
“My mom came from China to go to UC Berkeley in 1965 and has lived in northern California ever since. Many of the clothes I wear nowadays remind me of the quasi-hippie clothes she wore in the ’70s and ’80s. She has always dressed in a stylish pajamas kind of way. In old family snapshots, she’s wearing patterned textiles and wide leg trousers and oversized sweaters and clogs. Now that I’m 40, I wear clogs all the time, too. I love that they give me height but are as comfortable as sneakers. Sven and No. 6 clogs are my go-tos. Once I submitted to clogs, I was like, ‘Okay, I am officially a mom now.’ ”
“My body changed a lot in my late 30s; I’m still getting used to dressing my new shape. I love the silhouette of this dress, and I wear it all the time. It’s not drawing attention to any part of my body but it doesn’t feel like a cloak either. For bags, I used to lug so much stuff around in a big satchel — my daughter’s socks, kids’ books, 100 pens. But a couple years ago, I decided enough was enough, and I downsized. Now I have one Baggu tote for work and one A.P.C. cross-body bag for weekends, and that’s it. I never switch out bags, but just wear them into the ground until they’re falling off my body and then get a new one.”
“I actually got these Kamm pants from a friend. She bought a pair that didn’t fit and was going to put them on the internet — but I raced over to her house and she sold them to me. I get lots of fashion inspiration from my friends. A few of my friends are dressy and fabulous, and a few are super laid-back. I love to see what everybody is wearing. But at the end of the day, I just want to feel like myself.”
Thank you so much, Thea! You’re awesome.