Surf’s up, sun is shining: welcome to the West Coast.
The state of California boasts plenty of stylish men. With a climate that feels summer-all-year round, a Californian’s fashion repertoire is a little more parred-down compared to his East Coast friends in New York. Whether in Los Angeles, San Francisco or deep down south in San Diego, we’re here to dispel the myth that Californian’s only wear flip-flops (thongs), shorts and tanks (singlets).
Since we’re freshly arrived from inspecting the dapper gents in London, let’s take a look at the best looks coming out of hot and sunny California.
In This Story…
How To Dress Like A Californian
Californians are proud of their cities and love the fact they can dress both fun and light. They are also very patriotic to their American heritage, reworking the decades of the past like the Fifties, Seventies and Nineties into their current wardrobe.
What’s most refreshing is their promotion of colour and pattern – the latter is not your typical understated prints, but more large retro illustrations and floral graphics that catch your eye. The free-spirited vibe doesn’t dismiss tailoring either; instead replacing heavy wools and checks for plainer, cream-hued linens for a suit that can be worn all year round.
Casual Denim Look
Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the real celebrities and the faux when walking down the streets of LA. With a real mixing of fashion and rock ‘n’ roll, everybody looks famous.
Men dress like leads from an indie band, decked out in washed denim jackets, shades of black and band-tees with logos that parade their taste in music. Heavy duty boots such as Dr Martens dominate the streets, while Nineties flannel shirts are whipped around the waist, channelling the likes of Kurt Cobain.
Californian Summer Suiting
Because the Cali weather calls for it, summer suiting is the go-to tailoring look; for both the LA-elite and the San Fran hipster. Lighter fabrics like linen and seersucker are common jacket threads, maintaining their suave fit and cut in a double-breasted style for a little bit of Europe, too.
The trendy even opt for a shorts-and-blazer number, with untucked granddad shirting, suede derbies and boutonniere for a bloom of colour. No-socks and dark shades cap-off the californian sartorial-ism.
With the Seventies making a trend resurgence in recent years, the natural retro vibes of the Californian gent has never been so welcome. The second-skin, slim fit of the vintage print shirt is a key look. Rather than shop for used clothing, Californians invest in contemporary labels, which choose to recreate this summery ease of nostalgia.
Pastel hues such as lemon and pink form the base colour, splashed with illustrations of people, sports, and iconic places. Another favourite is the fern print, iconic with the disco decade. But you won’t see it paired with denim flares; more retro aviators and a fedora.
White Tops & Bottoms
California, especially around Hollywood, is never short on familiar faces. And in a bid to standout from the black, leathered rockers, a breed of LA-ers are taking to pure and simple forms of all-white.
For daywear, a plain white tee, tucked into slim-fit white denim acts as a blank canvas for these men, letting their tattoos pop. Nights call for a little bit of accessorising with the white-dominated look, letting the the hi-top trainers feature in ultra-clean brightness.
With weather that permits casual garb to be worn year-round and L.A.’s relaxed approach to living, a lot of men wear tongue-in-cheek outfits, indicative of sports vibes meeting the grime of the street. Puffy jackets meet drop-crutch pants and sneakers walk the streets. This Californian style is a mesh of American subcultures and styles that can feel out-there at times, but genuinely works for the LA natives.
Western Americana rides supreme in California. Expect to see suede (sometimes fringed) across bomber jackets and coats; the muddy browns matched by the wooly felt that make up a full-brimmed hat. Denim is a key look here; crossing onto jeans in a rich, royal hue, as well as western-styled button-up shirts that shine stark white stars taken straight from the national flag.
While the elements aren’t always so theatrical, most Californian men delve into leather boots and belts. Giddy-up.
Click through the slideshow for the best Californian brands for men.
Formed in the Nineties, Lucky Brand specialises in vintage-look jeans; literally putting them through the wringer — ripping, fraying, sanding, patching and washing by hand — to give them true character and soul.
Band of Outsiders
Known for its “modern, rebellious take on American style”, Scott Sternberg has developed his BoO label from shirts and neckties into a fully-fledged collection boasting blazers and refined trousers.
In 2002, True Religion emerged onto the Los Angeles denim scene with its classic five-pocket jean. Now with sweats, tees and tanks, TR embodies the casual cool of California.
Dubbed the James Bond of men’s wear, Mattison designs suits for the leaner gent, becoming famous for jackets with 1-inch collar rolls, small chest pockets, thin collars, and skinny ties.
Led by Jonny Cota, this grungy label boasts load of leather, oversized black sweaters and shirts and flannel for a line that inspired by music and Nineties subcultures.
Fear of God
Another super-luxury streetwear label based in LA. Come here for casual layering items and structured outerwear made from quality fabrics with exceptional detail.
Simon Miller was founded on the principles of Japanese fabrication, classic American construction, and modern fit. Come here for clean and sophisticated denim and classic knitwear.
Killspencer locally crafts sustainable and waterproof leathergoods, such as backpacks, carryalls and duffles. It’s your accessories go-to for Californian style.