So I've lived in Los Angeles for 13 years now, which is insane to me considering I feel like I haven't been here all that long. Perhaps it's the fact that, unlike my east coast upbringing, there really aren't seasons to tell me that time has passed. In fact, it feels like time has stood still under the Cali sun, and I feel like I've accessed the fountain of youth while I've been in LA (and I'm not talking about Botox). There is a slow and easy vibe here that I have come to fully embrace and I suppose this is one of the many reasons why I plan on staying in southern California for as long as I can. Of course, the style here is also another reason why I love it so damn much.
For some context about how I came to love Cali and it's style, here's a bit of background on me. I grew up in the burbs of Northern VA and my parents sent me to private Catholic school.... as a Buddhist.... trust me, I'm just as confused as you are. I wore a uniform most of my youth (from Kindergarten to senior year of high school). The only style I could really have was via my hair, my jewelry, and maybe my socks. Granted, we had "dress down" days, which meant you could wear whatever you wanted as long as it was under school regulation, but for the most part, I had on plaid. A LOT of plaid. I remember feeling so much excitement when those days came around where I could dress in different clothes, but my parents were not rich and I was in school on scholarship and financial aid...so getting the latest and greatest clothing wasn't really a priority. So, I had to get creative. I was a very shy and awkward girl so I felt like the only times I could show off my personality was on these "dress down" days. Who knew it would eventually lead me to where I am today, styling myself while teaching others how to fully own their self expression with their clothes. I really do feel so lucky.
I lived in New York for a summer when I thought I was going to move there to be a Broadway costume designer. I remember being so young and eager and so self conscious. I found myself dressing up quite often while I was there because the streets were like mini fashion shows. I felt like I had to dress to impress and it was rather a lot of pressure. I felt stressed about my internship, I was overworked and extremely underpaid, and to top of it all off, I felt like I was losing myself... always obsessing over what I was going to wear and how I could possibly fit in. I found myself trying to dim down my attitude because someone questioned why I seemed like such a happy person while I was there and that no one smiles that much. Because, obviously, happy people are not to be trusted! LOL. Needless to say, my career trajectory didn't leave me there because my spirit was calling for a different life, style, AND lifestyle. (For the record, I do love and appreciate NYC and my best friend from college lives there so I don't have any haterade for the city. It just wasn't my personal cup o' tea).
So when I moved to LA back in 2006, I remember walking through the UCLA campus with skateboarders and palm trees everywhere and I finally felt like I had arrived. Despite being in "Hollywood" there wasn't really any pressure to dress a certain way. In fact, I remember thinking I had died and gone to heaven because I could wear sandals year round! People were in jeans and tshirt and that was "office wear." There wasn't a single suit or preppy outfit in sight and I was freeeeeeeee at last of the style shackles I felt like I was stifled by for so long.
LA gave me the freedom to explore all kinds of styles, but I noticed right away that there was a sense of effortlessness with the people who walked by me. It was a time when I truly felt like they "woke up like this" before that was even a thing. I suppose the sunshine and the terrain gave way for more opportunities outdoors and I even found myself at the beach daily. Slinky fabrics and lighter colors kept everyone cool and had this calming affect. You could easily go to the beach, desert, or mountains within 2 hours of each other. This all natural resource led to embracing, more often, of what mama gave you because of these healthy outdoor benefits.
So now, I look at the clothes that I wear and I realize how I've been so influenced by this easygoing vibe. Even as a stylist, it is very rare for me to feel like I need to dress up to show up. And I certainly don't have any desires to walk around in stilettos to get my point across (although I still occasionally have those days too... Soma & Ulte also gives me a great excuse to do so). Don't get me wrong, some of my peers are definitely bringing their A game and dressing up to the nines just cause, but it's definitely where I differ. My personal philosophy is that I don't want to wear anything that doesn't feel good to me. I prefer to try to live a life where I can combine comfort with style, practicality, and a sense of effortlessness that seems so iconic of SoCal vibes.
So when my clients come to me saying that they've never tended to their clothes because they choose comfort over everything else, I always challenge them. And then I tell them, happily, that they can have it all. I've lived through multiple style lifetimes to know that comfort and style IS possible and I found a way to live it every day! In my eyes, it's the Cali way.
So are you curious about how to find your 'effortlessness'? I'd love to hear your clothing journey and, perhaps, help you find your version of Cali style! Tap this link to book a free consultation with me:
Have a great week!!
Soma & Ulte