Eric Jennings

Vice President & Fashion Director Menswear, Home & Beauty | Saks Fifth Avenue

Style: Complementing Your Surroundings

The West Coast and East Coast offer interchangeable spring wardrobe options

Style, by nature, is perpetually evolving quarter over quarter. In the workplace, there is more flexibility than ever in terms of company standards and how they are reflected not only in dress but in the totality of corporate culture. Hence, dressing for the workplace – here in Los Angeles and across the country – deserves further consideration.

For instance, as modern office space becomes more progressive and creative in look, how does that affect workplace fashion?

The rule here is simple: The more progressive the decor of the office, the more progressive the fashion. I’m not talking about going too avant garde with your work attire, but I’d certainly recommend wearing clothing from the current season of your favorite brands. (The fit is the tell-tale sign if something is current!)

Style-4In terms of trends for 2016, you will be seeing a lot more casual, tailored clothing. That means suits that don’t look like the traditional tailored banker suits (like the classic super-100 wool pinstripe). You’ll be seeing more suits in seasonal fabrics like cottons in spring, linen blends in summer, pinwale corduroy in fall, and perhaps a lightweight flannel in winter. These are great because you can break up the suit and wear them as separates. (Please note, I do NOT recommend breaking up the classic wool suit.)

You’ll also be seeing cleaner, dressier sneakers that look great with these more casual suits. You’ll even be seeing dressier leather backpacks that are completely appropriate for a business executive.

When it comes to East Coast business travel, it’s worth the effort in planning to ensure that each item of clothing is essential, has multiple applications, and is based on the weather being forecast for your stay.


For instance, you will need an elegant dark navy blue suit, a crisp white shirt and pocket square, and cordovan leather derby shoes and belt. You will also need a trench of some sort as the weather can always be spotty. I’ve got a mid-length tan trench for spring/summer and a long black trench for fall/winter. The trench coat is great because it come in different lengths and weights, so it works well on both the West and East coasts.

From my vantage point in New York, it’s clear that LA’s influence on the fashion industry is substantial. You can thank Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane for that. By living and designing in LA for the iconic and storied Parisian label, he has created one of the most influential and coveted brands of the moment.


I am also seeing more and more young designers like John Elliott coming out of LA who are really tapping into the more casual West Coast culture. The good news is that this look translates well from coast to coast. LA has also become the capital of denim design and manufacturing. Most of the top denim brands come from LA today and they are leading the way with innovative washes, fits, and treatments.