Carmel by the Sea: A Many-Splendored Destination

If you’re heading to a special place in Carmel by the Sea and expecting to put an address into an app for directions, you’re out of luck—but that’s ok because it’s a charming place to get lost and wander around.  

Enjoy the cozy-luxe feel of cashmere with this boxy turtleneck pullover made to drape effortlessly in a seamless knit without ribbing at the cuffs or hem. Vince.

Using a geographical description instead of a numbered address is one of the quirks that preserves village life in Carmel by the Sea.  For example, the address of La Playa hotel is “Camino Real at Eight Avenue.”  For La Bicyclette, a rustic European bistro, head to “Dolores & 7th.”  If you want to see art by Eyvind Earle, walk to Gallery 21 located at “6th between Dolores & Lincoln.”  

When it comes to receiving mail, residents go to the post office—but that’s ok because it’s an opportunity to walk the dog, chat with neighbors, and stop by Carmel Bakery at “Ocean Avenue, between Dolores St. & Lincoln St.”  Indeed, one of the customs of village life is buying goods directly from local artisans who enjoy face-to-face contact with customers.  

Carmel by the Sea is a premier getaway-by-the-sea in California.  Gently sloped from the Pacific Highway to the Pacific ocean, Carmel by the Sea has an old-world charm that’s enhanced by Monterey Cypress trees, quaint stone cottages, and a heightened sense of coastal joie de vivre.  There are no big-city parking meters or oversized stores, and SV disrupters—eager to escape the fast lane—breathe a sigh of relief when they notice there aren’t scooters disrupting foot traffic on the sidewalks. 

Carmel by the Sea is no place for high heels—but high fashion is welcome with open arms.  Cashmere sweaters outnumber hoodies in the cool, beach-side climate, and trendy block heels trek along boutique-lined streets with a confident stride.  Layers of jewelry and chic scarves accessorize tunics, and Chloé bags—richly detailed with gold accents—have the presence of a style accolade.  And Range Rovers—in sleek black and silver—look especially glamorous when the driver is sporting Dior sunglasses and a french manicure.

Unlike the beach culture in Santa Cruz to the north, the vibe in Carmel by the Sea feels more like jazz than reggae; more languid than laid-back; and more eclectic than eccentric.  However, once you’re on the beach, these impressions fade as you behold the beauty of this stretch of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary.  Walking barefoot in the warm, pearl white sand as the wind tousles your hair is a sublime experience.  The clear blue horizon and the sound of waves breaking on the shore soothes your soul. You feel calm.  Peaceful.  You feel wonderful…because the real enchantment of Carmel by the Sea begins when you arrive at “Ocean Avenue and the Pacific.” 

Flaunt a chic menswear-inspired vibe in these wooly pinstripe trousers, updated with a drapey buckle-centered belt. Vince.

This cashmere pullover that takes you from casual Friday to the weekend with its slouchy yet sophisticated cut. Vince.

A wide sash slims the silhouette of this exquisite coat cut from an Italian fabric blend that features wool, mohair and alpaca. Vince.

A deeply notched vamp that runs as a seam to the pointy toe brings leg-lengthening detail to a smartly styled leather bootie lifted by a broken-profile heel. Vince.

A soft, nubby texture makes this relaxed-fit cotton sweater extra touchable. Vince.

A roomy fit still feels modern and refined in a luxe wool-blend sweater knit with a chill-chasing funnel neck and softened with a kiss of cashmere. Vince.

An oversized sweater doesn't skimp on the snuggle factor thanks to its nubbly textured knit. Vince.

Reverse waist darts nip a tailored houndstooth blazer modernized with slightly shrunken proportions and cropped sleeves. Nili Lotan.

NYC-based Nili Lotan brings a cool urban attitude to casual style with these twill pants in a contemporary high-waisted cut with wide, cropped legs.

Chloe's newest take on the saddle bag updates a classic equestrian-inspired look with a thoroughly contemporary attitude. A wide belt wraps the rounded silhouette, while signature pierced-ring hardware and interchangeable straps complete the luxe style. Chloe.

The maison's namesake hardware adds signature sophistication to a zipped tote crafted from smooth calfskin with curved suede paneling at the topline. Flat top handles allow you to comfortably carry it in hand or in the crook of your arm. Chloe.

This slim turtleneck sweater is sweet and preppy in a scholarly argyle that reverses color at the natural waist. Chloe.

The stretch-silk jacquard of this drapey dress softly illuminates its scaly pattern. Isabel Marant.

Gleaming scalloped trim highlights the contemporary curved silhouette of a smooth leather hobo bag equipped with an adjustable strap for styling versatility. Isabel Marant.

An iconic quilted jacket is reinterpreted as a fitted gilet with a refined equestrian vibe. A touch of bright contrast peeks out the front while an elastic inset in back refines the fit. Barbour.

A sleek dark wash colors stretch-cotton jeans cut with a slim bootcut silhouette designed to flatter curvy figures. Joe's.

Golden dots fall and shimmer like firework embers on a silk blouse with a mandarin collar, lightly puffed shoulders and a colorful chrysanthemum print. ALC.

Slim-fitting trousers are tailored with topstitched center seams that elongate your legs before splitting into footwear-flaunting hems. ALC.

Shake things up on your next denim day with this one-and-done jumpsuit that features traditional topstitching and a waist-defining sash. Rebecca Taylor.

The V-notched shaft on this leather bootie enhances fit and visual interest, further underscored by the wraparound strap with gleaming golden hardware. It's a wear-all-day comfortable-luxe style with signature Jimmy Choo detailing.

A fitted stand-collar blazer tailored from signature wool suiting fabric can be styled for the office, or kept casual with denim. Rag & Bone.

A wool-blend car coat with double the style (that won't take up double the space in your closet) reverses from charcoal grey to a windowpane check pattern. Rag & Bone.

Pushpin hardware modernizes a svelte cap-toe bootie girded with wraparound straps and set on a sculptural block heel. Rag & Bone.

Trios of dots form a triangle pattern on a smart-looking blouse, done with a neatly hidden placket and cut from lustrous silk. Theory.

A slouchier take on classic skinnies, these mid-rise jeans are cut higher in back and are meant to be worn low-slung on the hips. Cuff the hems to play up the casual vibe. Frame.

With a silhouette borrowed from menswear, J.Crew's new oversized blazer is crafted in a herringbone wool from England's Abraham Moon mill. Abraham Moon's is known for producing some of the finest textiles in the world since 1837.

Patterned in a logo-peppered, abstract-camo print, this belted satin midi dress doubles as a drapey three-quarter topper. Ganni.

rending slit hems have a leg-lengthening, ankle-slimming effect on suit trousers tailored from a stretch-wool blend with muted windowpane checks. Tibi.

Crisp accordion pleats create mesmerizing movement on this plunging bow-tied midi dress. Red Valentino.