Californians are so much more casual than those who live back East. And for me, it’s hard to shrug off early-upbringing-what-must-I -wear attitude.
Last week, my son and daughter-in-law moved (alas!) from San Jose to a Buffalo suburb because of his job. She grew up there, and told me people dress up so much more wherever they go than we do here. No jeans at church services – ad in never. Ditto for fleece jackets. Trips to grocery stores and pharmacies require skirts and make-up for women, and no shorts for men. Restaurant-goers don a dress shirt for males, and if it’s a fairly expensive eatery, then a tie and jacket.
Yes, a tie! We see few of those in our area these days.
The clothing style in our area has become so casual; many newcomers raise their eyebrows and ask, “Do you have any dress code here?”
Casual sloppy, I respond.
My best example of very sloppy dressing is what an acquaintance, M., wore to a funeral held at Vi on Sand Hill Road. About 150 friends of this CEO attended, the men all dressed in dark suits, shirts and ties, and the women in little black dresses. The funeral candles were lit, somber music was playing. Then M¬¬¬¬¬. arrived in her typical apparel – dressed in “distressed” jeans -- torn worn-looking jeans with threads of fabric across her knee caps, a white tee shirt with “Hawaii” emblazoned across her chest, and torn sneakers. She smiled and sat next to me, leaned over and whispered, “Why are you all so dressed up?” “It’s John’s funeral,” I responded.
I have another friend in Palo Alto who has an “I-wear-what-I want to” attitude, but in her case, she loves to wear fancy clothes. She tells me she doesn’t care what others are wearing –she just likes to overdress. She’s from the East Coast.
Even in my family, there are amazing different attitudes toward dressing. One brother-in-law is dressed in sloppy clothes all day long – mostly sweats. He refuses to put on a dress shirt to go out for dinner, and absolutely refuses to wear a jacket. “We go out for lunch when we eat out,” his wife told me.
Two of my sons who travel for business around the country always wear a shirt and tie. One said when he wears a tie, it really helps him at an airport, especially when a flight is delayed, as often happens.
Typically, n airline agent looks at him and says, “Yes, Mr. Diamond. We will get you on another flight ASAP, sir.” My son told me he noticed that the agent told the man next in line, dressed in a tee shirt and shorts, “No flights until tomorrow morning.” They were both flying to the same place.
It's not fair, I agree. But it is what it is. My mother was right. People do judge you by what you wear.
The latest national style poll indicates that 36 percent of. East Coasters say their style is the best, while 31 percent of West Coasters claim they’re the best dressers in the nation.
So, I went to the Web to see what others are saying:
• “West Coast gals have is the ability to make just about anything feel casual.”
• “Compared to other states, people out here in California don’t dress up when running errands or going to the grocery store. It’s their way of life.”
• A woman transplanted here from the East Coast: “I've never seen someone wear a pencil skirt or any kind of blazer here unless they were a lawyer or going to court, and even then, a lot of lawyers I know wear jeans to court!”
We all put on clothes each and every day. So where does this immaterial column about material (clothes) leave us? Where do you males living here stand on wearing a tie for a meeting or party. Is it too demanding – or a nice way to be dressed up? Are jeans now “the” clothing staple? Is sloppy more your way than chic, ladies? Why?
As for me, my East Coast dress heritage prevails.