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Need advice/help: Southern California style/wardrobe

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    Need advice/help: Southern California style/wardrobe

    So i find out this week if i'm moving to San Diego which would be a big climate change. I looking for info on what typical styles are and how my wardrobe will need to adjust. I would like to end up close to the coast in the not so hot climate zone. As the climate seems relatively even year round i'm wondering how this affects how people dress. I also understand it's pretty casual down there. Any advice would be appreciated. Specific questions include:

    what do you see alot of people wearing who want to dress better than shorts/tshirt/flipflops?

    is layering uncommon?

    do color schemes tend to ignore the winter months and stay lighter year round?

    will i ever need items like trench coat, sweaters (other than very thin), wool socks, et?

    typical fabric choices?


    Welcome to SoCal!

    To be fair, San Diego (was a longtime resident) while a temperate climate, isn't Florida or hawaii. It is cool in the fall and does get somewhat cold in the winter. Now, obviously this is relative based on where you are coming from, assuming the north east?

    While casual, people do dress up but I think a lot depends on what industry you work in and where you live. The idea that everyone wears boardshorts and flip flops year round is a myth. The beach areas are pretty casual but there are more cosmopolitan areas like downtown and hipster areas such as North and South Park. Dress reflects this. I would assume a lighter version of seasonal dressing with the same colors. Again, this isn't florida or hawaii.

    Jeans and sweaters with a lighter coat should get you through the coldest times. Rain does happen so a lighter rain coat or shell is desirable.

    "Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." – Marcus Aurelius



      Thanks Sigtweed Corduroy

      appreciate the advice, looks like i will need to change things up a little bit to work in lighter fabrics, especially as i tend to be warmer than most people. I wonder if stores in this area sell lighter fabric items year round or if there are specialty shops that i should look for?



        Maybe others can vouch for this observation I've made, but it seems like if you want to find the most stylish people in San Diego, they seem to be concentrated in Fashion Valley mall, specifically in Nordstrom, hahaha...

        Because everything is so casual here, enjoy the fact that you could be completely dressed down and not look out of place while you get a vibe of the sartorial situation in San Diego. Then you can go from there to decide how you want to adjust your wardrobe. You never know, you might just become a t-shirt, board shorts, and flip-flops kind of guy

        With that said, you'll be able to spot people who seem to know how to dress and you'll notice that their clothes fit well, hardly anything ostentatious with exceptions here and there of course. You can pretty much wear whatever you like, just dress appropriate to the weather.



          @runners n jeans

          thanks and i just might end up being that tshirt/flip flop guy! Mainly i'm sitting here looking at piles of wool, fleece, et.. and trying to figure out if i should just leave it behind. Moving stuff sucks, especially if you move a bunch of stuff you end up not wanting/needing.



            And i guess i'll be scouting out a new tailor. Any suggestions?



              If you're coming from a cold place, you'll think the winter here is warm. I went to a football game in December and people were wearing parkas and hoodies and scarves. Behind me were two girls in shorts and a light sweatshirt. They came from Colorado, hahaha.

              It's been "hot" here the past couple of weeks, so if you move really soon you definitely won't be making use of any of that stuff. If you have the room to store the stuff, it might behoove you to just bring it along and determine whether you'll have use for it after around March—that's about when the cold weather gives way to spring weather. Usually the "cold" months go from January to March. November to December isn't that bad usually.

              Francois at La Moda has gotten some mention on StyleForum. So has Romeo Singca or Felice Custom Tailors if you're looking at bespoke suits and stuff like that. If you're just looking for people to alter, you can try your hand at the highly rated places on yelp.

              I go to Sew Elegant in Claremont. Asian-run joint, communication can be a little challenging. Know what you want, otherwise they will tell you that you shouldn't be showing any sleeves under your suit jacket. Relatively inexpensive: $6 hems, $9.50 original hems, $9.50 for taking in the waist. I paid $12 to have a dress shirt's sleeves slimmed, waist taken in, and back darted. $70 on a suit jacket to slim the sleeves, shorten the sleeves, and take in the back center seam. $25 on a sport coat to take in the sides. They have a price sheet so it's not like they're just making up prices out of thin air but there is room for "$15.00 and up"



                Much of my below responses echo what has already been said.

                what do you see alot of people wearing who want to dress better than shorts/tshirt/flipflops? Depends on where you are in the city/county of San Diego. Downtown you see guys in "going out" shirts and jeans (but that is true of almost everywhere you go nowadays). North/South Park you get a lot of hipster wear, skinny jeans and vintage t's, mixed with a lot of check shirts. Move out to the suburbs and its a healthy melting pot of everything. I think if you stick to what Dappered is founded on (a classic, refined look) you will be good to go.

                is layering uncommon? You mention "i tend to be warmer than most people", so do I. Based on that I would say you can 3 layer (shirt, sweater, blazer/coat) but not until the harsh San Diego winter (48 degrees at night) and even then its more of a style thing then necessity. During the spring, summer and fall my layering consists of a button up and a cotton or light wool or linen blazer. Another option (seldomly used) is a light merino sweater over a button up. During the winter months I might, might (emphasis on might) wear a button up, sweater and blazer.

                do color schemes tend to ignore the winter months and stay lighter year round? Funny, I had a co-worker from back east say that SoCal is the only place you can get away with white pants year round. I choose to wear my clothes year round (except the few heavy wool sweaters I have). However, I have chosen a color palette for my closet that works out that way. I dont think SoCal men put much stock in season color palettes. We have a weather phenomenon here called Santa Ana winds (strong and dry winds) during the fall and I choose to use my khaki colored linen/cotton pants during those days.

                will i ever need items like trench coat, sweaters (other than very thin), wool socks, et? I would bring some sweaters and wool socks. We have a few mountains that are anywhere from 1-3 hours drive, it snows up there and its a nice winter getaway. I have to admit I havent seen a whole lot of trench coats around town (unfortunate because I like they way they look).

                typical fabric choices? Cotton, light wool, linen/cotton blends (not as tropical looking and doesnt get as wrinkled as pure linen.

                Regarding your question about a tailor. I've had great results from the tailors at Nordstrom and the Nordstrom Rack.



                  With regards to tailors...what area of town are you in?

                  Personally I had bad experiences with both Felice and Singca for alterations. I used to live in La Jolla and had good experiences with Kiki's. (while you're there, stop for a sandwich at La Jolla Country Market). Outside of that, I'd just check out yelp.

                  "Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." – Marcus Aurelius



                    jwest, Southern California is almost entirely devoid of style. You will easily be the best dressed person at every occasion with minimal effort.



                      Yay, a thread I can actually contribute too. I moved to the LA area last fall (from San Francisco).

                      To answer your question, you really do see a lot of shorts and t-shirts. I'm sure I see more than usual being a student, but I think you'll fit in with those items. Flip-flops are pretty common too, but you should still keep them to only warm days and casual places.

                      As for the better dressed of SoCal, you tend to see chinos a lot, and I noticed cords becoming popular in the cooler months. Polos are a good warm-weather dressup option, and button-up shirts are accepted. Sweaters and cardigans are good choices, but I think blazers and sportscoats are considered purely professional attire here. But generally, simplicity is king down here.

                      Layering is quite common and highly recommended. I haven't spend a summer down there, but at least in NorCal, the evenings tend to be much cooler than the days. So I'd recommend having a zip-up hoodie or sweater handy if you're going to be out, even during summer nights.

                      Seasonal palettes are not used down here. You're free to wear light colors all year.

                      Please don't bring a trench-coat. I think the only time people down here have seen a trenchcoat is in the Matrix. I promise you won't need it. Just get an umbrella or waterproof jacket.

                      Sweaters (medium weight) and wool socks are fine, especially during the winter.

                      And some random things I'd recommend:

                      - Have some warmer clothes. Like CJJ said, you'll still be very close to mountains and snow if you want it.

                      - Get a good pair of leather flip-flops, they're great summer casual footwear.

                      - Have a nice pair of sunglasses.

                      - Be ready for bad traffic.

                      - Enjoy the women's sundresses, they're the best thing in the world.



                        Thanks to all of you for great helpful comments. I think i'll lose a few of my coats and sweaters and wing it. I imagine i will need to get more lighter fabrics both weight and color, especially for blazers and suits. I'm not sure what exact part of town i'll end up in so that will play a factor as i'm told the climate varies quite a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood as you get further from the water.

                        Can't wait for those women in sundresses!



                          I'm a born and bred San Diegan and I'll tell you one thing: it doesn't really matter what you wear, as long as you look good and are dressed appropriately for whatever you're doing. San Diego isn't just a city, its a big, spread-out county full of vastly different communities, weather, temperatures, lifestyles, etc. There's no such thing as a San Diego "style", so it's completely up to you how you want to dress. So I'm just gonna try to give you the basic info you need that applies to ALL of San Diego county so that you can make your own style choices.

                          Here are the things I think you DON'T need:

                          -trench (unless you wear suits every day, and even then you'll only wear it maybe 2-3 weeks out of the year)

                          -winter clothing such as winter/rain boots or a parka or even a scarf (unless you're planning on going to the local mountains in winter)

                          Things you DO need:


                          -plain t-shirts


                          -canvas shoes

                          I guess the most basic form of dress in San Diego is exactly that; basic. The simplest, most common dress for younger good looking guys is a pair of jeans with a t-shirt or v-neck or button-up or a sweater, depending on the temperature outside. Jeans are basically your year-round pants. Mix it up with chinos whenever you want and cords in the late fall/winter. Shorts are fine in the summer (or really whenever) if you want, but it's not something you have to wear. I rarely wear shorts away from the beach. Layering is good when it gets cooler out, but its most commonly only 2 layers. T-shirt or button up, and then a sweater, cardigan, or casual jacket. Anything more than 3 layers is just unnecessary and will look out of place. Blazers aren't as common in a lot of areas, but you can totally wear them out at night if you're a blazer guy. Just don't be surprised if you're the only person wearing one.

                          Thats really all you need. After that, just mix it up and wear what you feel like wearing. The great weather really does set the tone for what you wear. Most of the year it stays between 50-80 degrees, little to no humidity, not much rain, not too hot, not too cold. But then there are still the extremes. The 90-100 degree heatwaves in summer, the barely-below-freezing night temps in winter, but those don't happen at the coast and don't last long.

                          I don't know what line of work you're in, so you can figure out what to wear to work on your own. It shouldn't be too hard.

                          And just because you see people dressing a certain way, doesn't mean you have to dress like them to fit in with them. That's the best thing about a laid-back place like San Diego. You can do what you want and be who you want to be and look how you want to look and not have to conform to any "established style" to be liked or respected.



                            Learning lots of good things on this thread myself, even though I live up in the SF Bay Area! I've been living here for over 10 years but am just now paying more attention to how I dress so it's good to get some basic insight on how to dress and layer in a warmer climate (although we definitely get more rain than San Diego). I've always been kinda bummed that it never gets cold enough to wear scarves (I only have two and hardly ever wear them) nor have a sharp-looking peacoat or similar. Even though I'm still committed to getting my first navy sport coat this fall, people around here rarely wear them, either.



                              I live a few blocks from the beach in Santa Monica up here in LA and feel the styles are pretty similar. First thing to get is a pair of Rainbow flip flops! hah! (but seriously, get a pair, you'll love them)

                              Most of the time it's a perfect temperature to wear slacks or shorts. I wear tailored shorts and madras button ups with the sleeves rolled up all the time. A pair of suede loafers or jack purcells without socks for shoes. In the winter I'll usually wear jeans or chinos and a light jacket. Every so often I'll break out my winter pea coat, but it took me a number of years living out here before my blood thinned out and I could justify wearing a winter jacket in 60* weather. Of course, for work I have to wear a suit everyday, but when I'm outside of work I dress much more casual.

                              Great part about SoCal are the colors. I wear a lot of lighter colors/patterns that I would have never worn back in the midwest. Have fun with trying new stuff out!

                              If you don't do it already, you'll need to layer. While it can be warm when the sun's out during the day, temps drop at night. Makes a cardigan or blazer an invaluable piece in your wardrobe.