Dress Code

Regional fashion is a topic I rather fancy. I like how what we wear can be influenced by where we live, the climate, the terrain, the history, and other cultural and geographical factors.

And I don't buy the idea that everything is becoming homogeneous. Cities still have certain styles, and some neighborhoods within cities rock their own vibe, too. (Yeah, I just said "rock their own vibe," like I'm all hip or something.) (Yeah, I just said "like I'm all hip or something," too.)

New York City and Portland, Oregon, two towns I'm wild about, boast very distinct fashion lives (although Portland may have a bit in common with Brooklyn; both dig knee socks, elaborate mustaches, and suspenders and/or bowlers).

And LA? How people dress in Venice -- a water-close city that leans to board shorts, tanks, and sandy beach feet -- differs from Beverly Hills. I stopped in the B.H. for exactly five minutes today and saw two separate gentlemen in very crisp white linen suits. Total resort wear.

Vintage LA is seen in all parts, though Silver Lake and Los Feliz seem to rule that school. If I don't see a lady sporting Bettie Page bangs, a pencil skirt, and a pert blouse complete with Peter Pan collar while in the area, I get a little blue. Same goes for those handsome guys with the tall pompadours, heavy boots, and bowling shirts. People into vintage bring it and bring it fabulously.

This is all to say that The Wilfair's own Fair Finley is not nearly as twee as she seems (and likely sometimes feels) when she dons her retro styles. Los Angeles is both very casual and very costume-y. Casual because we have a lot of sunshine and an ocean to our immediate west and costume-y because we are home base for the movie industry. Surely other factors play into both, and I don't mean to be pat, and fashion scholars might take me to task, and perhaps rightly so, but let's call the ocean and entertainment two driving forces in our local fashion.

And there are many other local sartorial styles in LA Land, of course. Many. It's a city that has a bit of the whole world to it. Love.

The upshot? A dressy young hotelier sounds fanciful, and even fictional, but Ms. Finley's ruffled frocks and snoods are just on this side of realistic, at least for her location and position.

What's your regional wear? Does the place you call home have various fashions depending on the district or neighborhood? And if I sport knee socks around LA, which I sometimes do, will people think I'm Portland Funky?

I met this dapper mannequin on Robertson Boulevard in Beverly Hills today. Yeah, this look works in Fair Finley's hometown. In fact, is he a touch Thurs Mathers?


bess said...

I'm still figuring out the style of my city, after a year I'm not sure what it is other than the gear for its sports teams. When I lived in Louisiana I always found it kind of mystifying but charming that many of the girls would get dressed up for football games. I'm talking high heels, jewelry, cocktail dresses and "done" hair. Maybe it was the sororities? I never found out. I do know that they must have been pretty nimble to navigate the bleachers in 4 inch heels!

Caitlin #1 said...

Bess: I have a friend from Mississippi who says that women getting dressed up for sports events is just a "thing" in the South. Not necessarily a sorority thing. I went to college (and was in a sorority!) in Oregon -- near Portland, in fact -- and nobody got dressed up like that for football/basketball games there.

Portland is a weird mix of hipster, hippie, and outdoorsy styles. Yes, there are knee socks and suspenders, but there is also a lot of fleece.

My current city is a college town in the Midwest, so. Most of what I see on a daily basis is jeans and sweatshirts.

Amanda W said...

I'm with you on regional fashion still being reality. And also, similarly, a divide in rural/city. When we lived in a college town at the beach, of course the main thing you notice is that swim suits and flip flops pretty much work for any kind of situation. My husband saw some women in a mortgage office wearing professional suit-like clothing...and flops (also, they call them flops -- apparently the extra word is just not chill enough).

And as someone from the Midwest, I am nodding my head Caitlin -- jeans and sweatshirts, check. That's still what I gravitate to when I want to just feel the most me (less so now that I live in an oven, a.k.a. the South)

And it really is true to an extent about Texas -- while not everyone where's cowboy boots, proportionately more people where boots frequently than anywhere else I've been.

Amanda W said...

Ah! Spelling oversight...*wears* need. more. coffee.

Wilfair Book said...

Dressing up for games. Interesting! Huh.

And as for "flops," Amanda? That is new to me. We actually called flip-flops "thongs" in my hometown, but I never hear that word now.

Well, pertaining to the shoe. :)

myrandaroyann said...

It's hard for me to define what the regional dress code is for Oklahoma because I've gone from college wear to teacher wear (and I'm kind of unobservant). ;) I would say the jeans are pretty ubiquitous. I've been in college classes where every single person was wearing jeans. You can dress them up or down. I have a pair or two of dress jeans and around 4 regular pairs.

We call them flip-flops here. I love flip-flops because I'm not a fan of wearing shoes.

do dah said...

i live in the land of northface jackets and extremely ugly (but functional) shoes. folks like to have the activity-appropriate (expensive) outdoor gear for every situation. other than that, the style -- if you can even call it that -- is decidedly casual, in all possible flavors of casual. northface windproof jackets are appropriate club wear, did you know?

also, it turns out dress-up baseball caps are a thing with my ag friends... a thing that makes me explodey mad, actually, because do your dang hair for once. perhaps that's just having spent too much time in texas... sadly, without learning to do Big Hair. but that's just me.

people CAN be convinced to dress up and play along for an event like the burlesque festival (so many sparkles!). which is why i gravitate towards such things. if it actually requires heels, i'll probably do it, just for the change of pace.

Wilfair Book said...

"Dress-up baseball caps" is something I know nothing about but clearly need to get up on!

"explodey mad" makes me laugh. Not at your explodey madness, of course!

Big Hair came to me in the '80s and basically never left. And I've never asked it to leave.

myranda -- I like knowing a bit about your life, even shoewear! Thanks for jumping in.

Kelly said...

Regional fashion still very much a thing in England. Within London in particular different areas tend to have pretty specific fashion scenes.
East London has a very individual, anything goes, miss-matched, hipster glasses kind of vibe. In the city everyone is smartly suited and booted. Soho is very fashiony, but fairly casual and relaxed. North London (especially the suburby bits) tends to be full of very expensively casual people (ie wearing jeans and jumpers and boots, but high-end designer versions). And there are a bunch of other pockets I could mention.

I love the variety, and it means I can get completely dressed up, or just head out in my rattiest jeans and t-shirt depending on my mood, and I know I'll never feel too out of place.

Wilfair Book said...

Kelly, I say it again: London and LA are cousins in vibe and style, or at least somewhat. There are Southern California neighborhoods that are quite parallel to all you've mentioned. Even East London corresponds with the more easterly side of Los Angeles, in hipstery vibes. Interesting.

Funny enough I drove down Melrose Avenue today and saw several Union Jacks flying. A lot of British designers have shops in the area.

I'm a variety fan, too. I like casual but then I don't mind getting a bit outlandish and ruffled-out now and then. Tacky as all get-out, even.

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