California. One of the most iconic places in the world, the home of Hollywood and surf culture, incredible coasts and Beverly Hills. More often than not, when we think of California, we think of the beaches, the sand, the sea; the glorious sunshine filled days driving down the west coast with the surfboard in the back and the Pacific to the left.
Fashion is also taking its inspiration from this vision for a key trend this season. Perfect for summer, Cali style brings to life the freshness and freestyle ethos that we associate with California dreaming.
The boho chicness we love from the days of hippie revolution is a major piece of this trend. With texture playing a part, natural fabrics are best for achieving this look. Distressed linen, light, flowy cotton and slouchy knitwear all work brilliantly. Tailoring, structure and over worked fabric makes way for gentle crochet, wider weaves and cheesecloth style fabrics instead. Crinkles and creases? How low maintenance.
However, it’s not just the sort of fabric that can lend its hand to the trend. Colour plays a big part too. There’s quite a broad spectrum; a mix of earthy tones in blues, greens and ochres, contrasted with bright and bold pinks, yellows and reds. The softer colours add a more relaxed vibe to an item of clothing; cream as opposed to the sharpness of white, a gentle greyish blue instead of a strong royal blue. That’s not to say there aren’t brighter colours involved, but the look is more laid back than stand out and colour can help make that work.
Look too for specific patterns. Florals, of course, are going to be a good option, but aim for a smaller ditsy print than massive in-your-face blooms. Another pattern giving us a nod to the past glory days of the hippie trend is paisley. Often seen as a vintage print, it’s making a comeback. Etro is nailing it with their ready to wear collection, bursting with the most Cali style ruffle dresses and paisley patterns in floaty, chiffon fabrics. On the high street, Free People are synonymous with Cali/ skater girl chic. Their cute kimono style cover ups, floaty sleeves and tassel details are the sorts of things you imagine wearing in Malibu, or while sipping a fresh juice whilst roaming around Santa Monica. Cool logos of California and skate or surf culture hotspots are great on a t-shirt or sweater and prints evoking the sea and beach life are perfect too. Michael Kors may be offering some hot pink knitwear, but it’s surfer print gives a nod to the west coast life, so if you’re looking for something a little higher end but still on trend, then that could be just the thing. However, if you want to keep things plain and simple, a cute cotton or linen cami, especially one with tortoise-shell or wooden buttons, is a fuss free way to rock the trend. Paired with some cool denim and beachy style accessories, it can help you rock the simplistic Cali girl cool without too much trouble. And after all, the California look is about being not so put together.
Denim is big too. Super cute and stylish flares give off a 70s Farrah Fawcett LA streetwear feel. A denim waistcoat or jacket over a floaty floral muted tone maxi dress is an easy look to achieve and is fairly subtle. Cali style is about the feeling of summer days and freedom, so relaxed, faded denim is the way to go here, rather than crisper dark indigo colours and skinny jeans. For Cali denim, look instead for frayed edges, straight cut jeans, patchwork details and embroidery. By all means rock the double denim, but again, make sure it’s not too structured.
If you’re not sure about going for the head to toe Cali look, accessories will probably do you well. A simple pair of Ray-Ban’s work better than over-sized movie star black frames. A backpack looks instantly hippie chic but is practical too. Plus, there’s one must have jewellery accessory that everyone is obsessed over which is perfect for this trend. If you haven’t gotten yourself a shell necklace or some sort of shell jewellery yet, where have you been? Yes, it seems a bit 90s, because let’s face it, that’s when they were last popular, but now they are everywhere and available at every price point.
For shoes, think cool ankle boots and summer style Vans. Looking polished and put together isn’t massively essential for this trend to work, in fact, wearing your beat-up canvas pumps will work great. Channel the free spiritedness with a lack a structure and conformity and you’re pretty much good to go. California is about effortless cool with a hint of quirk. So, go and soak up the ocean vibes (and hopefully some sun) and release your inner surfer chick.