Kim France and Andrea Linett describe the iconic “California casual” style in their The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style (Conde Nast Publications, 2008) as being a “combination of … dreamy sexuality and surfer-girl vitality.”
Although the woman exhibiting this style could move from a cocktail party to a beach bonfire without changing her clothes, the key to avoiding a thoughtlessly sloppy casual look is in glamorous details like a silk dress and delicate gold jewelry.
Essential Women’s Clothes
A casual clothing style may have elements that are a bit earthy bohemian and a bit mix-and-match eclectic. Look for items made from cotton, silk, wool, and other natural fibers. The key to moving from day-to-night can be as simple as finding the same style item in a different fabric.
Cotton drawstring pants are appropriate for daytime but when they are made from silk the pant becomes appropriate (yet still casual) for evening. The same goes for a long tank top. Solid colors look more grown up and sophisticated than prints.
If a woman is concerned about this fashion style becoming too sloppy looking, consider looking for tailored versions of casual clothes – wear a structured jacket instead of a hooded sweatshirt over jeans and a tee shirt. Also, avoid oversized clothing to keep the look body conscious.
Essential Fashion Accessories
Look for simple silver and gold jewelry; this look doesn’t handle chunky, dramatic fashion accessories. A woman can layer lightweight pieces adding more interest without looking excessive. For the woman who is up to the challenge, try making jewelry. Bead long necklaces and learn to weave or macramé cotton thread “friendship” or wish bracelets.
Jewelry that incorporates natural materials – seashells, wood bangles, leather necklaces and bracelets keeps with this sexy, natural look.
Pulling Together a Clothing Style
Remember that this is still a chic and sexy look; avoid equating “casual” with gym attire. Look in the sleepwear department for casual, comfortable pieces that have dressy cut outs, bits of lace, and body conscious styling.
This isn’t a look that requires a dramatic key piece – either in women’s clothes or fashion accessories. Think comfortable, if you’d be willing to sit on the floor in an outfit (and you can move in that outfit) then you’re on track.
California casual is a look that the book The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style calls an iconic look. This not fussy but sexy look is all about comfort.