After five days, I am quite taken with California.
I will not be moving here, mostly because there is not enough St. John’s Wort or diet spiked seltzer in the world to correct my well-ingrained, East Coast neurosis, and I’d hate to ruin a good thing for everyone else. That said, the western seaboard does require a type of nonchalant presentation even of its visitors — one that does not often come naturally to those of us who spend the better part of the year either shivering under or sweating through a Brooks Brothers blazer. Where DC and its urban counterparts are stylistically stark and deliberate, the LA area’s cliff- and palm-strewn beaches shape style choices that are a little blurred and less contrived, like an off-the-cuff Instagram you Facetuned but didn’t filter.
While traveling, I like to collect little outfit trinkets from the people I encounter. I think of them as mental souvenirs I can use to adjust or expand my style perspective moving forward — like I’m a sartorial anthropologist except with a lot more creepy staring. Lucky for me, we were fortunate enough to encounter a wedding cocktail hour at the bar we were visiting in Santa Monica, which proceeded to yield the hottest group of homegrown West Coasters the world has ever known. It’s not often you get to outfit creep on a bunch of locals looking their best, and you better believe I went all in. Bright colors, big earrings and layers of patterns soon surrounded us, in a way that managed to avoid the showiness that often accompanies over-accessorizing.
You can tell that setting is a major consideration for Californians, and it was as if each color was chosen to complement the sunset, each turquoise cuff was selected to accent its owner’s fresh glass of Simi Char, and every shoe choice to gracefully challenge the textures and patterns already at play, uneager to simply blend in. In LA, sunglasses are upgraded from omnipresent prop to supporting character, with many pairs serving a statement all their own — think ardent tortoise cat eyes and geometrically progressive aviators. Hemlines ranged from can’t-bend-over to dragging-through-the-sand, and yet no one looked overdressed.
Overall, the micro styling decisions of Californians seem to mirror one macro philosophy; “We care, just not as much as you do.” Point taken.
One more thing to note: California gets cold at night!!!! While our fair swamp clings to the heat of the sun in diligent preparation for a sporadic Ice Age, California cools almost immediately after sunset. I think there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
Lookbook theme: small budget, big earrings. At best it will inspire, at worst it will help you kill three more minutes at work. XXOX
Similar overalls // Tortoise Sunnies // Similar earrings // Bandana
Floral Gaucho Jumpsuit // Mules
J. Crew Tortoiseshell Earrings
Las Brisas // Laguna Beach
Tortoise Sunnies // Gabby (NOT FOR SALE)
The Bungalow // Santa Monica
White peplum top // Favorite white jeans // Similar Earrings
Fred’s // Huntington Beach
Dress // Nude Slides
Pier // Newport Beach
Striped One-Piece Suit
Floral Gaucho Jumpsuit // Tortoise Sunnies
2 thoughts on “The California Lookbook”