Pacific Northwest fashion is more than Grunge
Seattle and Portland are the “fashion metropoles” of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is well associated with the grunge style of the 90s. Thus, it is often called grunge town.
The Pacific Northwest is broadly associated with Washington, Oregon, Western Montana, Western Wyoming, Idaho, British Columbia, and the southern part of Southeast Alaska. In this post, I use the term Pacific Northwest in a meteorological sense, i.e. related to the area influenced by storms coming over the North Pacific. This means it includes British Columbia and most of the Panhandle of Southeast Alaska.
What is it, that makes this region to be associated with a certain style? Dressing is not only for looking great, but also for protection from the elements. In this post, I introduce you to some of my fashion and lifestyle blogging friends from the area. I chose them for their great way to dress for the weather of this region.
The weather in the Pacific Northwest
Given the topography, it is obvious that the Pacific Northwest has different climates. The climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean leading to cool summers and temperate winters in many areas of the Pacific Northwest like central Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Victoria, Seattle, and Portland. The weather is influenced by the polar front in winter. Consequently, weather is changeable, and rainy. In the coastal area, the warmest month’s mean temperature remains below 71.6F (22oC) due to the cooling effect of the water on the air over the cold ocean currents. Thus, summers are mild. The cold ocean currents may cause fog.
Given that temperature decreases with height, alpine climate exists in the mountains. Further inland, east of high mountain ranges, precipitation decreases due to the mountain shadow. Here the climate is semi-arid or even arid like in the Harney Basin of Oregon. In Idaho, the maritime influence decreases from west to east. In eastern Idaho and Sun Valley, summers are wetter warmer and winters are drier and colder than in the coastal Pacific Northwest due to the more semi-arid continental climate.
How to cope stylishly with maritime temperate weather
It is important to dress for the weather we have, not the weather we wish we had. While a young fashionista can get away with dressing like living in Death Valley, women in midlife would look immature and ridiculous. We have to dress for the actual weather. Thus, when it is wet, windy and cold, we look our best in clothing that’s appropriate to wear in cold wet weather.
Monika Faulkner at Style is my Pudding lives in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia. She has a well edited closet of pieces that are partly Rock’n Roll inspired (read skulls, leather pants and jackets, highlighting the ankles, chains, denim, graphical print Tees) with Bohemian elements like shoes with wool sole, interesting small prints, furry jackets and vests or silver jewelry. She combines these items to unique personal style by layering these pieces to create the right thickness of insulation and keep wind and elements out. She always unfailingly nails a chic combination. Her style looks so effortlessly stylish because she spent the effort to create a well edited wardrobe.
Sherry Dryja at Petite over 40 is a Seattleite. Wind, rain and humid air are the elements that are to be taken into account to feel comfortable in an outfit. She is petite and as you know today’s fashion is designed with the tall 5 ft 7 or 5 ft 9 (1.70-175 m) tall young women in mind. She takes her inspiration from past decades when women used to be less tall. However, she pushes her look beyond the neutrals of those times for a modern up-to-day look. See for instance her 70s inspired look in the composite photo in this post. Her approach leads to an effortless personal style that’s all her own. When clouds and rain roll into the Seattle area, she just adds an extra layer to stay warm and dry.
Valerie Hansen the travel and lifestyle blogger at Maple Leopard is originally from Vancouver, B.C. Canada, but now calls the Seattle area her home. She learned to sew in middle school and used self-made clothes to express personal style back then. Thus, she knows exactly what she is looking for and searches for it until she finds the perfect item. For instance, this puffer vest to layer when it is windy and cool.
Take home message from Monika’s, Sherry’s and Valerie’s coping with the weather: Effortless style and layering are all about editing. #maturestyle Click To Tweet
Cheryl Tucker, 56, is the blogger at Northwest Mountain Living. She lives in the west central mountains of Idaho. She loves the art of fashion, i.e. color, fabric, texture, the cut, and the endless design options. Her way of layering to cope with the weather and to look stylish starts from the approach to create one outfit at a time as a piece of art. Her outfits show she has fun in fashion and are pleasant to look at. Like looking at a Rembrandt painting you will detect new details each time you look at the same outfit of her.Learn to layer for effortless style. Click To Tweet
In which climate zone do you live? What is your weather challenge to dress for? What are your hassles to dress for the weather? Let me know, by email so I can help you.
When you like the blog you may also like my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. It provides outfit recipes for a variety of dressing situations for women in midlife.
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Photos courtesy to these ladies
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