Ever stared at someone, trying to pinpoint what it is that makes them so chic? When it’s not as obvious as a designer slip-on, it can be hard to decipher exactly what was mixed and matched to create the covetable finish. Enter our new series, Mix Masters, dedicated to cracking the style code of our favorite It girls. We’ve teamed up with 7 for All Mankind to ensure that we address the one thing we all wear on rotation: denim.
Okay, we love to chat about the quintessential East Coast versus West Coast style divide. But in 2017, is the sartorial distinction between New York and L.A. really what it used to be? After decades of assuming Californians own the rights to laid-back looks, New Yorkers are chilling way out—and it seems like everyone’s mastering go-to ensembles that are built around chic, elevated denim.
To investigate the bicoastal rise of polished-casual, we tapped two fashionable friends of Who What Wear who each epitomize their respective city’s signature style. Representing New York: StyleScrapbook’s Andy Torres. From L.A.: Lust for Life’s Olivia Lopez. When asked to choose their essential pieces from 7 for All Mankind, there was an immediate consensus on this season’s must-have denim, so we decided to find out where else their style intersects.
How do our fashion insiders pull off polished-casual looks—and which jeans are they coveting this season? We asked Lopez and Torres five questions about style in their adopted home cities.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Who is the first New Yorker you remember looking at and thinking, I love how they dress?
ANDY TORRES: Carrie Bradshaw. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. I grew up watching Sex and the City, and I was amazed by her wardrobe and style—it was always so daring and quirky.
WWW: Describe New York style in a nutshell.
AT: It’s a city on the go. It’s professional; it’s about looking your best and being your best. I don’t think there are any other cities that have the same energy as New York.
If I had it my way, I would wear jeans, my loafers, an oversize T-shirt, and a leather jacket every day.
WWW: What are three cliché things you do every day in New York that influence your style?
AT: I get coffee at Ground Support in SoHo. Catch the subway; it’s a quicker commute. And browse shops in SoHo and the West Village for inspiration.
WWW: What’s the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever heard?
AT: Not everything you wear is going to get compliments!
WWW: What is it about these jeans?
AT: The quirky hem on the bottom; it adds something special to the look. In New York, I always want to keep my looks simple but still special. That’s what makes me feel comfortable without compromising style.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Who was the first Californian you remember looking at and thinking, I love how they dress?
OLIVIA LOPEZ: It’s not so much a single person but the mood of the people on the street. I love going to the Rose Bowl Flea Market and Cinespia in the summertime and seeing the style of the city. I do think Kate Bosworth perfectly captures California style; her looks are always fashion forward but uncomplicated.
WWW: What do you consider to be your classic L.A. outfit?
OL: High-wasted denim and gold-accented jewelry. I love this off-the-shoulder denim blouse—it’s perfect with blue jeans this summer.
WWW: How would you describe West Coast style versus East Coast style?
OL: L.A. is easygoing, with an edge. East Coast style is a bit more tapered and cleaned up, while the West Coast signature is to look a little bit undone and effortless.
WWW: What do you think Californians’ attitudes are toward trends?
OL: I think Californians tend to be less trend-focused, and the vintage culture and supply here allows us to experiment with mixing old and new more often.
My favorite films shot in L.A. are Basic Instinct, Clueless, and The Big Lebowski. They all show different takes on the L.A. uniform.
WWW: What are three cliché things you do every day in L.A. that influence your style?
OL: I’m the cliché of all clichés! I’ll practice vinyasa three or four times a week, eat organically—preferably from the farmers market—and avoid cross-city commitments during rush hour. And I love to bike on the weekends; I typically bike over to the Arts District or Chinatown for brunch or visit neighboring friends for coffee or juice.