Clothes Lines: Putting style on the map
October 11, 2012
There's no place like home. It's hard to deny that our personal fashion philosophies tend to reflect where we're from, but that's not to stay you can't take inspiration from other style capitals. Here are three regional menswear methodologies and how to get each look.
The traditional East Coast style is classic Ivy League refinement. Most New Englanders rarely take style risks, wearing variations of the same outfit each day. Layering is essential to keeping warm and looking put-together. Blazers, particularly in navy, instantly upgrade an outfit by evoking images of private school uniforms. They also serve as an outlet for expression when worn in tweed, a slight variation from the norm. The typical outfit includes a combination of V-neck sweaters or hoodies worn over button-down shirts (either solid T-shirts or polos on more casual days) with khakis or jeans. Boat shoes, like Sperrys, are popular. If sneakers are the choice, they're less athletic and more polished. Accessories are kept to a minimum — a single leather-banded watch is nice. Clothes have a simple sophistication to them, without any embellishment or fussy accents. Logos are virtually nonexistent, save for the Ralph Lauren pony. Color appears on occasion, mainly for tops. Pastel shorts, paired with a neutral upper half, also make a subtle splash. East Coast collegiates consistently look classy and clean-cut (facial hair is virtually nonexistent) and are less likely to experiment with hipster or flamboyant styles.
European guys are less afraid to be in touch with their feminine sides. Consequently, bright color and pattern (even florals) appear much more frequently. Men also carry messenger bags. Scarves are ubiquitous, particularly indoors. Parisian style is achieved through extreme attention to detail. Men may have facial hair, but it is carefully groomed. They also pay attention to their hair, styling it with product. Everything is perfectly tailored (think slim-fit pants) and cuffed. A variety of textures and colors combine artfully in an unexpected, but uncontrived, way. According to Weinberg freshman Connor Steelberg of Paris, shoes (the first thing Parisians notice) should always make a statement.
The SoCal lifestyle heavily influences fashion in the Golden State. With an attitude described by Medill freshman Kevin Luong as “I don’t care,” clothes (usually whatever is clean) are extremely casual, regardless of the situation. With weather at or above 60 degrees year-round, Californians enjoy a nearly endless summer wardrobe. Regardless of whether or not someone actually surfs, swim trunks are omnipresent. Shorts, graphic T-shirts and flip-flops are the go-to outfit. Sunglasses, usually Ray Bans, are big. Cali boys are less afraid to take risks in fashion than East Coast fraternity brothers. They dabble in more contemporary pieces like skinny jeans, but to a lesser extent than their European counterparts.
While these regions each have a distinct approach to dressing, individual style evolves over time as you incorporate different elements into your closet. Experiment all you want — just don't end up in a swimsuit and a scarf in a snowstorm.