Mommin’ in the City: 8 Wardrobe Essentials for Summer in San Francisco


This post is in partnership with Ambiance.

what to wear in san francisco during the summer

Most women in San Francisco have heard of Ambiance. Whether you live or work close to Union Street, the Inner Sunset (Irving), the Haight, or Noe Valley, there is an Ambiance boutique for you. Those vertical black and white stripes on an old-fashioned awning are a weary shopper’s paradise in a sea of sandy colored shops.

So, what makes Ambiance so special?

To start, you’ll only find the boutiques in San Francisco. It was founded in 1996 and is currently owned by Donna O’Leary. Ambiance is a small business that has been thriving in the changing times of the retail industry. It has won multiple awards by various San Francisco publications. This chain of four boutiques offers special perks many competitors do not, such as private, catered shopping parties, private styling sessions, and a new Ambi-Care package where stylists curate items and mail them to your door.

Ambiance’s motto is, “We really like you.” This credo is evident in every staff member I have encountered. I can barely pick up an item before a sales associate is on hand to bring it to my private dressing room. They offer suggestions, pull looks, and subtly push your style comfort zone in the best of ways.

I celebrated my birthday last March with my own private shopping party at the Irving location. The manager on duty put on a playlist of my choosing, set out champagne, sparkling water, and treats, and the staff helped my friends and I shop the night away. With a 10% exclusive party discount, 18 of my mom friends and I came out of the experience with beautiful pieces to light up our style self-confidence.

This is why I was so excited to be asked to write a summer essentials post featuring Ambiance items. I showed up at the scheduled time at the Union location to meet with Julie Rhodes, Customer Care Coordinator. Julie answered my questions and helped me shop for fun and functional summer essentials for this post.

Here’s what I found… 

The Jumpsuit

jumpsuit from ambiance boutique in san francisco

Yes, the jumpsuit is still having a major fashion moment. Ambiance has many jumpsuits and rompers (the shorts version of a jumpsuit) in the store. My favorite was this striped rainbow-colored number by Lush. I can see myself wearing this in my mom life and even on a ladies’ night out with a pair of heels and a leather jacket (it is still summer in SF, after all).

The Beachy Sweater

beachy sweater from ambiance boutique in san francisco

As previously mentioned, we do have the coldest summers in SF. But that doesn’t have to mean you can’t participate in summer style! I was so thrilled to find this chewed hem sweater that I purchased it right away! Perfect over a pair of white jeans and a tank or as a beach cover-up on vacation. This one will keep me warm during Fourth of July fireworks at our favorite viewing point at Aquatic Park! Step in the store to find your own loose woven relaxed fit sweater with just the right amount of detail.

The Statement Earring

statement earring from Ambiance boutique in San Francisco

A colorful myriad of statement earrings greets guests as they walk into Ambiance. At my visit, the front table was stacked with layers of beaded, shiny, and colorful treasures that I felt compelled to touch. There is truly one for every outfit. I chose this sunny yellow beaded and floral wrapped circle pair to complement my white denim jacket.

The Wide Leg Pant

wide leg pant from ambiance boutique in san francisco

After years of skinny jeans, my legs are super excited about the move toward wide leg pants. What better time than summer to purchase a pair of flowy, leg freeing pants to wear to all those summer birthday parties at the park?! I chose this blue, white, and black pair for their versatility. With heels and jewelry, they create a date night look, with a black bathing suit and flip flops it’s off to the beach.

The Demin Jacket

denim jacket at ambiance boutique in san francisco

If you can only buy one summer essential, make it a well-fitted denim jacket in a classic blue wash. A jean jacket adds a casual-chic vibe to all your summer looks, from shorts and a t-shirt to a fit and flare summer dress. Plus, it keeps you warm.

A Maxi Skirt

maxi skirt from ambiance boutique in San Francisco

I’m not a huge floral print maxi-skirt person (reminds me too much of my go-to look during pregnancy!), but the nautical stripes and geometric prints of the maxis I tried at Ambiance have a preppy-fun look that makes me want to board a bay cruise and sail the day away in style.

A Wrap in an Interesting Color

pink wrap from Ambiance boutique in San Francisco

Since we are always in need of a layering piece in The City, grab a soft-as-ever wrap in a color that flatters your skin and makes you feel great. I chose this coral number I found at Ambiance for the contrast against my neutral outfit. The texture is so silky that I kinda want to sleep with it!

The White Midi Dress

white midi dress from Ambiance boutique in San Francisco

While Ambiance is known for its bold colors, there is something equally bold and, well, summery, about an all-white cotton dress. This was by far my favorite piece of the shopping trip. This cotton and linen dress made its way home with me and out for a wine tasting adventure with my husband that weekend (our first break from the kids in a year!) The midi length is flattering and unfussy, making this dress a casual staple in my summer wardrobe.

My personal shopping experience at Ambiance on Union Street was fun, informative, and very fruitful! I came home with a shopping bag full of fun pieces to help build my summer “mommin’ in the City” wardrobe. I urge you to grab your friends and schedule a private styling session with one of the store’s associates. Better yet, throw your own personal shopping party and find the summer essentials that work for you!


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Laura is the founder of Merry Styling, a mom of two, and a former teacher who lives in San Francisco. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and relished the changing of seasons because it meant revamping her wardrobe! After completing graduate school at The Ohio State University, Laura relocated to San Francisco, where she taught elementary school for nine years before having her two children Noelle (6) and Lucas (2). When her youngest was six months old, Laura started working as a stylist with jewelry and accessories company Stella and Dot. Since then, she has earned a Fashion Merchandising degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, styled with nonprofit Dress for Success, and done various merchandising projects for different retail organizations. Laura knows that style is more than clothing and accessories. She has found it to be an amazing confidence booster. Finding the perfect outfit on a bad day can turn it into a great one. She is especially passionate about working with moms Laura started Merry Styling because she wants to help other moms and anyone else who feels "left behind by fashion" to feel confident, empowered, and beautiful through personal styling, closet detox, and personal shopping sessions. Follow her at @merrystylingsf on Facebook, @merrystyling on Instagram and check out for more!


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