The Difference Between West Coast Style & East Coast Style
The sartorial dichotomy of the opposite coasts is always interesting to decode. While both are quintessentially American, they understandably differ due to culture, geography, and season, all of which ultimately shape clothing preference. The difference between West Coast and East Coast style is clear: California tends toward relaxed silhouettes and beachy, feminine vibes, while those across the US typically exudes a sleeker, more polished bearing.
Some fashion girls have a taste of both coasts, and notice distinct differences between the two. Take influencer Olivia Lopez, who moved from Los Angeles to New York City in October 2019. "LA has a season-less wardrobe that consists of year round resort-wear clothing and lightweight coats and outerwear, where NYC style has more technical design and practicality," she tells TZR. "No matter if it was December or June, I wore open-toe sandals year round and labels like Ciao Lucia and Gil Rodriguez. While in NYC, anything I buy for my wardrobe first and foremost needs to serve a practical function and is considerably stylish too."
Influencer Kellie Brown did the opposite switch, from New York City to Los Angeles, just over a year ago. "Los Angeles is much more laid back, you'll find easy relaxed pieces and endless athleisure," she explains. "New York City has edge, grit, and more eclectic personal style." There are also a few specific pieces that set the two coasts apart. "Distinct Los Angeles pieces are denim, denim shirts, and yoga pants," Brown notes. "New York City outerwear is such a fun statement piece, but in Los Angeles you never need a jacket, so it's hard to pull off here."
Whether you call one of these locales your home or reside somewhere in between, read on to find out which one best represents your personal style, and shop key pieces of each.
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West Coast Vs. East Coast: Jeans
West Coast: Residents live in denim, and a relaxed light wash straight-leg silhouette is a go-to that can be paired with everything from a blazer to a vintage tee. Influencer Stephanie Arrant shows above how to wear a straight-leg jean pairing hers with a pinstriped blazer and cropped tee.
East Coast: Dark washes in both loose-fit and skinny are popular, as are vintage silhouettes. But, the crowd on the East Coast tends to dress up their denim with statement coats and polished boots.
West Coast Vs. East Coast: Tops
West Coast: The West Coast residents prove a graphic tee can be styled with everything from slip skirts to yoga pants. Above, influencer Madelynn Furlong couples her Paco Rabanne tee with a luxe midi skirt from the designer and striking red heeled booties.
East Coast: Fashion girls alike can't get enough of the puff-sleeve trend. You'll find these voluminous tops from designers like Cecilie Bahnsen and Ganni all over Instagram.
West Coast Vs. East Coast: Dresses
West Coast: These fashion-forward residents like to embrace the sunshine by sporting a flowy floral dress with a denim jacket and sneakers, as exhibited by Kellie Brown above.
East Coast: Alternatively, the East Coast pack tend to lean toward more refined pieces like slip dresses styled with luxe blazers and square-toe heels.
West Coast Vs. East Coast: Jackets
West Coast: With the weather being warm all year round, the West Coast crowd typically doesn't wear anything heavier than a light denim jacket or blazer.
East Coast: The temperature plays a big role in the outwear pieces worn on the East Coast. As Brown notes, New York City's weather allows for ample opportunity to have fun with outwear. Fashion girls wear everything from fur trimmed coats, shown above on influencer Maria Alia, to sleek long dusters.
West Coast Vs. East Coast: Shoes
West Coast: These laidback locales opt for sporty sneakers assembled with athletic separates. Or if they're dressing up, they'll wear strappy sandals with mini dresses.
East Coast: The fashion crowd loves a good boot moment, particularly a high-knee with their trousers tucked in, as displayed by TZR's Lauren Caruso. And come spring, knee-high boots are paired with leather Bermuda shorts and midi dresses.
West Coast Vs. East Coast: Skirts
West Coast: Perpetual warm weather calls for an adorable mini. Choose a playful print to wear with casual white sneakers and a bold tee.
East Coast: An elevated silk skirt pairs well with a white button-down and pumps for work and happy hour with the girls, shown above on influencer Janelle Marie Lloyd.
West Coast Vs. East Coast: Bag
West Coast: A hands-free bag allows West Coast folks to stroll the farmers market or walk the beach without a heavy tote to hold.
East Coast: In the city, big totes that fit all the essentials are typically the go-to as residents are constantly on foot. Choose one with texture, rendered in a neutral hue.
West Coast Vs. East Coast: Jewelry
West Coast: You'll find stylish girls wearing chunky earrings (usually a few on each ear) paired with equally thick rings.
East Coast: The East Coast scene tends to stick to dainty pieces, like simple initial necklaces and thin hoop earrings.
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