How to Dress L.A. Casual

Three Parts:Building a Casual WardrobeAccessorizing Your Casual LookDressing for the Neighborhood

In Los Angeles, the days are warm enough to live in tank tops, sandals, and short skirts, and the cool evenings provide ample opportunity for layering with jackets or ponchos. Thanks to LA’s casual, laid-back vibe, t-shirts and denim are practically a uniform any time of year. Dressing LA casual is all about choosing well-made cuts and fabrics that are as comfortable as they are stylish.

Part 1
Building a Casual Wardrobe

  1. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 1
    Start growing your t-shirt collection. LA casual style starts with the basic tee. It turns out this classic item is incredibly versatile. It’s an appropriate top for almost any situation if you style it right. Your collection should include a variety of colors and cuts that you can mix and match with pants or skirts to create endless different looks.[1]
    • Black, white and grey are the essentials, but don't be afraid to wear brighter colors like pink and yellow to stand out.
    • Women in LA wear t-shirts with everything from skinny jeans and leggings to miniskirts or over dresses. If you want to dress up your look, wear a t-shirt made out of silk or another upscale fabric. You could also wear a t-shirt dress for a dressier take on the classic.
    • Men wear t-shirts with either jeans or slacks. Dark, fitted t-shirts add a casual yet upscale urban vibe to your look.
  2. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 2
    Fill your closet with denim. Denim is a closet staple for both men and women in LA. Casual and chic, jeans can be dressed down or up to suit almost any occasion. Most people have several pairs of jeans in different rinses and fits. At the very least, have a pair of fitted skinny jeans and another pair of looser jeans for the days when you really want to feel casual.
    • To dress up a look, wear fitted, dark wash jeans.
    • Women can throw on heels to instantly make denim look classier.
    • Don't forget denim in other forms, like skirts, shirts and jackets.
  3. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 3
    Play with interesting cuts. Since it’s home to thousands of notable people, it’s no surprise that LA is fashion forward. Walk down the street and you’ll see people wearing a variety of cuts and designs that break out of the mold. LA is a good place to experiment with clothes you might not find in a standard suburban mall.
    • Drapey, asymmetrical cuts are popular for women. Try a simple shift dress with an interesting cut-out back or a raw edge along the bottom, or wear a flowy tunic over leggings or tight shorts. If you want to look a bit more feminine or you're going out for a lunch date, a dress is always the best option. Go for loose jersey dresses with thin straps.
    • For men, try a jackets or blazer with an interesting cut over a basic t-shirt.
  4. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 4
    Throw on a sweater or jacket. People in LA know that when the sun goes down, the temperature drops a few degrees. The evenings are pleasantly chilly compared to the blazing hot days. If you plan to be out past sundown, bring along a light layer you can throw on after dark.[2]
    • Drapey cardigans, fitted leather jackets, and trenches are all popular in LA.
    • Styles for men in include jackets and blazers or sweatshirts thrown on when the sun goes down.
  5. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 5
    Gear up for winter. While the temperature never drops too far below 50 °F (10 °C) in LA, it’s still a good idea to have a jacket or two in your closet for when it’s foggy and cold. Most of your wardrobe can make the transition from summer to winter if you're savvy about layering for warmth. A big collection of scarves will also help you stay warm in style.[3]
    • Women can wear warm tights or leggings under skirts, and wear sweaters and jackets over tanks and tees.
    • Men can make the transition by swapping shorts for long pants and wearing fitted cardigans and jackets over tees.
  6. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 6
    Look for natural fabrics. Los Angelenos are concerned about health and wellness, so they care about what materials are used in the fabrics they wear every day. You won't see a lot of polyester and plastic in an LA casual wardrobe. Natural fabrics like cotton or wool blends and leather are the go-to choices.
    • Organic fabrics and dyes are becoming more common. Check out companies that have organic clothing lines.
    • Manufacturing practices are also important to people in LA. Look for casual clothes that were locally made, rather than factory-produced in another country.

Part 2
Accessorizing Your Casual Look

  1. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 7
    Use accessories to showcase your personal style. LA casual clothing is a good blank canvas for playing around with accessories. The muted earth tones are fun to play up with accessories that stand out instead of competing. Brass, rose gold and silver are popular metals to play with, but you could also wear accessories crafted from wood or clay.
    • If you love accessories, go for a bohemian look. For example, you could wear a bold beaded statement necklace, hoop earrings and a stack of silver bangles.
    • On the other hand, the LA casual mentality is that less is more. Understated accessories like a simple gold chain or a single silver bangle help you stay casual and comfortable while also dressing up your look a little.
  2. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 8
    Protect yourself from the sun in style. The sun is famously brighter in LA, and in addition to wearing sunscreen, you’ll need some accessories to protect yourself. Have a good collection of hats and sunglasses you can mix and match to create different LA casual looks.
  3. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 9
    Get playful with footwear. Footwear can completely transform a standard LA casual outfit, helping you make the transition from day to night or outdoor setting to indoor setting with a simple swap. The quintessential casual outfit, jeans and a t-shirt, can be dressed down with a pair of Converse tennis shoes or dressed up with heels, helping you fit in wherever you go throughout the day.[4]
    • Sandals, flip-flops and open-toed heels are popular in LA all year round.
    • Sneakers complement the LA casual wardrobe and keep you comfortable all day.
  4. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 10
    Pack a few dressy items to throw on at night. In LA, you probably don’t have to completely transform your look at night (unless you're going to a truly fancy restaurant or party). Just switch out a few accessories if you’re going out to a restaurant or club.
    • Women typically wear summery dresses or skirts and heels when they go out, but you could get away with wearing dark-wash skinny jeans, a pretty tunic and heels.
    • Men can swap out their sneakers for a pair of dress shoes and show up to a club wearing fitted jeans, a t-shirt and a nice blazer.
  5. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 11
    Accessorize your swimwear. Since LA is right on the beach, people often wear swimwear all day long. Choose swimwear you're comfortable being seen in, since you'll probably be living in it for hours. Cover-ups like sarongs or jean shorts and sheer tops provide a little extra coverage for when you make the transition from chilling on the beach to going to an indoor space.
    • Accessorize your swimwear like any other outfit. Wear jewelry, hats, sunglasses and scarves.
    • Consider buying a large purse that doubles as a beach bag. Totes and other large bags are popular in LA.

Part 3
Dressing for the Neighborhood

  1. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 12
    Go crazy in Venice Beach. It’s an eclectic neighborhood where fashion experimentation is encouraged. When people say "anything goes" here, they really mean it. If you have an amazing piece you've been dying to wear, wear it to Venice Beach. If you'd prefer to stay casual and comfortable, consider dressing up your casual outfit with funky accessories or shoes.[5]
  2. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 13
    Stay comfortable in Griffith Park and other outdoor places. LA is known as a driving town, but Griffith Park and other park areas require a lot of walking. You can wear comfortable clothes and shoes while also looking stylish.
    • Instead of wearing big white tourist sneakers, choose a pair that's more streamlined and chic.
    • Take along a stylish backpack so you can carry water and other essentials.
  3. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 14
    Dress up on Beverly Hills. You might run into a celebrity or two if you decide to go boutique shopping on Rodeo Drive. You can stay LA casual, but you might want to dress up your look with heels and a few high-class accessories so you look like a natural part of the Beverly Hills scene.
    • In Beverly Hills you'll often see women wearing heels, even during the day.
    • Men should wear nice shoes and a jacket to restaurants in the area.
  4. Image titled Dress L.A. Casual Step 15
    Express yourself in Beachwood Canyon and Los Feliz. These neighborhoods are home to artists, musicians and others who like to get creative with their style. The LA casual look is prominent here, so you'll see plenty of people wearing natural fabrics, denim and understated accessories.

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