California living has its own set of rules: eat organic, practice yoga, leave work at 6pm and commute for 1.5 hours, etc., etc. We also have our own set of fashion rules, and at the top of that list is: be casual with a capital C. (At a distant second is don't wear black, but that's for another blog post).
When pajamas are acceptable grocery store attire and gym clothes are worn all day long, what's a fashion girl supposed to do? Okay, so I'm being a tad overdramatic. But as someone who takes pride in her appearance and enjoys dressing up, sloppy jeans and havaianas just don't cut it. But then neither do motorcycle boots and hipster headgear (did I mention I live in California?).
I had a bit of a tough time with the Manhattan to Bay Area transition last year, but I think I've finally gotten back into my Cali fashion gear. What I've learned: keep it casual, comfortable, drivable, and day-to-night transitionable! Each season I develop a bit of a uniform (which makes it easier to get dressed in the morning), and I wanted to share my Cali summer essentials with you.
1. Cotton, cotton, cotton! It's been really hot, my skin needs to breathe. I have a love/hate relationship with denim. Currently, we're on a break and I'm having a crazy fling with cotton pants. Baggy, tight, cropped, cuffed, wide, candy-colored, I love them all. Cotton tops, I'm crushing on you too.
2. Pointy flats, kitten heels, and stilettos. Yes, the point is another trend I've reconciled with. I know summer is a time of flimsy sandals, but my fear of the open-toe is a remnant of the NYC-living days. Black soles + grimy toenails in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter really cure one of that pesky sandal habit (plus, nail polish is not my friend). I'm liking pointy shoes because they smarten up any outfit, even the casual kind, and they make me feel French-- never a bad thing, mon ami. As for kitten heels, they're kind of love 'em or leave 'em; but I think they're ideal when wearing 5 inch platform pumps feels, well, just a bit trampy. While I have a closet full of aforementioned 5 inch platform heels I will adore for life, I'm giving them a rest in favor of the more modest, more walkable, more drivable, more day-to-night transitionable 3 inch non-platform heels.
3. A long tight sleeve. This seems counterintuitive maybe, but I didn't say my fashion rules had to make sense to you, did I?! (ok, just kidding) a.) I drive a lot; my bare arms burn in the car. I want coverage. I like coverage. b.) I wear roomy tops so a tight sleeve streamlines the look so I don't look like a barrel. c.) I have skinny arms and the long, fitted sleeve accentuates that. d.) It feels vintage-y to me (and French!).
4. The mid-sized bag. Shoulder straps, a plus. Cross bodies were my best friend while navigating the streets of Manhattan on a typical weekend and totes were my constant companion during the week, but neither are quite necessary in the car-heavy San Francisco area. I don't need to live out of my handbag and I don't need to sling it around all day long either. Enter the mid-sized bag. Roomy enough for the essentials; need not store a water bottle, magazine, umbrella, or change of shoes. It can be heavy, it can have hardware, it can have a massive chain link strap (thank you, Marc Jacobs) because most of the time, it's resting on the seat next to me.
5. Arm candy. Layers upon layers of shiny gold and silver baubles and bangles and watches and friendship and charm bracelets. Why? Why not. And necklaces make me hot.
6. Plastic aviators. My wayfarers are on vacation. I rotate between four pairs of (cheap and not so cheap) plastic sunnies in various colors and sizes. An added bonus: aviators look good on all face shapes.
So there you have it: how I try to bring a semblance of style into my oh-so-casual summer wardrobe without sacrificing any of the comfort I've come to require. Any summer essentials you can't live without? I'd love to hear about them! xo