In this post, I introduce you to some of my fashion and lifestyle blogging friends from the Pacific Northwest, and explain their great way to dress for the weather of this region. In general, the weather in the region where you live affects what you have to wear to achieve thermal comfort. See and read what fashion bloggers wear in the Pacific Northwest to cope in style with their windy maritime humid weather.
- Pacific Northwest Fashion Is More than Grunge
- The Weather in the Pacific Northwest
- How to Cope Stylishly with Maritime Temperate Weather
- Monika Faulkner
- Sherry Dryja
- Valerie Hansen
- Cheryl Tucker
- What to Wear in Pacific Northwest Weather in Summary
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 1990s. Therefore, 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.
Why do we associate this region with a certain style? Dressing is not only for looking great, but also for protection from the elements. Consequently, people always have adapted their dressing to their typical weather conditions. More on climate adaptation of ethnic clothes.
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 to consider when creating a comfortable outfit. She is petite and as you know today’s fashion focuses on the tall 5 ft 7 or 5 ft 9 (1.70-175 m) tall young women. Due to this gap, 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.
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.
What to Wear in Pacific Northwest Weather in Summary
In summary, to cope with the weather requires layering, which is all about editing. Effortless style is about details. To achieve effortless style in temperate maritime humid climate requires to learn to layer. Read more about not to make mistakes when layering.
When you take a close look at the outfits and compare them, you get the right impression that material plays a role too. Learn which sweaters are best for your climate region.
Does the weather of the region you live affects your look? Read what fashion bloggers from different climate regions wear in winter in this post on cozy chic looks.
More interested in warmer climate regions? Then you may be interested in reading how to dress for humid subtropical climate.
Kottek, M., Grieser, N., Beck, C., Rudolf, B., and Rubel, F., 2006. World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated. Meteorologische Zeitschrift, Vol. 15, No. 3, 259-263.
Mölders, N., Kramm, G., 2014. Lectures in Meteorology, Springer, New York.
Mölders, Nicole, 2019. Outdoor Universal Thermal Comfort Index Climatology for Alaska, Atmosphere and Climate Sciences, DOI: 10.4236/acs.2019.94036
Photos courtesy to these ladies
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