East vs West infographic

East vs West - Workwear trends

Workwear Trends - A Comparison of the styles of the East and West Coasts.

It’s an argument that will never get settled. Like old school vs. new school, hamburgers vs. hotdogs, or batman vs. superman. In fact, if we really dig into it, we’ll find more questions than answers. I’m talking about their respective fashions of course, not hip hop. Even in menswear, this is an enduring topic of debate. It’s not entirely a bad thing though as healthy rivalry can bring out the best in all parties involved.

This article itself won't give you a thorough history on each coast, but a basic rundown of current trends and some discussion behind them. This series will highlight more and more fundamental differences between the two fashion senses as time goes on, discussing trends from different perspectives and also drawing similarities between past trends based on things like aesthetics, functionality, and influence.

East Coast Style 

Known for its more polished, sophisticated, and structured style, fashion on the East Coast is noticeably more formal than its West Coast counterpart. Maybe the weather has something to do with it or perhaps the water but one thing is for certain, East Coast menswear leans more towards formality and clean, slick aesthetics than convenience, comfort, or function.

West Coast Style

It’s far more casual and relaxed, plus the style leaves a lot of room for experimentation, which is my favorite aspect about it. The word bohemian comes to mind when describing West Coast menswear. It’s function over style and it blurs the line between creativity and carelessness which makes it the more daring and difficult to master between the two style approaches. Less rigid fits, brighter colors, bolder patterns,

To better illustrate some of the differences between the two, here is a picture from The Thrifty Prep article entitled ‘East vs. West’.

East vs West infographic

Photo Courtesy of: www.thriftyprep.com

As guest poster Hendrik Pohl mentioned in his article, the above image represents possible work attire in offices in Boston and San Francisco. They look very different though the price for each combination is around the same. The difference lies in the spending priorities. While the east coast guys generally have to shell out more for suits, shoes, ties, and outerwear,  Pohl also claims that people on the west coast are more likely to spring for wearable technology due to the presence of silicon valley.

Discussion of their differences

Due to the weather, living on the west coast can allow for more lax dress code in the warmer spots. And even in SF or silicon valley, the influence of the fashion and technology industries (AKA more fashion forward working community in San Francisco, and nerds who prioritize comfort in San Jose) give rise to more variation for what you'll see on the streets in any professional neighborhood. So even if it might be as cold or rainy in the bay as some parts of the Eastern US, the outfits on the East coast will still be more structured (think overcoats, trenches, full suits, and darker colors), while they are more likely to wear bold or bright colors and alternative articles of outerwear on the west.

Both different approaches make sense. I guess it all boils down to preference. Which one strikes your fancy? Traditional over contemporary? Look over comfort? Sophistication over functionality? East Coast over West Coast? It’s never an easy choice but it’s not as perilous as people make it to be.

I guess it’s true what they say, war is never an answer. And in this never-ending fashion rivalry, I don't think it helps to choose sides. Personally, I prefer to diversify my portfolio, as nobody has access to all the best options on their side of the states, and take my favorite aspects from each side. Formality of the east coast with the functionality of the west, some strong lines with bright colors and patterns, and other blends of qualities that they possess.

You can’t fault me for being a fence sitter, right?

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