Wet coast style observations

Hi, all. I've been in my new Vancouver residence for 9 days now and so far, so good! We had gorgeous weather the first week but the rains have now arrived in earnest. Luckily, I've lived here before so am up for that particular fashion challenge. 

So far, my wardrobe has not been much on my mind because I'm dealing with house set up. But yesterday I was downtown and made some mental notes about Vancouver style. 

  • Sneakers reign supreme on all ages. Fashion sneakers or regular. The occasional Blundstone or hiking boot offers a hint of variety. 
  • Athleisure retains its hold here. Also, lots of gear and technical fabrics. 
  • Black, black and white, and denim are the dominant colours. 
  • Lots of Kate Spade and MK bags on the younger women. 
  • Those who don't follow this pattern truly stand out. Yesterday a man dressed entirely in pale blush pink walked past in the rain. Pink Converse, pale pink jeans, pink shirt, pink jacket, pink umbrella. Definitely captured the attention! 
Bonus pics: John Fluevog's witty response to the NY Times. And, my cat has adopted an Elizabethan ruff to prevent him from catching the plentiful birds in our garden. 

1
2
This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

38 Comments

  • replied 2 weeks ago

    The ruff of shame! I like the story of the pink dresser, he was probably happier than all the neutral people :)

  • Angie replied 2 weeks ago

    WELCOME. THRILLED TO HAVE YOU HERE :)

    Max is as stylish as his Mama! Adorable and happy. 

    Seattle is grittier than Vancouver. LOTS of tattoos, rainbow hair and body piercings in the city. Very few heels, lots of leggings and sneakers, and casual attire. A lot of black, but a lot of most colours too (where I live anyway). Lots of layering. You'll see many short puffers come out soon too. 

  • Vildy replied 2 weeks ago

    Your cat's response to the ruff looks unprintable.

  • La Pedestrienne replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on the move! There are days when I'd love to be back in the PNW, both for the climate and the culture.

    Both pics make me smile. Can't wait to see some new WIWs. :)

  • lisa p replied 2 weeks ago

    Always glad to hear when good things are happening for Canadian designers.  Fluevog's style is usually too over-the-top for me, but I do own one pair that are absolutely gorgeous and will never part with them (high heel be damned). Vancouver has never struck me as particular fashion-y , with the exception of the extreme luxe-trendiness shown on the younger and wealthier Asian women .  Love the rooted-in-the-outdoors aesthetic.  

  • rachylou replied 2 weeks ago

    Excellent report. Great article. How does it feel to be a West Coaster? :)

  • JAileen replied 2 weeks ago

    I was wondering what happened to you! I’d love to be somewhere cooler. Do you think the west coast dresses differently from the east coast?

    Thank you for helping save birds. I saw a documentary that estimated that domestic cats killed something like 20 percent of all the birds in the world every year.

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 weeks ago

    Nice to hear from you again,hope the unpacking is going well and that the cat eventually forgives you!

  • Style Fan replied 2 weeks ago

    Love John Fluevog's response.   I found Vancouver to be very casual as well.   

  • Glory replied 2 weeks ago

    Wow Suz you’ve moved ! I had no idea but wish you a wonderful transition to your new house! Very fun and exciting times ahead.

  • The Cat replied 2 weeks ago

    Interesting style report.

    Best wishes for your life at the new place. Is the climate in Vancouver different from where you moved from? If so, do you expect it to influence your style and/or wardrobe needs? I look forward to hear about it.

  • Jane replied 2 weeks ago

    Welcome to your new home. Good to hear about Vancouver fashion. (As JAileen says, Margaret Atwood would be pleased with your cat's attire https://www.cbc.ca/news/techno.....-1.3464452

  • Jenn replied 2 weeks ago

    Glad to hear you're settling in! It's really interesting how your location can affect your style, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Vancouver influences you!

  • Sterling replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on the successful move!  

  • SarahD8 replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on the move Suz and welcome to Cascadia! Watch out, your kitty will soon be begging for a catio, they’re all the rage here!

  • torontogirl replied 2 weeks ago

    What an exciting move for you Suz! Looking forward to seeing how your wardrobe adapts to the new city :)

  • Suz replied 2 weeks ago

    One instant influence -- more of my wardrobe sits in my "year round" closet. Less will be stored between seasons. The Cat -- the weather in Vancouver is vastly different than the weather in southeastern Ontario. There, we had short, rainy, windy autumns; long, cold winters (from November to late April, the average low around -10 to -15C but often going down to -30C or colder with wind chill) and lots of snow, ice, and dirty slush on the streets. Spring in my former city is short and chilly and summer is hot and muggy -- it lasts for about 3.5 months. On paper, the temps look moderate but with the humidity, the "feel" of the air is often about 35 to 38C. We had a particularly hot summer this year. 

    Vancouver has one of the mildest climates in Canada but is also extremely rainy and grey in the winter. I can expect some, but not much, snow here. It often melts the same day it falls, or the next day. Spring is long, damp, but pleasant with glorious blossoms that last for months. Summers are slightly shorter than in Ontario and considerably less humid. It's typically very sunny in July and August. May is also a very good month with lots of sun. June is strangely less predictable and not as warm as in Ontario. 

    Max looks disgusted with his collar in this photo, but he's actually surprisingly blasé about it. He does not enjoy having it put on, but once it is there he barely seems to notice it. Since our landlady is a bird lover and our garden is full of finches and hummingbirds, it's a necessity. I think the real problem for birds is feral cats but I'm not taking chances.  

    Angie, I agree that Seattle is much grittier than Vancouver. Vancouver always feels almost washed clean to me (coming from grittier, older, Toronto) -- except for the downtown east side, that is. There's grit to spare in that area of town. 

    JAileen, I do think the west coast dresses differently from the east, for sure. There are overlaps, of course. As LisaP says, Vancouver is not particularly stylish but is a very active city so you see gear, gear, gear. Toronto is more stylish but without much flair, except for distinct pockets. There are some really great designers there, though, if you know where to look. Montreal is where the fashion fun is! :) 

  • Chris987 replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on your move! Sounds like you have the climate well understood from living there in he past so you can have fun with your wardrobe without having to go through all the seasons first.

  • Katerina replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on your move, Suz, and glad you are back, missed you!
    What an interesting style report and thanks for telling us about the climate. I have really learnt something, never been to Canada. The Vancouver spring sounds lovely. I bet you are glad for shorter and milder winters. And best wishes!

  • chouette22 replied 2 weeks ago

    What an adventure! Setting up house, new surroundings, people, paths, routines and fashion. Good luck! Is this a permanent move?

  • smittie replied 2 weeks ago

    Congratulations on the move and I’m excited for the new fashion possibilities in your life!

  • CJ replied 2 weeks ago

    You are not terribly far for a YLF meet up! My son lives there and I have always wanted to make one of those meet ups and schedule an with Angie! I am 7 hours away however.

  • La Pedestrienne replied 2 weeks ago

    Yes, Vancouver has a distinctly normcore vibe compared to Seattle and Portland, doesn't it? And SO much Arc'teryx. Are you in Vancouver proper? I remember talk of Victoria at one point...

  • Suz replied 2 weeks ago

    LaPed -- so right about that Arc'teryx! We're in Vancouver proper. The Victoria plan has been put on hold for the time being. Or maybe forever. We're not sure. chouette22, this is a temporary move for now -- officially for 11 months. But there's a strong chance we will end up staying longer. Maybe permanently. We have rented our own home and are renting a place here so our options are open. 

    CJ, I'm hoping for a meet-up in Seattle after we get a bit more settled here! Hope to meet you in person. 

    Thanks, Smittie. I feel a bit silly having bought that big puffer last year, LOL. But the move is temporary (we think). So ... time will tell if I need it again. 

    Katerina, the Vancouver spring must be one of the prettiest in the world. Well, at least compared to what I'm used to, it is! :) Flowers begin to bloom in January!! 

    Chris, you're so right. I am really quite familiar with it all since we lived here for 3 years. 

  • Gaylene replied 2 weeks ago

    Welcome to the West Coast, Suz!

    You’ve been out here often enough to know the climate, so you’ve got a good idea about what to expect. What I’ve found interesting, though, is how much location and community affects what you’ll see around you. As you’ve noted, Vancouver (and Victoria) have sides which short-term visitors often don’t experience so style observations can be quite different in these areas. It’s also remarkable how differently people can dress for the weather. I often see someone wearing shorts and a light windcheater in January standing in line next to a person in a Canada Goose jacket and tightly wrapped scarf.

    As a prairie girl, my biggest adjustment to Victoria dressing was realizing a damp, overcast January day requires MUCH less clothing than a bright, sunny day. The rain comes from the South—the Pineapple Express some call it—while January sun occurs when cold, high pressure systems from the North drop down onto the Island. I also became a fan of Uniqlo camis during damp, cooler months; never wore one in -40C temps on the prairies, but find them a necessity on the Coast.

  • Aquamarine replied 2 weeks ago

    Good luck in your new home! Can’t wait to see how your wardrobe adjusts to the new climate.

  • Janet replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on your new home! I’m glad you’re all settling in.

    I envy your new climate. :-D

  • Suz replied 2 weeks ago

    Gaylene, I get it. Damp requires more insulation in some ways. It's very strange. I've also always understood that sun= cold in winter. I grew up around the Great Lakes and it is similar to a Maritime climate that way. 

  • sarah replied 2 weeks ago

    Welcome to your new home, Suz. How exciting!

    Here's a picture of our kitties in their matching court jester outfits. They seem to be effective at reducing bird kills!

  • shevia replied 2 weeks ago

    Congratulations on your move! Wow, that is a big change for everyone. I have been in Vancouver precisely once, and that was about 25 years ago, but I still have a good impression. I love John Fluevog's window response. Excited to see how your style evolves, and already am working on a teleporter to attend your next West Coast meet up!

  • karen13 replied 2 weeks ago

    Welcome back to the best coast. I look forward to seeing your style evolution and adaptation. I love BC. I have made several trips over the years to Victoria, Vancouver and whistler and loved the climate and the lifestyle. I love my California mountain life, but BC would be a contender.

  • deb replied 2 weeks ago

    Yea, you are here. I can hardly wait for the meetup.

  • Sisi replied 2 weeks ago

    Congratulations Suz! It seems that this climate makes you happier. I am glad for you.  I hope you will finally be able to wear less snow boots and more shoes that you like! 

  • FashIntern replied 2 weeks ago

    Wishing you happiness in your new/temp home, and a great year, whatever follows it. I’m sure there will be moments when you realize the thing you want is on the other coast, but how nice not to have to take apart the entire old home at once!

    I’ve never been there, or to the NW US, but your style report sounded much like I expected, until I got to the designer bags and the brakes screeched. Is that with the tennies and athliesure described just before it? How surprising!

    I’m guessing fall will be less mucky than you’re used to. June being cooler there makes sense-it’s the moderating effect of the water.

    Gaylene, I saw much the same thing in Tampa when temps dipped into the 50s or 60s—some people still in their shorts, probably with a sweatshirt or light jacket, others in full-on winter gear, complete with scarves, boots, etc.

  • jussie replied 2 weeks ago

    Very exciting Suz. I wish you luck as you settle in, and of course I can’t wait for more fashion updates. What a large and diverse place Nth America is. My mind boggles and I hope I get to explore more of it someday.

  • Angie replied 2 weeks ago

    Gaylene and Suz, I'm telling you. This awful damp cold that we get in the PNW is much colder than a dry cold in the same temperature. Now you know why I always wear a cami or thermals. It's BITTER. Smittie has lived through it and gets it too. And now Gaylene. I feel validated :)

  • Dana replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on your move, Suz! I love Vancouver (only been there once, but still.) It will be fun for you to have milder weather, yes? You will certainly become a Vancouver style icon!! 

  • Christina F. replied 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on your move!

You need to be logged in to comment