Autumn in California is a season that is filled with contradictions: Some days are super hot and some days are like a day in London, England. Cold, rainy, foggy, and so you need to get out your sweaters. The Fall fashion season in California is something few people understand. There are distinct places in California where you must wear certain things or certain colors with a specific style to the NORTH and the SOUTH that only us natives can understand. There are alot of fashion myths out there about California’s lifestyle, so let me be the first to reject these myths and set you all straight.
I will be your STYLE TRANSLATOR so you never have to worry again about what to wear to that Tech Mixer or Founder’s Cocktail party!
But first, a story.
In a conversation with a friend from Paris aka “the Frenchman” when he was scheduled to visit me in Los Angeles he began by telling me his bright green pants, yellow shirts would be perfect at the beach in Los Angeles. Picturing the doorman at Tommy Bahamas, I said…”Well, actually, everyone in Los Angeles likes to wear white, black, beige, tan, and grey on a regular basis.” I had a horrific image of myself in December walking down the streets with a man who was dressed like the “Good Humor Man” in a beach world where white, black and grey were the required colors with just a dash of the “athletic look” to tie it all together. What’s a girl to do? The Frenchman called a friend who may have told him (I never knew for sure) that people in Los Angeles do love black and wear it on a daily basis. They just add a dash of “athletic shoe” or a perfectly pressed t-shirt with their jeans or a blazer over that for more formal occaisons. Saved!
So, what is the fall season in California? Well, Northern California style is all about the Tech Industry. Yes, those tech folks have really wiped out all fashion as we knew it in my home town of Palo Alto. The art of “unfussy casual” is what I see most of the time. I hear the ‘tech set’ is changing it up between the morning Lattes and the cocktail hour with something akin to a designer bag or shoe. Mostly, the career girls are wearing the fashionable clothes whil the power moms are wearing LULU LEMOM or their designer jeans and UGG boots. Yes, there is some style here but the trick is to look like you “really don’t care” and have “made no effort”.
In Silicon Valley, I have heard the well-heeled and Tech barons wear their fine shirts and jeans with the worlds most perfect hoodie (Mr. Zuckerberg, I am sure is a devotee) so the art of casual in this part of the world is balanced only by the number of TESLA motorcars at every stop light. Its the most fashionable accessory you have in Northern California, and is worn by both men and women alike. Its much the same in Southern California but just add a personal trainer to the mix or a yoga studio to your look. Yes, you can actually “dress it up” in Southern California and almost no one will notice because the red carpet culture has permeated everyone’s psyche. You are free to glitter your toenails in preparation for the “Mani-Cam or add a leather pant and pair of stilettos to your everyday outfit and you’ll fit right in.
Without the “Hollywood” element in Southern California, where would the glamour be? It would simply not be as fun or as ridiculous or entertaining and finally ultimate in the casual lifestyles. Paris designers are visiting, even buying houses and trying to capture the “zeitgeist of California” as they relax in their jeans, t-shirts to experience the authentic style of California. They know, to live it, experience it, and to “translate it” they need to understand it.
Here are some of my favorite looks that have popped up on the runways that actually work in California (sorry, New York) and so you can take your hints from here!