7 Impressive California Clothing Brands to Watch for Men

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Sep 25, 2020
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Looking to support local brands? We put together a list of our seven favorite California clothing brands that give back to their communities and will boost your style game.

Best for an active California lifestyle
  • Wide range of apparel from working out to yoga to rock climbing
  • Our favorite item is the Kore lined short
  • Free shipping over $75 and free returns
Best for explorers
  • Unique outerwear built for fashionable exploration
  • Our favorite item is the Shadow Jacket
  • Free shipping and 30-day returns
Best for surfer style
  • Sustainable surf fashion brand from Kelly Slater
  • Our favorite item is the Apex trunk
  • A portion of your purchase goes to ocean conservancies
Best for custom made
  • Based on a crowd-funding model—they only create as many pieces as are pre-ordered
  • Our favorite item is their Ojai jacket
  • 20% off your first purchase
Best for fitted shirts
  • American classics built with some of the best fabrics
  • Our favorite item is their Oxford cloth button down
  • Virtual fitting available
Best CA made watches
  • Simple, high-quality field watches
  • Our favorite item is their C5 field watch
  • Free shipping, 2-year warranty, and generous return policy
Best CA made sunglasses
  • Stylish, polarized sunglasses that feel like Southern California
  • Our favorite item is the Hexagram glasses
  • Free shipping and 45-day returns

The Golden state is known for its laid back culture and devotion to the outdoors. 

But California is fast-becoming a fashion capital. New York better watch it’s back.

Whether you’re a Californio and just looking to shop small, local brands, or you’re from out of town and trying to perfect the look, we’ve got you covered. 

Let’s cut straight to the chase—here are our favorite clothing brands based in California.

7 Best California Clothing Brands for Men

1. Vuori

model running wearing vuori workout shorts and tradewind t shirt

Vuori builds their clothing lines around the activities of your day. It’s nice to think you might have a separate outfit for the gym, for home, and for going to the store, but life isn’t like that. 

So the brand created a line of clothing that takes the function of workout clothing and makes it stylish. 

closeup of model wearing vuori kore workout shorts

We tried a few pairs of shorts, shirts, and their ripstop climber pants and we were big fans. Their workout shorts were perfect for working up a sweat, and they fit well enough to wear to the local brewery on a Saturday afternoon. 

But Vuori doesn’t only do workout clothes—their range extends to climbing clothes, yoga outfits, and surfwear. 

model wearing vuori short sleeve crest shirt and climbing ripstop pants

And that speaks to everything that Californians are—there’s too much to do and see to stick with just a single hobby. 

If your ideal day sounds like waking up early for a yoga session and then heading out to the beach for kayaking and a swim, only to follow up with freshly shucked oysters and some local beer, Vuori is worth checking out. 

What We Like

  • Their lined Kore short is our favorite workout short. They’re comfortable, supportive, and fit well enough to wear casually. 

  • The rip-stop climbing pant is the perfect balance of effortless and stylish. Yes, they’re hyper casual, but they’re a fun alternative to joggers, and they’re built to withstand the rigors of rock-climbing.

  • Everything fits well enough to where a workout outfit feels like a stylish casual ensemble. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The pant sizing is in S-M-L rather than waist sizes, which can lead to some confusion ordering. 

What Other Reviewers Think

Some reviewers swear by their shorts (count us in on the list, too). 

Vuori Reviews

For instance, their Kore short has a 4.8-star average rating with nearly 1,500 reviews. And that’s just one of their styles. 

Across the board, folks seem to love the way Vuori’s clothes fit and they’re happy with the durability. 

The Verdict

There aren’t many brands that can make clothes that hit the delicate balance between fashion, comfort, and lifestyle. 

Vuori nails it. 

Their lineup has nothing we’d consider “smart and sharp,” which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s worth considering. They’re really all about the play (as much as an intense workout is fun). 

So if you love going climbing, doing yoga, working out, and just living your life out under the sun, Vuori is definitely worth looking into.

Vuori

Vuori’s lineup of performance-wear looks and feels good. Their sizes are on the small side, so if you’re in between, go larger. Their customer service is on-point so you can focus on getting clothes that take you from the gym to the lake to a Sunday stroll.

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2. Aether

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Aether’s clothes are inspired by old world exploration, but they have a technical twist and a modern fit that makes for unique and appealing apparel. 

Based on Melrose avenue in Los Angeles, the brand is equally stylish for urban explorers and outdoor adventurers.

What We Like

  • The clothes have innovative designs made with technical fabrics, all with a minimalist aesthetic.

  • Aether HQ is 50% solar powered with plans to go 100%.

  • Amazing outerwear for spring through winter. 

What We Don’t Like

  • The cost can be prohibitive for some.

What Other Reviewers Think

The LA Times, New York Times, Vogue, GQ, and Outside magazine all say positive things about Aether.

The LA Times New York Times Vogue Aether

As for non-professional reviews, many folks consider them a “more-casual, civilian” version of Arc’teryx. 

The fit is a little more bulky, but if you’re looking for a lightweight jacket that looks great and can keep you warm in a New York winter, Aether comes up as a solid option time and time again.

The Verdict

Aether’s minimalist style technical coats are unique and plenty warm enough to handle those brisk southern California winters. And you better be prepared when the temperature drops to 50 degrees (10 celsius for those of you abroad planning your winter trips to LA). 

In all seriousness, Aether’s commitment to giving back to the LA community and their modern fits make them a great discovery for those looking into Californian fashion brands.

Aether

Aether creates clothes for the modern adventurer, whether you're exploring the urban jungle or beyond. This California brand has everything from motorcycle helmets to sub-zero jackets.

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3. Outerknown

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Founded by legendary surfer Kelly Slater, Outerknown is our top shop for people looking to get their relaxed southern California surfer style going. 

Their boardshorts are made with recycled plastic salvaged from the Pacific, and while they’re our favorite Outerknown items, their jeans, sweaters, and tees have earned high praise, too.

What We Like

  • Outerknown is constantly pushing the boundaries of sustainability in clothing. They have a solid 10-year plan on leading by example in building a better fashion industry. 

  • Their Apex boardshorts are made with recycled bottles and fair trade certified.

  • Beyond boardshorts, Outerknown has a collection of cool linen clothes ideal for beach barbecues.

What We Don’t Like

  • Some reviewers felt the velcro on the boardshorts could be slightly better.

What Other Reviewers Think

Over 5,000 men and women have given Outerknown 5-star reviews. Their linen jumpsuits, boardshorts, wetsuits, and bbq shirts are fan-favorites. 

Customers seem to become lifelong fans because of Outerknown’s strong mission statement, excellent customer service, and cool style.

The Verdict

What’s more Californian than enjoying a relaxing day on the beach? 

Leaving the world looking a little better, that’s what.

Outerknown’s devotion to sustainability mixed with their cool, beachy style make them a fantastic choice for those planning a beach trip.

Outerknown

Backed by surf legend Kelly Slater, Outerknown makes trunks from recycled water bottles and beach-ready gear that will make you say "dude" more often than you'd like.

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4. Taylor Stitch

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Based in San Francisco, Taylor Stitch aims to make clothes that will withstand chopping wood, but still look great going to the office. 

Their approach to sustainability is unique—first, their clothes are built to last for decades. And second, all their clothes are made after a pre-order process, so they only make as many as they need, reducing waste and cost at the same time.

What We Like

  • The fabrics and construction are some of the best quality we’ve ever seen. 

  • All clothes have a slim, modern fit. 

  • Get 20% off your first purchase.

What We Don’t Like

  • The pre-order process is awesome because it reduces waste and cost, but if you’re excited about a new upcoming item, it can take months before you get it.

What Other Reviewers Think

Taylor Stitch used to make all of their clothes in the USA, but they’ve moved a lot of production to China, which upset many reviewers. 

After doing some digging, the founder, Mike Maher, wrote a long Reddit post describing exactly why they made the move. It pointed out a much larger issue in American manufacturing: China has factories that are better equipped to make excellent clothes than American factories. Simply put: some overseas-produced clothes are just better than American clothes.

Considering that Taylor Stitch would have to ship fabric back and forth and back again to produce a pair of pants, and that ecological impact was too much. So they consolidated to reduce their carbon footprint and bring more consistency in their clothes.

The Verdict

Taylor Stitch as a brand has been open about what it’s like to operate a small American clothing company. Their clothes are made with the best quality fabrics, and they’re designed to last for decades—not just for a season or two. 

If you can handle the wait for their crowdsourced products, you can find some true gems for excellent prices.

Taylor Stitch

Taylor Stitch uses crowdfunding to ensure they make just enough to meet demand without overstocking so they can keep their prices lower. The brand has a unique, wear-for-life ethos that we can get behind.

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5. Buck Mason

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With a virtual fitting room, Buck Mason can deliver top quality classic American style staples that fit perfectly out of the box. 

Since their start in Venice, California, Buck Mason has built a reputation for supplying LA’s celebrity stylists

If they’re good enough for Ryan Gosling, they’re good enough for us.

What We Like

  • Many of their clothes have a worn-in, stylish-but-not-pretentious look: they seem effortless.

  • The clothes are reasonably priced for high end materials. 

  • A virtual styling room really helps get the right fit on the first try. 

What We Don’t Like

  • No international shipping available. 

What Other Reviewers Think

Buck Mason has been the best kept secret for LA celebrity stylists, which is shocking considering that Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, and Tom Brady have all been spotted wearing their stuff. 

Whether you’re visiting them in-store or online, their customer service seems to be solid and customers keep coming back for the fit.

The Verdict

If you want to look like a celebrity but don’t want to look like you tried to hard, check out Buck Mason.

Their effortless style and virtual fitting room are more than enough to deck you out for a day on Hollywood boulevard.

Buck Mason

The best kept secret of Hollywood stylists, Buck Mason brings a rugged edge to L.A. Their American style classics are built with top-quality fabrics and materials.

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6. VAER

Vaer c5 field watch on model with sunglasses

VAER makes a mean field watch. If you’re a watch enthusiast, a quick glance at the spec-sheet on the C5 is cause for pause. 

The small Venice-based team of two behind VAER focuses on building the best watch that can stand up to a morning of surfing, and blend in perfectly at the office.

What We Like

  • The C5 has excellent specs: Swiss movement, domed sapphire glass, 10atm water resistance, and assembled in the USA.

  • Considering the quality, these watches are a steal price-wise.

  • Each watch is shipped with a second strap. 

What We Don’t Like

  • Their leather strap is a little unrefined and is hard to get on. 

What Other Reviewers Think

VAER rocks a near-perfect 4.8-star average with over 1,100 reviews.

Vaer Reviews

Reviewers love the simple uncomplicated style and appreciate the durability.

The Verdict

For a no-fuss watch that looks great, it’s hard to find a better value than VAER. And if you head out to Venice beach in the mornings, you’re likely to see the founders out on the waves before they head to work. 

The VAER C5 is a fantastic deal and it’s quickly become a go-to for us here at TAM because of its versatility. You can naturally wear it working out, surfing, taking a shower, or at the office.

Vaer Watches

VAER is a prime example of the shift in watchmakers toward quality and affordability. As a small brand, there are some struggles around shipping times, but their field watches offer killer value that’s hard to find elsewhere.

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7. Blenders Eyewear

blenders eyewear review featured image model wearing whiskey shiner hexagram sunglasses against sunrise

This one is for the partiers.

Based in Pacific Beach, San Diego, Blenders Eyewear makes polarized sunglasses in bright, bold colors. 

All Californians have sunburned their eyeballs at one point or another. You do that once, and you don’t do it again. If you’re from out of town, check out Blenders and don’t make the same mistake we did. 

What I Like

  • The frames come in fun colors like electric teal, and they have designs you can’t find elsewhere.

  • All lenses are polarized and full UV spectrum protected, which is perfect for when you’re driving or at the beach.

  • Free shipping on orders over $40 and free returns.

What I Don’t Like

  • Some of the frames fit large when we tried them. 

What Other Reviewers Think

Blenders is well known throughout California and they’ve built a loyal following.

Blenders Rating

With a 4.9-star average across over 7,500 reviews, it’s safe to say that folks are generally happy with what they get from the brand. 

Our experience with Blenders Eyewear was similarly positive.

The Verdict

Planning a trip to the beach? 

At the risk of sounding like your parents: you need to protect your eyes. And at the risk of sounding like your highschool peers: you should look cool.

Blenders Eyewear can check both boxes, and they’re our top pick for sunglasses that embody the southern California lifestyle. 

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Blenders Eyewear
(Get 15% off with code ADULTMAN15)

Blenders Eyewear isn’t for everyone. The style of their sunglasses is loud, bold, and fun-loving. But they do offer nice balance between quality and value, so if loud, bold, and fun-loving describes you, well, you’re in luck.

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Hang Loose

There are a ton of other Californian fashion brands, but none of them do it quite like our top seven. 

From high performing workout clothes to laid back surfer vibes, this list has an outfit for the many Californias you know and love. 

So what’s it going to be? A day at the beach? Street tacos?

Why not a little of everything?

FAQs

How should I dress in California?

It depends on the season and where you’re going. Southern California tends to stay warm through the winter (unless you’re in the desert) and gets very hot in the summer. Jeans are always appropriate and you can get by most of the time with a shirt and a light layer.