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This post is about how to dress California Casual style. Read what this style is about, its key elements, and how to pull it all together at any age.




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What Is California Style Fashion?

California or So-Cal style refers to a casual way of dressing particularly popular in southern California. The outfits are about simplicity, and comfort, often with a touch of vintage and/or Bohemian Style. The style celebrates youth, and energy with appealing looks that can have a hint of beachy vibes. The basic fundamentals style elements are updated with those trends adopted by Hollywood celebrities. The looks are laid back and voguish in bright colors.


California fashion with jeans motorcycle vest Boho tunic
Moda International leather motorcycle vest, amber pendant necklace, Musse & Cloud clog sandals, Ethyl Clothing flared jeans, silver cuff, and crossbody bag c/o R. Riveter (Use code HIGHLATITUDESTYLE to save)


Key Elements of California Casual Style

Must-haves clothing pieces to create this look are:

  • Jeans, denim high-waisted pencil skirt, and cut-off denim shorts (legs are still about 4 inches, i.e. 10 cm)
  • Flared high-waisted (print) pants or sailor trousers
  • Front button-down A-line skirt, handkerchief skirt, A-line wrap skirt, corduroy miniskirt
  • Bold color pattern leggings
  • Pieces in breezy/sheer chiffon, cotton, or linen for layering
  • Sleeved or sleeveless shirts in various colors and pattern to wear with jeans or shorts
  • Vintage-inspired graphic tees
  • (spaghetti-strap) tank tops in dark bold colors
  • Neutral color button-up flannel shirt (to wear with jeans and boots)
  • Cropped tops and sweatshirts
  • For date night or going out: Flirty summer (mini) dresses, mini halter dress or cute tops (to wear with jeans) or jumpsuits
  • Bright color floral designs for (maxi) beach dresses, kimonos and coverups
  • Sneakers, gladiator sandals, heeled (strappy) sandals, ballet flats, clogs or wood sandals, and stack-heeled ankle boots, Birkenstock sandals, tall flat boots
  • Prints: Floral, paisley, block print, graphic print
  • Outerwear: Blazer, duster, leather/suede jacket, denim (trucker) jacket, fleece jacket, hoodie, fitted vest
  • Hoops, organic studs, layered or statement necklaces, silver cuff, wooden bangles, leather bracelet, gold and gemstone pendants, stackable rings. More on styling stackable rings.
  • Hobo bag, bucket bag, slouchy carry-all, straw bag
  • Straw hat, trilly hat, aviator sunglasses


influencer featuring a So Cal outfit idea in bright colors
Example bold colors, breezy skirt: Studio gladiator sandals, Coach fabric bag, amber pendant necklace, Nordgreen watch, silver cuff, Ray Ban aviator sunglasses, wrap skirt and bright color T-shirt c/o Coolibar


SoCal chic look with Bohemian vibe dress and simple fabric shoulder bag
Boho-inspired: L.K. Bennett espadrille wedges, Edith Leiber belt, quartz pendant necklace, Hermes bangles, block print vintage inspired dress c/o Coolibar, and fabric shoulder bag c/o R. Riveter



How to Wear California Casual Style

Use the following styling tricks of how to dress California Casual Style


stylist showing how to dress California Casual style with duster, button-down skirt, ankle booties for fall
Fall So-Cal look: Coach bag, Pour la Victoire ankle booties, Rebecca Collins statement necklace, Fashom button-down A-line skirt, knit duster c/o Femme Luxe, flowy top c/o Coolibar


how to wear So-Cal with a graphic Tee and floral skirt
Formal going out: Gemstone pendant necklace, silver cuff, Nordgreen watch, graphic Tee c/o Femme Luxe, bold color floral print skirt, Nine West heels, c/o Coolibar, shoulder bag c/o R. Riveter



Where to Buy California Style Clothing?

Brands that have – among other pieces – California Casual clothing are:

  • American Apparel
  • California Vintage
  • Christy Dawn
  • Fendi (California Sky Collection)
  • Levi’s
  • Madewell
  • Marine Layer (See my Marine Layer T-shirt review).
  • Ray Ban (aviators, vintage styles)
  • Reformation
  • Staud
  • The Elder Stateman
  • Trina Turk (Palm Springs collection)
  • Van



California Casual Outfit Ideas for Women over 50

California Casual outfit idea with bold turquoise loose top and royal blue skirt
Dooney and Brouke bag, Hilfiger wedge sandals, silver cuff, Rebecca Collins statement flower necklace, Ray Ban vintage sunglasses, top and A-line high-waisted skirt c/o Coolibar


look in bright colors with pink leotard, navy skirt, sky blue cardigan
Coach bag, Rebecca Collins necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses, silver cuff, Very Fine Dancesport sandals, cardigan and skirt c/o Coolibar, and leotard c/o Femme Luxe



Nicole in SoCal inspired colors waterfall cardigan, shirt, skirt, tight and turquoise sandals with striped bag
SoCal winter look: Fashom skirt, Nicole sandals, Coach shoulder bag, Ecclipse watch bracelet, Winkwood sunglasses, pendant necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own), tights c/o Hipstik® Legwear, sun protective shirt and long cardigan both c/o Coolibar


In Summary: How to Dress California Casual Style

California Casual style is comfortable, carefree, relaxed, voguish, breezy with vintage elements and bold colors. Layering serves to cope with the wide diurnal course of temperatures in summer, and the chilly conditions of the mild winters. More on layering for thermal comfort.


Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Nicole, lovely outfits! But now I’m feeling bad. You see, I used to have a really nice denim high-waisted pencil skirt and it was a perfect fit and still would be, but I gave it away in a closet purge* several years ago because I thought I was “too old” for it! Well, I’m soooo over that nonsense now and would happily wear it if I still had it! —- *Just did another one and posted about it.

  2. Emma Peach

    Lovely colourful outfits! Thanks for linking up!

    Emma xxx

  3. Rena

    As a California gal myself, I’d say that you’re spot on.


  4. Mira's World

    I like the second Outfit and the flowers dress! Perfect for the Summer!