East coast vs. West coast fashion sensibilities

[edit] My cell-phone snapshot of Faces was the featured picture on Universal Hub yesterday. Hurrah! [/edit]

Oh boy, this WSJ article on the East/West fashion dichotomy is going to hit home for a lot of people. I’m headed west to Long Beach and San Francisco in about two weeks and am already anxious of the critical glances I may get.

I’d never thought much of the fashion differences between the two regions until a friend’s wedding in Oregon last September. A large portion of the guests were a smattering of West coasters. Spagetti strap dresses, light khakis and bright shirts, flip-flop/sandal shoes and no pantyhose. For a wedding! I was shocked!

On the other extreme, I was in my black-tie formalwear, white satin coat with a full-length multi-layer black skirt, definitely in hose, with black formal shoes.

When my friends saw me, there came a unanimous giggle and response: “That is SOOOO East Coast.”

When the wedding photos came back, I realized how weird I looked in contrast to all the other guests. They were lithe and tan in bright, flowing sun-dresses. Me? Pasty, overdone, stodgy. Nobody wants to be stodgy, especially when they’re 22 and at a friend’s wedding.

Lesson learned: No formalwear for my next West coast event.

I’m preparing myself for the comments that may come in a few weeks, even though I’ll be casually dressed. Most of my wardrobe is dark — dark jeans, dark shirts, and certainly dark shoes. I don’t own flip-flops or sun-dresses. Certainly nothing I own is in bright colors, there are no garish yellows or oranges in my wardrobe.

The sun and I are not on good terms. Don’t let my Greekiness fool you. For those of you that have never met me, I am pure-white pasty. My family is of the Macedonian Greek type, which means mountains and major sun-aversity. We are all very pale and bear little resemblance to our famously olive-skinned Spartan cousins in the south. So when spring and summer arrive, I slather on the SPF 60 and run under the nearest umbrella.

So, perhaps in San Francisco I might just look a little dour, perhaps people will wonder what’s harshed my mellow and then move on. But in Long Beach/LA, I dread being a Boston albino in a sea of sun-kissed SoCalers. I pray no one will have the gall to squeal the refrain I hate so much: “That is SOOOO East Coast!”

Categories : et cetera, Travel