Santa Cruz style is something that is unusually hard to pin down. The city's liberal attitudes bleed over into peoples' fashion sense, and leave one with the impression that you get away with wearing anything in public without being noticed.
In Santa Cruz, only the normies, who tend to blend in everywhere else, stand out like a sore thumb. The freedom to express oneself through clothing seems to have inspired some locals to take the road less traveled, and cultivate a style completely their own. These trailblazers are the reason this column exists.
It is my mission to define exactly what it means to have Santa Cruz style, and to encourage others to find their own.
It's not often that you see teenaged boys dressed in floral, but 19-year-old Zephyr Eubank is here to change that. The self-described thrift store aficionado supplements his wardrobe by combing through boxes of free stuff. This is, he explains, how he came upon the hand painted hat he is wearing.
"I found it on the side of the road sophomore year, and I've been wearing it ever since"
His shirt was purchased at the Front Street Thrift Center (521 Front St.) downtown on Front Street.
The blinding light reflecting off of Daniel Fried's all white ensemble grabbed my attention the second I stepped out onto Pacific Avenue. It may have been after Labor Day, but with an outfit this fly, some rules needed to be broken. I am always a fan of offbeat fashion, especially on dudes, and Daniel here is setting the bar with his fringed Western button up.
"I feel like I can wear whatever I want here," he said of Santa Cruz. "It's definitely looser than the valley"
Daniel got his pants at , his shoes at , and his frilly shirt at the Front Street Thrift Center
Jacqueline Grohs, Zoe Manoguerra, and Kayla Sawyers:
When I crossed paths with UCSC students Jacqueline Grohs, Zoe Manoguerra, and Kayla Sawyers, the first thing I noticed about them was how differently they were all dressed. The three friends all hail from the bay area, have lived in Santa Cruz for a little over a year, and are all 18 or 19, yet they have each managed to pull off a distinct look of their own. My favorite things in this picture are Jacqueline's Land Before Time shirt, Zoe's floral pants, and Kayla's button up maxi skirt.
The girls agreed that their favorite places to shop were thrift stores.
" always the shit" said Kayla
"I love the 50 percent off everyday store" added Jacqueline, in reference to the Front Street Thrift Center, which boasts of a never-ending half off discount.
Dawn Dininni is the perfect example of somebody with Santa Cruz style.
She struts her stuff in comfort, and expresses her creativity through her eclectic wardrobe. Her "giant '90s throwback bell bottoms" have a presence of their own. And if that wasn't enough of a statement, she's paired them up with one of her matching caps, which she decorated with flowers herself.
She described these DIY flower hats as "her look", and swears that she never goes anywhere without them. So what’s Dawn's advice to scoring a look as impressive as hers? "Hit any thrift store that exists, you never know what you're going to find"
It's not often that you meet adults in Santa Cruz that have lived here their entire lives, but when you do, their local pride is hard to hide. After catching my eye with his awesome socks from , 33-year-old Adam explained to me how Santa Cruz's fashion sense differed from the rest of the country's. "It's one of the last places to be civilized on the map. The pioneers came from the East, and a lot of them broke down in the mid-west, but the ones that kept going made it to Santa Cruz. We're made out of people that keep on going, and keep pushing the envelope"