It's a little different being preppy out here in California. I specifically live in Northern California. I think if you live in Southern California, specifically LA, it might be even harder, although the weather is warmer. Anyway, what's different for us out here? First off preppy isn't a western tradition. Those original wagon train travelers didn't come with their sperry topsiders! Neither did those prospectors. I think the West has always had a different feel than the East Coast (and I've lived both places) It's more of a swing by the seat of your pants, doing it your own way kind of mood. This goes for our politics too.
Second, the iconic prep schools that turn out preppies are all back East. Ok, there are some here, but not the ones that truely matter.
Third, stylewise it is way more casual. This is Silicon Valley territory. The guy next to you in ripped sweats who hasn't shaved in a month is probably CEO of the next hot thing. People just don't dress up. It's almost like it is a stigma. I used to get get tons of comments about "how dressed up" I am because I was wearing a button down with a sweater and driving mocs at drop off in the mornings at school instead of sweats or workout clothes. Now of course I go from drop off to the office so that's different. I like to look put together, sue me.
It's really hard to pin down what's different but I think the biggest thing is the absence of the tradition. Sure, every third person out here is orginally from somewhere else (one of my best friends is a Chicago born Middlebury grad) which is where those of us who are the native preps find our soul mates.
I personally am a native Californian who went ot college in Connecticut. Even before my college days I was a total prep. My sister says I am just "so traditional" like thats a bad thing. I take it as a compliment. It's just the way I am and the way I am raising my kids. Manners matter and I think to many people forget that in so many ways these days. The world would be a better place if there were more preppies, don't you think?