By: Lilli Blakmore
How does men’s fashion compare from coast to coast?
There’s no denying the atmosphere is a bit different between east and west coast USA. Attitudes, culture, and – of course – fashion are all subject to change depending on one’s proximity to the Atlantic or Pacific. So how do fashions really differ from the Big Apple to the City of Angels?
West Coast Style
Known for its laid-back attitude compared to the East’s more hustle-and-bustle climate, the California coast is often stereotyped for it’s New Age spiritualism, vegan tendencies, and Silicon Valley business. Here you’ll find the image of the business man clad in a suit and tie, carrying a cell phone in one hand and a salad shaker in the other. On his face are a pair of the latest style sunglasses and on his head is a carefully mussed, beachy haircut.
Business in the streets, yogi on the beach.
Stylistically, this image (generalized and stereotyped though it is) is a beautiful combination of casual attitude and an ultra professional image. If there’s one thing west coast fashion knows, it’s how to blend the devoutly business-oriented with the carelessly debonair. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit it’s a difficult feat to pull of, and west coast fashion does it flawlessly.
East Coast Style
Over on the East coast, professional attire is somehow even more conservative than its west coast counterpart, but with its own working-class touch. Whereas L.A. mixes the pure professional with the laid-back surfer, N.Y.C and its surrounding eastern cities pair the consummate man of business with the hard-working attitude of the inner city.
Keeping it casual in the most professional way possible.
If we were to examine the embodiment of the essential east coast style, we’d see a man with a street-wise look dressed in a classy, button-down shirt. In the office, he probably wears a suit, casually tossing it over his shoulder. Instead of slacks, he wears black Enzo jeans to keep a touch of the blue collar style in his white collar attire.
The Common Ground
From two distinctly different subcultures, we see essentially the same thing manifested in different ways. On both Atlantic and Pacific shores, we can see an attempt to merge the professional with the more relaxed local climate, without sacrificing the true nature of either. On the west coast, this comes across as the dedicated professional assimilating the low-key beach climate. On the east, we see the addition of working class mentality within the realm of office cubicles and corner offices. There’s a fullness of personality that comes out through the current fashion trends across the US.
Fashion is the compilation of clothing trends over the course of time, and it’s clear that what professionals tend toward on either side of the country is more than something strictly business related. They want styles that reflect their entire person, not just the portion sitting behind the desk. As distinctly different as east and west coast fashion is, the root source of both sets of styles is very much the same.