Palm Springs: Land of Homogeneous Style?

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park, California

Does seeing and doing the same thing over and over bore you? Do you ever play devils advocate, just for fun? If you see a group of people all dressed the same do you get disappointed (and I’m not talking about working people in a mandatory uniform)? I respond, yes, yes, and oh, for sure, yes.

The Greater Palm Springs area is a wonderful oasis. An oasis from everything that is typical in Calgary, really.  It’s a destination with a tonne of sun, shopping, sipping, summer sports year round, and a lot of sand. Are you unsure if it's for you? Ask yourself...

  1. Do you want to get away from a winter climate? Head to Palm Springs.
  2. Tired of the rushing rat race that many city dwellers run? Head to Palm Springs.
  3. Want to just wear active wear regardless of your itinerary? Head to Palm Springs.

Herein lies the rub for me. The active wear. With so much rest and relaxation, ample happy hours, and recreation aplenty, why do people start to look the same?

Here’s an example of the typical ladies look: white golf skirt, pink sleeveless collared shirt and a visor. What are the gents rolling around in (besides suped up golf carts - ha!)? The look is comprised of lighter coloured - think beige or creme - pleated sport shorts with either a golf shirt (with a company logo, likely from what company they have retired from) or a Tommy Bahamas button down floral shirt. This may or may not come with a straw fedora.

Is there anything wrong with either of those looks? Of course there isn’t. But when it rolls in packs of fours that seem to multiply faster than bunnies near coffee shops and sand coloured strip malls it all starts to get a bit blurry. It’s as if they want to replicate each other’s looks.

One part of me gets it. You’re around like-minded people, doing like-minded activities. It’s totally plausible that you would dress similar. The other part of me goes, yes, but if you know this to be true, why wouldn’t you try to diversify? Why not mix up your look so you don’t look like a pack of snowbird- desperate-to-'fit in' teens at the mall.

That’s when a new “a-ha” came to me. When it comes to style in affluent places, is there two types of people? One group wants to fit in so they wear what everyone else is wearing, aka: 'blend-in-ers.' The other group goes counter culture and dresses any way they can to stand out, aka: the 'stand-out-ers.'

Who am I? Definitely the second: the 'stand-out-er.' Need some examples? When we went to the pool, I wore plaid flannel as a cover up, screw the gauzy dress thing. To protect my face, I wore a Jays stiff brim ball cap. F-U wide brim straw hat. To keep me warm at night I didn’t grab the draped thin knit cardigan, no, I wore a structured leather jacket. When I went to Joshua Tree National Park, I wore a ball gown. Just kidding! But I did wear huge fashion sunglasses, men’s cargo shorts, and big earrings to be sure no matter where I went, I felt like me.

That’s the thing, right? No matter what you are doing or where you are going, if you are lucky enough to choose what you will wear, make sure you’re feeling it. There are no prizes in life for dressing like everyone else. Live a little, dress for you.