California. It’s a state that inspires love or hate with a whole lot of room in between. It’s the place I was born, raised, and grew into adulthood. From collecting sea glass from the NorCal shoreline, roasting marshmallows over a Lake Tahoe campfire, or hiking through the heavily wooded trails of the Sierras, I was a California girl through and through.

Moving to San Diego during my 20s only solidified my love for my home state, but as I grew older other parts of the country started to call to me. Long story short, I ended up in Illinois–a place that never called to me but I still somehow ended up in. And you know what? I like it here, a lot. Rich seasons, nice people, and affordable home prices..all that and I can take long showers without drought guilt creeping in.

But, California, I do miss you. The energy, the natural beauty, the California-ness of it all. Through my homesickness, I’ve found myself searching for a way to represent my beloved home state and have found the best way to do that is with my summer clothing.

California: Where Freedom and Fashion Meet

Clothing inspired by California seems to follow a few basic trends: casual, comfortable, and up for anything. You aren’t going to find yourself dressing up in restrictive dresses, sky-high heels, or a blazer (a blazer!). California style is cut-off jean shorts, loose tops that let the ocean breeze flow, sandals or a pair of Converse, a straw hat, and a trendy bag. Just like you’re ready to go out for drinks with the girls, on a date with a new guy, or just hang out around a bonfire on the beach.

It’s a bit of bohemian mixed with hippie and a dash of trendy. There’s no real name for it, it just is. Complete the look with sunglasses–who can leave the house without those?–natural make-up, some jewelry, and tousled hair and you’ll fit right in.

Make California Styles Work for You

That look might work for young women in their 20s and 30s, but what if you’re in your 40s, 50s, and beyond? You can always change it up a bit to make it comfortable for you, whether that means wearing slightly longer shorts, a flowy skirt, or adding in a cardigan. California is a place known for its free-spirited nature, independence, and pizzazz, so if you wear it, rock it–no matter what your age.

One thing that sometimes is a concern is how much (or really, how little) you have to spend on clothing. Luckily, getting a California look doesn’t mean you need a California-sized budget. It’s easy to pick up cute shorts, tops, sandals, and other accessories at discount stores or find them on sales racks. Think about doing some of your summer shopping toward the end of summer and you’re sure to get some great discounts, along with some cute clothes that you can enjoy for the last few weeks of the season.

Unless you really are in California, or any other place with an endless summer, soon you’re going to be replacing those tank tops with scarves and mittens. So don’t waste too much time thinking about what your style looks like–get out there and live it!

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