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Not long after moving to California, I realized I needed to clear a sizable chunk of space in my wardrobe to make room for the West Coast’s favorite fashion trend: athleisure. Upon first hearing the term, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant, but as I sit here on my couch writing this article in my “running” shorts, it’s all starting to make sense. For me, the secret to good athleisurewear is simple – it’s all about the comfort. Whether I’m lounging around the house or setting off on a Saturday morning run, I should be equally comfortable in the same clothes.
My newfound love of athleisurewear began about a year ago when I walked into the Vuori store in Manhattan Beach, California, a Los Angeles community where everyone looks like they surf and do yoga all day (and only some of them actually do). Initially drawn into Vuori by the vast array of coastal colors which filled the window display, I was then blown away as I ran my hands through their selection of t-shirts and shorts – undoubtedly the softest, smoothest materials I had ever felt. I left the store with a $500-shaped hole in my wallet but was delighted to come away with three pairs of shorts including the Sunday Performance short and, my favorite, the lined Kore short in Tumeric along with multiple t-shirts and the Ponto Performance Half Zip Hoodie in Indigo Heather for cooler California days. Vuori was founded in Encinitas, another California beach town with even more of a laid-back, surfer-cool vibe.
2. Fundamental Coast
Where Vuori might err more on the side of athletic with its “performance apparel,” those who are drawn more toward leisure need look no further than Fundamental Coast, the result of “an avid sports enthusiast colliding with the world of men’s luxury fashion.” Another brand founded in Southern California, Fundamental Coast offers a selection of casual apparel made from a cashmere blend. There’s no escaping the beach-chic theme to this clothing line, my absolute favorites being the Later ¼ Zip Hoodie (available in three colors) and the Westport Short which feels as at home on the golf course as it does in the swimming pool with its mesh pocket lining.
3. Everyday California
Completing the trio of California brands on which I seem to have spent most of my hard-earned money in the last 12 months is Everyday California. Headquartered out of San Diego, Everyday California has adventure in its DNA – it launched as a small ocean adventure company before expanding into apparel with a sleek line of coastal-inspired products from 100% organic cotton graphic tees to board shorts and SPF rashguards. Everyday California also boasts an impressive line-up of baseball caps and beanies — many sporting the brand’s iconic surfboard-hugging bear — and be sure to check out their “Brewmaster” collection, which celebrates the successful release of the Everyday California IPA. I couldn’t resist buying the hoodie, graphic tee, and trucker hat. There’s no doubt that California is the king of athleisure — and that there’s no easier (or more comfortable) way to fit in on a trip to the West Coast than to embrace this trend.