Los Angeles Packing List: What to Wear in LA
August 15, 2019
What to Wear in LA: A Local’s Los Angeles Packing List
Visiting the land of Hollywood where one beautiful, botox-ed person walks past, one right after the other? Well, you probably won’t find that directly in Hollywood. That’s a common misconception…There are beautiful people all over Los Angeles — but Hollywood itself isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The reason I bring this up at all is to say that while you might feel pressured to dress a certain way because you’re visiting the entertainment capital of the world; in reality, you are visiting the land of yoga pants, crop tops, oversized hoodies, and fancy sneakers. The great thing about Los Angeles is that every neighborhood has a different vibe. So, you can pretty much wear anything and fit in. No one will give you a second look. And that, is the true beauty of this city.
What to Pack for Los Angeles in Winter
Expect temperatures to drop to the 50s (high 40s in January) at night and hover around 60-70 degrees during the day. Jeans or yoga pants and a t-shirt with jacket or oversized sweater is appropriate. Sneakers for a heavy day of sightseeing and some black booties for the rest of the days are your best bet for footwear. Depending on the year (like this year…), there may be some rain. Check the forecast ahead of time, and if so, it is worth it to pack rain boots and a rain jacket. It rarely rains, but when it does, the rain usually lingers for a day or two. I would purchase short rain boots for travel, so that you don’t have to pack incredible bulky boots into your suitcase or wear them on the plane. Note: Scarves aren’t really a thing in LA because it just doesn’t get that cold. If you can nail the beanie look, then by all means bring one along, but most people generally don’t wear full winter garb unless it’s extraordinarily cold. We tend to wear baseball caps and sunglasses and pretend that we are famous and hiding from the paparazzi. Just me? Probs.
Shoes for Winter in Los Angeles:
1 pair of Black Booties
(if necessary) Rain Boots
What to Pack for Los Angeles in Spring
It’s a beautiful time of year to visit Los Angeles! Weather will typically hover around 70 or 80 degrees, so jeans and a t-shirt or tank, a romper, or maxi dress are all a perfect addition to the Los Angeles packing list. Accessorize with some fun sunglasses and a small crossbody bag and you’ve nailed the “California girl” look. To dress up the look at night, you really just need a leather jacket, the key staple for all nighttime events. It’s also important to keep note of a phenomenon in LA we call “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” During May and June, the air starts to warm up, but the water of the Pacific Ocean remain cold. This creates a marine layer that doesn’t “burn off” until mid-morning; so, if you are getting up early to sightsee and dress for overcast weather, it could be quite the shock at 2:00 PM when you are suddenly schlepping around in 85 degree heat. Bring a jean jacket or cardigan that you can tie around your waist or throw in the back seat of your rental car in the afternoon.
Shoes for Spring in Los Angeles:
1 pair of Flats
1 pair of Flat Sandals
1 pair of Black Booties
What to Pack for Los Angeles in Summer
It gets HOT here in the summer, anywhere between 90-105 degrees in Los Angeles is not unreasonable. It is still a bit of a shock when we get into the 3 digits, but that is an inevitable part of living in Los Angeles during the summer. What should you pack for these high temperatures? Dresses, jumpsuits, shorts, tanks, and midi skirts. Flat sandals, flats, sneakers, and flip flops are all great footwear options. You won’t need a jacket until you go inside somewhere and the air conditioning is blasting out of control. In that case, a lightweight cardigan sweater is probably your best bet to keep from getting frostbite when it’s 97 degrees outside. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit and coverup for beach days at the Pacific Ocean! You may also want to pack a Turkish towel if you’re staying at an airbnb.
Shoes for Summer in Los Angeles:
1 or 2 pairs of Flat Sandals – Black and Neutral
1 pair of Flip Flops
What to Pack for Los Angeles in Fall
The first rain of the year usually comes right around Halloween. Up until that point, the weather typically stays around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Angelinos crave seasons so we really try to embrace the whole apple-picking, pumpkin-patching, fall festival vibes wholeheartedly. Bring a distressed jean jacket and a flannel for your Coffee Bean pumpkin-spiced latte which you will immediately take off after wearing for 5 minutes outside. Don’t forget a pair or two of yoga pants. It’s the unofficial LA uniform and consequently, perfectly acceptable to have your butt out and proud in public at the grocery store or at the haunted hay ride.
Don’t forget workout gear, bras, underwear, pajamas, and socks!
Makeup in Los Angeles
While there are plenty of people who don’t wear makeup in LA, visiting friends always seem to remark that they feel more obligated to wear makeup in LA than they do where they currently live. Take that for what you will, but just do what makes you feel best! I wear minimal makeup most days, but I do enjoy the artistry of makeup, so I will include everything I use for full glam and the day-to-day. Here are my go-tos:
Sunscreen/Tinted Moisturizer: Australian Gold SPF 50
Foundation: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue
Concealer: Tarte Shape Tape
Blush: The Balm Down Boy
Highlighter: Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter
Eyeshadow: Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Copper
Eyeliner: Revlon ColorStay
Eyebrow Pencil: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
Mascara: CoverGirl LashBlast Volume
Liquid Lipstick: BareMinerals Gen Nude Liquid Lip in Slay
Lip Balm: Aquaphor
– Sunscreen, face wash, makeup remover wipes, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, nail clippers, small scissors, razor, shampoo, conditioner, soap, floss, tweezers, contacts, contact lens solution, and/or glasses, hand sanitizer
Travel Accessories for Los Angeles
**I HIGHLY recommend purchasing or bringing a car holder for your cell phone. You should rent a car in Los Angeles unless you have a very generous native Angeleno who has ever so graciously offered to drive you everywhere. Between the traffic on the freeways and navigating the surface streets during rush hour, the last thing that you want to do is have to constantly pick up and put down your phone while trying to figure where you are going. Plus, it’s illegal. So do yourself the biggest favor and get this for your car so you can navigate Los Angeles hands-free.
I carry around my Travelon Anti-theft Signature Slim Backpack everywhere I go even in Los Angeles. I don’t worry about pick-pocketing here although it can and does happen apparently. I just love this backpack so much that even though the intention behind the purchase was European travel in pickpocket riddled cities, I wear it daily in LA. At night, I switch it out with a small, black crossbody bag like these:
Since you will be using up a lot of phone battery Waze’ing and Yelp’ing around Los Angeles, it is important to bring a portable charger and car charger so your phone doesn’t run out of battery. You don’t want to miss out on those epic sunset shots at the Griffith Observatory or Santa Monica Pier!
As it gets quite hot in Los Angeles, it might behoove you to bring a compact water bottle. We have great hikes here in Los Angeles: Runyan Canyon, Malibu (Escondido Falls), Topanga State Park, etc., so you want to come prepared to stay hydrated. Don’t worry about getting a filtered bottle because you can drink the tap water here.
Don’t forget your electronics: phone, headphones, camera –plus memory card, battery, tripod(?) — tablet, kindle, beach reads, laptop and subsequent chargers!
Remember your feminine products, packing cubes, travel pillow, earplugs, eye mask, hair accessories, and medicines (Advil, Tylenol, Bandaids, Zinc, Emergencee, Purell, Tums) are my standards.
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Spending more time in Los Angeles? Check out some of my other posts for more of that Cali lifestyle!
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