Style and fashion is just different in Seattle, there is no other way to say it. We’re not known for our fashion like New York and Paris. And while we’re part of the West Coast, we don’t apply to the same rules as the ladies in LA. I personally think the biggest difference for Seattle is the need for utility in our wardrobes. The link that a lot of people miss is the ability to blend a love for fashion and the need for utility to build a cohesive and stylish wardrobe. As I’ve come into my own style, I feel like I have been able to build the perfect Seattle Wardrobe.
Utility in Fashion
When it comes to fashion here in Seattle there are two main style groups that I think a lot of women fit into. The Fashionistas whose motto is “as long as I look good, I don’t care how uncomfortable I am.” Then we have the Utility Only group, with a motto of “I don’t care what it looks like as long
as it’s warm and dry.” and I truly believe the former becomes the latter after years of being damp and uncomfortable you eventually give into full utility, buy a North Face Jacket and try convince yourself that it’s cute.
Don’t get me wrong I completely agree that utility in fashion is as absolute necessary, however; just because you have to dress for certain weather or activity doesn’t mean you have to look “comfortable.” There can be a happy medium here and it doesn’t have to be that hard. I think a lot of people associate fashion with being uncomfortable or sacrificing function for form. Over the years I have come to realize this doesn’t have to be the case. Yes, you need to dress for utility here in Seattle, there is no way around it. But, I can be beautiful too.
Casual is Always in Style
Besides the necessary utility, another thing to understand about Seattle style is that we are a casual crowd. I mean very casual. Jeans are appropriate for every occasion, we have nice jeans and weekend jeans but jeans everyday is completely acceptable and even expected. I tend to dress up a tiny bit more than most, my friends always comment on how “dressed up” I am when we get together. And again in contrast to West Coast LA where I feel like their casual style still requires effort. Like, I think the casual bohemian vibe is cute and thoughtful, it’s very casual but there is effort put into a look. However, in Seattle, most casual outfits consist of jeans and a t-shirt simply because no one is going to put more effort into constructing an outfit.
I will note, casual here is not to be confused with sloppy. Most of my friends aren’t into fashion and don’t follow the latest fashion trends but they still look cute and presentable in their casual wear. But for me personally I just think there is a way to put in a tiny bit of effort and elevate your look 100%. Like I said, my friends always comment on how dressed up I look when in all reality I’m wearing jeans, a t-shirt with a thoughtfully paired jacket. Nothing crazy but still just slightly elevated.
I guess technically there is an entire fashion category of “Seattle Grunge” that could be classified as sloppy, which has been revived in the current 90’s resurgence but that’s a whole different story….
The Long Grey Days
The last thing I want to note about Seattle fashion is that Seattle really is gloomy and grey most of the year. While I will argue that we have some of the most beautiful sunny summer days, summer is very short lived and we spend most of the year battling rainy, overcast skies. It really is grey outside for 9 months at a time which can be very depressing. Seasonal Depression is real. I enjoy the creative aspect of styling outfits and it’s one thing that helps me beat the winter blues. There are simple ways to inject fun and cheerful style into your wardrobe and having grown up here, I’ve learned all the tricks.
All of this just to say style here in Seattle really is different than anywhere else in the world. I think growing up here has shaped my wardrobe in the most unique way. I have learned how to be stylish and prepared for anything all from the same closet. Pairing creativity and utility to create the perfect wardrobe has taken years and I’m here to share with you exactly how I did it.