East Coast vs. West Coast: Style

By Vicky Zhang

A visiting student from Seattle felt ashamed of wearing a T-shirt and sweat pants in a restaurant in New York.

“I was so used to wearing T-shits and sweat pants every day in Seattle, and when I sit in an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, I realized that everyone is wearing stylish tops, cute dresses, and nobody is wearing sneakers,” said Megan Allen, a 17-year-old.

According to a survey about East Coast and West Coast’s style differences, East Coast people often put more effort into outfits than West Coast people.

Randomly selected 20 young women, age 14-19, 10 people from The West Coast and 10 people from East Coast, answered the survey. On the scale of 1-10 with 1 being the least important and 10 being the most important, people from the two coasts gave their rating about what factors they care the most when shop for clothes.

Sometimes the style differences can go wrong. When Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, showed up with Wall Street investors wearing a hoodie, his outfits covered a lot headlines and contrasting Silicon Valley’s culture with the East Coast’s tradition of formality.



Among the West Coast young women the survey showed, comfort was most important with a rating of 9.6/10. On the East Coast, “style” was most important also with a 9.6.

“My mom always tells me that don’t buy the good-looking ones, only buy those that make you comfy,” said Ceria Martin, a high school student from Bellevue, Wash.

On the West Coast, people wear T-shirts and shorts all the time.

“My dad sometimes goes to work with shorts and sneakers, and I never thought that’s informal,” said Marisa Anunobi, daughter of a Microsoft employee in Seattle.

On the East Coast, New York City in particular, the streets can be a fashion runway.

“Honestly, I see people on streets who are looking ready for the runway all the time,” said Ahn Euiri, a girl from South Korea who has lived in New York City since middle school.


About 33% of the West Coasters were judged negatively on their clothing, and half of the people on The East Coast were judged negatively on their clothing.

“I’m from Seattle, and somebody made a bad comment on my clothing because I over-dressed for a homecoming dance,” said Rozella Kim, a freshman in high school.

“My English teacher told me I dressed too casual for a semi-formal school dinner. I was wearing flats and an off-shoulder top,” New Yorker Molly McConkey said. She also said she was judged once because she wore the same clothing as the day before.

Lisa Sun, who lives in Bellevue, Wash., said she was once judged negatively by her friends because her top was too “sexy.”

“I wore the same top to New York last summer, and no one ever paid attention to me,” Sun said.

There is a big difference in what young women wear. Nine of 10 West Coast people chose “T-shirt” as what they wear the most often, and only half of the East Coast women choose it.

“I have many T-shirts, but I mostly wear them at home. When I go out, I prefer to wear something more stylish and cute because it gives me a feeling of I’m ready for the day,” an 18 years old New Yorker, Melissa Bain, said.

East Coasters usually wear sandals or flats, and six of 10 people from the West Coast said they usually wear sneakers.

“Sneakers are so comfortable! My feet hurt when I wear sandals or flats because the shoe’s bottom is too thin and isn’t supportive,” Los Angeles resident Marica Uyeda said.

Sneakers are definitely good for long-distance walking even running, but some East Coast people think they aren’t stylish enough.

“I often wear dresses in the summer time, and sneakers just don’t match with any dresses or cute tops,” Said Faith Chamberlain, a visiting student from New Jersey.

Eight of 10 West Coasters and nine of ten East Coasters wear makeup.

Two West Coast people said they wear makeup because they don’t feel confident enough being bare faced, and four East Coast people who wear makeup felt the same way.

“My friends in elementary school always made fun of my freckles.             I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of my freckles, but I always put on makeup to cover it,” said Keri Cao, a junior in a Boston high school.

Another interviewee from San Francisco, Joana Collins, also has freckles. She is one of the people who doesn’t wear any makeups.

“I was judged negatively on my freckles for a few times. But I thought it’s a part of me and I shouldn’t be afraid of showing it,” Collins said.

Vicky Zhang is a junior at Forest Ridge School in Seattle, Wash.