How do you overhaul your closet when you move to a city with an all-new climate? Relocating from the East Coast to the West is, of course, easy. Just throw away all your bundled-up winter layers and invest in extra flip flops. But what about the brave souls who leave the warm weather of the West Coast for the winters of the East Coast?
Below is a short list of how a grown man’s wardrobe can – and should – change when shifting coasts, left to right:
Boots are essential. The good news is you have lots of options – from Bean boots (as in, L.L.) to laced-up brogues. Just make sure you invest in a quality pair that will age well and weather the many (many) storms that you’ll eventually encounter.
Yes, you need a heavy winter coat – a few, preferably – but you also need a few things to toss on or peel off throughout the day. As Max Berlinger, a New York City-based editor (and Los Angeles expat) puts it, “You step out into the biting cold and walk to the subway, which is stiflingly hot, then pop back into the cold before entering your place of work which is, hopefully, a decent temperature. All the back and forth is exhausting, so I’m stocked up on cardigans (I buy the cheap cashmere miracles available at Uniqlo in every color my bank account allows) and a few puffer vests, which can be worn under a coat, over a blazer, with a sweater, etc.”
A light raincoat/anorak
The weather on the East Coast in spring and summer can be tricky to navigate – sunny days aren’t necessarily warm and cloudy ones aren’t always cold. That’s why, when inclement weather strikes, you need a waterproof piece of outerwear that’s also lightweight. You’ll stay dry (but not hot) when it’s humid; if it’s cold and wet, you can toss it over a heavier coat for extra protection.
Men on the East Coast dress more formally, generally speaking, than guys living in the more laid-back West Coast culture. At some point, for some reason, you will need to don a suit. If you don’t yet own a suit, then now’s the time to get one. If it’s your first, go for navy or gray. As Berlinger notes, “A good suit can make your shoulders look broader, defines your waist, make you look taller, make you stand upright, and, in general, makes people think you’ve got your act together.” If you’re new to suiting, try J. Crew ( www.jcrew.com ), Suit Supply ( www.suitsupply.com ) or Indochino ( www.indochino.com ).
A quality pair of jeans
We’re talking “nice” jeans. The kind with a price tag that makes you tear up a little bit when you get rung up at the cash register. The same ones that, three months later, when they fit exactly to your body and can be worn for weeks on end without a wash (you know you do it), you’re so grateful you made the investment. They’re as easily dressed up for the office with desert boots and a button down shirt as they are dressed down with a T-shirt and sneakers on the weekend.
Dependable grooming products
New York summers are humid and the winters are bitterly dry. Berlinger suggests an oil-absorbing face lotion with SPF that works for both the humid summers and dry winters. A word of warning, though: “Don’t use alcohol pads; they dry out your skin.”
A weather app
You never know what the weather will do from hour to hour, and you need to be prepared. My pick, the Weather.com app (apple.com/itunes), provides an hour-by-hour analysis of the day, a 3-day forecast and, most importantly, tells you what it feels like outside, rather than just the temperature. You’ll know each day whether you need an umbrella, snow boots or a portable fan.