There were many big differences I encountered when I moved from London to L.A. The glorious sun and 70º weather versus 40º gray and rainy weather. The car culture and atrocious traffic versus beautiful city walks and trusty London cabs. And (my Hollywood-obsessed mom's favorite) glittering actors versus well-suited bankers.
But as I settled into my sunny Santa Monica home, the biggest change was my wardrobe. Suddenly, there was no longer a place for trench coats, edgy boots, and all-black ensembles, while luxurious yoga pants and white T-shirts became my uniform du jour. I'd never dream of wearing leggings and sneakers to lunch in London, but in L.A., it is the dress code.
For anyone who's moved to a new city, there are many things that factor into the dress code of a place; the climate, transportation, and even the prominent business industries. Scroll below to see what fashion items I embraced for the sunny West Coast lifestyle and the biggest sartorial differences between the two fashion cities. Shop the looks no matter which side of the pond you're on.
Original Illustration by Nicole Cha
If there's one item that gets a lot of use in London, it's a raincoat or trench coat. I set that aside in sunny L.A. in exchange for a lighter and more versatile denim jacket. It works perfectly with the laid-back L.A. vibe and is also a great option on cooler evenings. Other jackets I get a lot of use out of in L.A. are a cropped leather jacket and a utility jacket.
Available in sizes 0 to 12.
Available in sizes XXS to XL.
From knee-high boots with skirts to edgy ankle boots with jeans, boots were definitively my shoe of choice in London. And while I still get a lot of wear out of my ankle boots in L.A. (paired with floral dresses and denim skirts), sandals—flat or heeled—really do reign supreme most of the year, from work to weekend and everywhere in between.
Available in sizes 8.5 to 12.
Available in sizes 5 to 11.
Available in sizes IT35 to IT42.
Available in sizes 6 to 11.
I said goodbye to most of my structured skirts for L.A.'s ultimate wardrobe staple: denim shorts. Wear with a graphic tee, longline blazer, and sneakers for a Sincerely Jules–esque Cali look.
Available in sizes 0 to 14.
Available in sizes 24 to 30.
Okay, so technically, I still use my skinny jeans a lot, no matter where I am in the world, but leggings have definitively taken over my L.A. wardrobe, especially living near the beach where people seem to be exercising all the time. Whether I'm running errands or grabbing green juice on the weekend, you'll find me in some ultra-comfy cropped Lululemons. West Coast casualness at its finest.
Available in sizes 24 to 32.
Available in sizes 2 to 12.
I don't think there was ever a day that I stepped out without a scarf in London. Even in summer, I'd always carry a lightweight one or a neck scarf as my chic statement accessory. Five thousand miles later, and sunglasses are now my accessory du jour. In fact, I couldn't imagine a day in L.A. without wearing them at some point, whether it's to protect my eyes driving in the car or as a stylish finishing touch to an outfit. Don't travel to L.A. without a pair.
While I haven't abandoned my city-slick structured purse altogether, I do find I get a lot much more use out of an easy, breezy crossbody bag in L.A. Casual and versatile, this easygoing bag is the perfect option for day-to-night style.
Which city style do you prefer? Check here for more closet staples L.A. girls swear by.