The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe: Sonya Yu

By Erin Carlson

Seeing Green. “I love color. I love having fun,” says Yu, sporting Givenchy. “I don’t want to be in the same outfit as somebody else. I certainly hope I would not style anything the same as anybody else. … I’m usually very allergic to black.” (Spencer Brown)

When getting dressed, business coach and philanthropist Sonya Yu loves to mix it up. Her personal style changes a lot, but she’s always drawn back to what she describes as “street prep.” Yu combines edgy coolness with pulled-together elegance, and her flair for taking fashion risks has made her a standout on the Bay Area social scene. “I’m a total hypebeast at heart and love sneakers and streetwear,” she says. “But that entire aesthetic is also notme, too. I like the combination, you know?”

She gravitates toward bold color — a red velvet gown at an SFFILM event; a canary-hued satiny shirtdress at the Big Bang Gala — as well as black-and-white prints. For SFMOMA’s Birthday Bash two years ago, she accessorized her Gucci tartan frock with glasses. The look: librarian chic. Even in a sea of fashion-forward ensembles, Yu looked fresh and original. She sits on the boards of SFMOMA, SFFILM and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and is guaranteed to arrive dressed to impress at the organizations’ splashy benefits.

For her Nob Hill Gazette photoshoot, Yu chose a vibrant green Givenchy suit. “I just love the color,” she says. “I love how bold it is and how I don’t think I’ll see anyone else in it.”

Yu and husband Zachary Lara, a consultant who also prefers an unconventional suit (think blue velvet instead of basic black), are parents to 5-year-old Evelyn and 1-year-old August, and live in San Francisco. They have a second home in L.A.’s Sunset Square neighborhood.

I do try and scour vintage pieces when I’m in different cities,” says Yu, who relishes the shopping scene. “Designer vintage can be so fun and unique. Everything in fashion is so cyclical. It all comes back into style. Hold on to something — it’ll be trendy again.”

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