A friend of mine was visiting this past weekend and the topic came up of “What is California Casual?”.
For those of us who are native or have lived along the west coast for some time you know that California has always been a place where the corporate environment doesn’t go beyond business casual as the norm. While some can say we wear creations to represent the pinnacle of self-expression and capture attention, it’s more likely that we are simply just a bit more relaxed along our lazy coastal lines than most people. In either case, often times in places outside of California you may hear the term, it usually implies business casual, but for us natives, it can be a bit different.
Luckily, it’s one of the few dress options that translates equally to both men and women – Jeans, a shirt with buttons (polo, dressy or pullover) and sports coat/blazer. Footwear is subject to the environment; if at a convention or office meeting shoes are a good choice, but if your activities, even your business ones are in a relaxed environment like a restaurant, lounge or outdoor area, sandals (ECCO not Teva’s) can work. That’s it. No shorts and flip flops, those are only on Fridays and at the beach.
The style gained its popularity mostly from local bay area startups turned successes specializing in technology related fields, whose founders and members refused to conform to the standard suit, tie and nine to five mentality. That said, good taste is still an integral part of the look and you may not get away with a t-shirt under your sport coat, unless of course you happen to be Sergey Brin.