This coastal rivalry can be traced back to the 19th century, when groups of settlers began breaking away from the hard-headed establishments of the East Coast, bringing with them a sense of rugged individualism, longboards and grandé iced caramel macchiatos.
There is a unique separation between the East and West coasts. Every trend stems from various influences exclusive to the area. The East Coast has the tailored lines and fits of the business-oriented, while West Coast reflects a fun and fresh lifestyle. Though the eternal debate over these contrasting styles may never be settled, there’s much to learn from both parties.
East Coast Explained:
Anyone who has ever spent time in the Northeast region can attest to the direct attitude in cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. If something isn’t functional, it’s essentially useless. Honest and straightforward, residents of the East Coast take on a style that directly parallels their mindset, making use of items that can be mixed and matched in order to go from day to night.
East Coast fashion is polished, with structured shapes and lots of texture — style that can keep up with a jet-set life, like a black peacoat worn over an oversized charcoal cable knit sweater or a classic striped button-down paired with a twill blazer and linen bow tie.
While the East Coast is much more serious and sophisticated than its Pacific counterpart, large statement pieces such as a chunky necklace or classic, bold-faced watch help to break up the dark attire. In addition, varying textures aid in the overall flow of an outfit and create a look that is both classic and tasteful. Wardrobes contain an abundance of blacks, greys and neutral tones, allowing for a variety of androgynous outfits and chic layering.
West Coast Explained:
A collaboration of beach front cool and ski bum casual, the West Coast adopts the loose and free lifestyle found in places like West Hollywood, Berkeley and Boulder. While Katy Perry might suggest sporting Daisy Dukes and a bikini, this area is mainly notable for its sense of flirty playfulness. The West Coast captures the ability to throw on any item and somehow make it look chic, and the fashion forward often showcase their personalities through their clothing.
Because the West Coast is a melting pot of various cultures and lifestyles, its fashion trends reflect the diversity of its residents. Women play up girly aspects with bold and bright colors and free-flowing tops, while men sport solid color V-necks and ’80s crew necks. Southwestern-inspired patterns prevail among the hipster crowd, while tailored attire is a must everywhere.
From suits to jeans to shorts, form-fitting clothing abounds in West Coast fashion. Take a stroll around Santa Monica and you’ll see West Coast fashion epitomized, from beachwear to flower child avant-chic. The ideais to be creative but always remain casual — West Coast fashion is the art of looking your effortless best.
What we can learn from both:
Each coast has its own unique style and particular brand of cool. The East Coast has mastered the art of layering with army green jackets thrown over black hoodies thrown over T-shirts. The beauty of this style lies in the structured silhouettes.
If you’re looking to change up your everyday wardrobe with some East Coast flair, try a monochromatic outfit of charcoal and grey, but incorporate lots of texture and add a single statement piece.
When going West Coast, watch that you never confuse comfy with careless, and bear in mind that less is more. If pairing random items doesn’t seem to work for you, try incorporating contrasting colors somewhere in your outfit.
While this rivalry may never be settled, it’s evident that the two coasts can be complementary competitors — at least in the world of fashion.