Living in New York for the past three years has definitely influenced the way I dress.
Scratch that; "influenced" isn't exactly the right word. Rather, New York gave me the permission to break free from the shackles of suburbia try to become the Madonna/Shirley Manson/Gwen Stefani/Cyndi Lauper-incarnate I had dreamed of ever since I started watching music videos on the Internet in 5th grade. Really, when you see people like Andre J. on the street, you realize you really can't go too far in this city.
Now I've moved back home, to Orange County, for the next eight months, and for the past week I've been relentlessly job-hunting. One morning, with several hours of obtaining and submitting applications ahead of me, I shower, blow-dry my hair so it's stick-straight, rim my eyes with black liner, slide on a generous coating of mascara, and gloss my lips pink and wet. I pick out the day's outfit: a black C&C tank; a high-waisted vintage silk pencil skirt that's printed with a black, white, and shocking pink pop-art flower motif; a white silk LaROK cropped jacket that's been sitting unworn, with tags still attached, in my closet since I bought it last summer; and some simple black platform sandals I swipe from my sister's closet. I do a final once-over in my mirror; I look put-together but unique, ladylike but edgy. It's a good outfit.
My mom thinks differently when I come into the living room. "That's what you're wearing?" she asks, raising a blonde eyebrow.
"It's cute, don't get me wrong, but it's not the kind of thing people wear around here. You should put on some jeans."
"And think about using those sunless tan towelettes I bought for you," I hear my mother add as I head back to my room to slip into something a little more... boring.
Clearly, my style doesn't quite fit into Orange County's laid-back vibe. And since I'll be here for awhile, I might as well assimilate a little bit. Besides lopping off the legs of my trouser-cut Hudsons to make shorts and digging up all my (shudder) flip-flops, I'm also going to invest in some effortless dresses, breezy tunics, and charming t-shirts. Like this one:
Hating on LA when you're a California-spawn escapee who's made New York her home: predictable. Making a jab at LA when you're living in Southern California after an extended stay on the East Coast: totally acceptable.
Part British It Girl, part effortless West Coast chic, part 60s mod; totally iconic and relevant.
With a skin-flattering color, generous cut, and sexy racerback, this tank is sure to be a piece I'll live in all summer - and all fall and winter, too. Gotta love this beautiful-year-round California climate!
T Bags Rogued Tube Jumper Shorts,
Works as well with flip-flops on the beach as it does with platform sandals out to dinner.
At once futuristic and 60s mod, with sleek minimalism and shiny perforated leather, these boots... are making me drool all over my MacBook.
Trina Turk "Serano" Top, $194
Three things I will always love: boldly printed silk, clothes that are 60s and 70s-inspired, and showing off a girl's sculpted shoulders. Trina Turk delivers all three with this gorgeous, works-with-everything top.
This could be a sky-high heel-worshiping city girl's answer to the flip flop. Also, less expensive and much more effective than enlisting a cobbler to slice off the heels of my four-inch-tall beauties.