Just six weeks ago, I made the cross-country move from New York City to Los Angeles. I had lived in L.A. before—years actually—but two seasons of winter blizzards and subway commuting were long enough for me to forget how to dress in California. Soon after I landed on the West Coast, though, I realized that some swift wardrobe edits were in order.
As the weeks passed, I noticed that some of my New York wardrobe essentials were sitting in the back of my closet. First, it was the leather pants. Even though they were practically my second skin in NYC, they've been unworn since I arrived. Then, it was the trench coat. A staple in NYC and trips to Paris, there never seems to be the right time to wear it. Next, it was the oversize bag. I no longer needed a huge tote to cart around everything I needed to get me through the day. Soon to follow were my over-the-knee boots, hats, and sweaters—all pieces that had been in heavy rotation on the East Coast.
I realized that both cities are places where style is important, just in very different ways. The New Yorker must have a more calculated approach to dressing for the day. All things need to be considered before leaving the house: the weather report, the number of blocks to the subway, and office attire that can seamlessly transition to a post-work date. In L.A., there's a more casual approach to getting dressed that matches the casual attitude of the people who live here. Jeans at the office aren't just reserved for casual Fridays, and sunglasses are the most important accessory you'll own.
Below, I'm breaking down the six key pieces I've been wearing since I relocated to the West Coast. Read on for my L.A. girl wardrobe essentials, and shop the pieces that made my list.
L.A. WARDROBE ESSENTIALS
1. Jeans: Let's face it, denim is an essential in L.A. A good pair of jeans are the backbone of a California girl's wardrobe, and they are surprisingly versatile.
2. Statement tops: The perfect thing to pair with denim is an exaggerated statement top. Mine carry me anywhere from the office to a dinner party to a weekend trip to the farmers market.
3. Sunglasses: Not only are sunglasses a cool accessory, but they're also downright necessary. All of those blue skies mean a pair of sunnies is a must.
4. Mules: L.A. is a driving city, and the farthest you'll walk on an average day is from your car to the coffee shop to pick up an iced latte. Since your step count is so low, pointed mules with a heel are a breeze to wear.
5. Small bags: In NYC, you're carrying your entire life inside your bag, so you have to pack a lot in there. That's not the case in L.A., so I've been downsizing to mini versions of my favorite bags.
6. Leather jacket: This is a year-round staple. It never gets too cold in L.A., but temperatures sink at night, so it's always important to bring a jacket to layer.
SHOP PIECES TO WEAR IN L.A.
This straight-leg cut looks great paired with pointed mules.
Statement tops are the perfect piece to pair with denim, and they can take you from day to night.
Unexpected ruffles give this one-shoulder top a cool spin.
A pair of ray-shielding sunglasses is a must in L.A.
We love the white tortoise and gold details.
I've been wearing this satin mule on repeat.
I'm calling this an It shoe for spring. Get them before they sell out.
I've been swapping out oversize bags for smaller versions.
Metallic ring bags are a cool update on the bucket styles.
A leather jacket is the perfect layering piece.
This affordable motorcycle jacket from DSTLD has become a closet staple.
Next, read about the unconventional denim trend that's everywhere.