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East vs. West

I just saw a bum around the corner from Weekly headquarters dressed exactly like me—what does that mean?

There are only one or two things keeping me here in Southern California: weather and a financial inability to live decently on the LES. And maybe friends and family or something—that's the right answer, right? But California reeks of an enduringly lax attitude when it comes to a lot of things. And sometimes, sometimes, I hate it.

People are always talking about East Coast vs. West Coast, and how on the East Coast, people are all about class consciousness (woo-hoo, Old Money!); or how on the East Coast, there are seasons; or how on the West Coast, we're all a bunch of loopy, crunchy, granola-eating, Prius-driving neo-hippies in sweatshop-free T-shirts. A friend even claims that we here on the West Coast walk slower than those on the East.

Annie Hall explored the West Coast/East Coast dynamic pretty well. (Woody Allen: "I don't want to live in a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light.") And while I'm not too sure about some of those things mentioned above—I hear Connecticuters eat babies for breakfast—one intensely noticeable difference is that Californians don't really dress up the same for anything. The theater, movies, dinner at restaurants with four dollar signs listed in reviews, even social gatherings.

It's an entirely different mentality. Just walk down any Manhattan street, and you'll notice it. Or, on that note, walk down any street in any major city in the world, and you'll see a difference in the way Southern Californians dress compared to everyone else.

Men in sharp, tailored suits stalk every corner in Manhattan, London, Tokyo and Paris. Women don't put away the skirts and dresses when the cold weather arrives—they simply add stockings, tights, scarves, contoured overcoats, heels and/or boots.

And flip-flops?

Nope.

(Sure, Hawaii takes the prize for the ultimate in Tommy Bahama formalwear, but you can also go snorkeling there in December. I don't blame them.)

So it was really refreshing when I spied this girl in the pool room at Detroit Bar in a black, double-breasted trench coat. Yeah, it was only 65 degrees outside, but that's cold enough for me. The coat flared at the hip, creating the silhouette of a coatdress. While she could have easily paired the trench with black tights (with flats or boots to dress it up), she wore hers with a pair of dark denim skinny jeans and pointy-toed flats.

Under the coat was a loose, awesomely shapeless knit vest tied at the waist and worn over a white dress shirt, which let her look cute both outside the club in those frigid Costa Mesa temps and inside another sweaty, sold-out night at Detroit.

 
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