Los Angeles is one of the most popular destinations to visit because of its “Hollywood” allure. People move to L.A. to fulfill their acting dreams and live a glamorous lifestyle. Visitors to L.A. often want to immerse themselves in the good life, if only temporarily. One step into this city and you can’t help but notice the fancy cars, sprawling estates, huge production studios, and hundreds of high-end restaurants and clothing boutiques that line famous streets like Sunset and Robertson Boulevards, Rodeo Drive, and Melrose Avenue. Yet, what Los Angeles is known for the world over is its carefree lifestyle. Therefore, the city may be fancy, but the people who live there do not appear to be. It is very common to see someone get out of their Rolls Royce in jeans and a tee shirt and walk into a celebrity hotspot like the Ivy on Robertson Blvd or Mr. Chows in Beverly Hills.
So, what does one wear when traveling to Los Angeles? Los Angeles is divided into several different areas, all of which are noticeably unique in terms of their style and culture. Los Angeles is all about personal style. Whether you are trendy, classic, or have the rock star vibe, pretty much anything goes. The following article will provide you with popular destinations in Los Angeles and what the particular style and culture is for that area. If you are unsure about what type of dress is accepted at a particular venue, make sure to give them a ring before you go. You will eliminate the embarrassment of not being allowed in by making a simple phone call.
The Beaches (Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu)
As you can imagine, the beaches have a very different vibe than the rest of Los Angeles. The beaches tend to be home to the Yuppies of Los Angeles. They have money, corporate careers, and are often not native to Southern California. These are the people who wholly embrace the relaxed casual lifestyle, and you will often find them surfing at 5am before hopping into their BMWs and heading into the office. This is a city where anything goes: from business suits on the beach to board shorts in the board rooms, the beaches are where people work hard and play harder. It’s one of the most go-wih-the-flow places in California, and the allure of the ocean draws both locals and tourists. Sandals are the most essential item in your wardrobe if you are going to cut it on the beach. But besides the ocean, there is much to see at the beaches. In Venice, you will find the most eclectic mixture of people on the entire west coast. Skate boarders, Rasti’s, body builders, entrepreneurs. On the boardwalk, you can buy ANYTHING including t-shirts, paintings, and one-of-a-kind treasures. Abbott Kinney is home to Restaurant Row, with a diverse collection of food, delicious enough to satisfy even the most discriminating foodie. All of these amazing options make this one of the most popular tourist spots in California. Santa Monica is land of the yuppies, a laid-back breed that often has sand in their briefcases! With great shopping, amazing restaurants, and clean beaches, Santa Monica is the epitome of a relaxed lifestyle. Malibu is home to the ocean-loving celebrities who want to get away from the hubbub of the city. Beverly Hills by the sea is filled with multi-million dollar homes and represents the best of both worlds: exclusive enough to ward off the legions of paparazzi, but close enough to the city to not feel out-of-the-loop. Malibu is the essence of relaxed luxury.
Los Feliz/Silverlake/Beachwood Canyon
Comprised of some of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, this area is home to the hipsters, scenesters, artists, poets, and creative talents of the city. Filled with Bohemian culture, creativity, and many unique and interesting people, this area is dedicated to promoting the talents of rising directors, artists, musicians, and designers. There is an abundance of hip boutiques and locally-owned neighborhood restaurants that are considered by many to be the hidden hot spots of L. A. Style in these areas is uniquely your own. From suspenders and bow ties, to moccasins and flip flops, or band shirts and ripped jeans, personal style is key here. If you are an eclectic person who is always looking to discover new music or art, this is the destination for you.
Larchmont Village/Hancock Park
Larchmont Village is a hidden treasure once discovered. This is where the stars of old Hollywood once resided. It has the feel of a quaint small town despite its location in the middle of one of the largest cities in the country.Covered with tasty restaurants and locally-owned boutiques, this unique area is great for escaping the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. Despite being a very upscale area, the dress is very casual, and it’s the perfect area to take your dog for a walk or meet a friend for coffee. In this area, a simple pair of jeans, t-shirt, flat shoes, and a jacket (if needed) will work, day or night.
In our opinion, Hollywood should only be seen at night, yet this is a major tourist destination of Los Angeles. Take a stroll to view the stars’ handprints on Hollywood Blvd and endure the endless shopping of Hollywood-related souvenir stores and popular chain stores like the Gap and Sephora. Located here is the famed Kodak Theater, which is known first and foremost as being home to the Oscars. You’ll also find a myriad of celebrity impersonators lining the streets for your entertainment. Yet, the Hollywood nightlife is where it’s at. It is home to the trendy night clubs you hear and read about in popular tabloids, such as US Weekly. Don’t be surprised to find yourself rubbing shoulders with the biggest celebrities and A-listers in Hollywood, but also don’t be surprised if you can’t get in. Unless you know “someone” or dress to impress, obtaining entry into these clubs can be very difficult to nearly impossible, so don’t be afraid to act like somebody of status. Hollywood is very trendy and all about “who is wearing what." Labels are not important, but a keen sense of style is. How you put together your outfit is important, and accessories are everything. For women, high waist mini skirts, colorful tops, skinny jeans, hats, 3 to 4 inch heels, and sexy stylish dresses will gain you access into the Hollywood nightlife. For men, it’s okay to wear jeans. Pair them with a stylish button up or t-shirt and a sleek blazer or cardigan. Try a pair of Converse shoes or sleek leather boots to complement your outfit, and don’t be afraid to play around with accessories. Adding a cool hat, a skinny tie, suspenders, or a vest will always help to play up that Hollywood vibe. Hollywood is mainly about individuality, and men in this area definitely have style, so don’t be afraid to take a fashion risk.
West Hollywood/Sunset Plaza
West Hollywood is the bridge between Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This is one of the most popular areas for dining, nightlife, shopping, and just for experiencing the perfect Los Angeles day. Men and women come here to shop on popular streets like Robertson, which houses famous one-of–a-kind stores like Kitson, Lisa Klein, Madison, and so much more. You are almost always guaranteed a celebrity sighting here. Another popular destination is Sunset Plaza which has a chic European feel. Many people enjoy sitting on the patios of the restaurants while having a glass of wine and people watching. This is another great shopping area with unique stores such as Tracey Ross, Zadig & Voltaire, and Traffic. If you are looking for the local spots, where the average tourist wouldn’t frequent, there are many wonderful shopping and dining destinations on Beverly Blvd, 3rd Street, and Melrose. The east end of Melrose is a great place for the budget shopper who still wants to stay up to date with the trends, but at a cheaper cost. The west end of Melrose houses more upscale stores, such as Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenburg, and the popular local L.A. boutique Fred Segal. The dress in West Hollywood is casual during the day making jeans, sundresses, shorts, shirts, heels, or flats all appropriate. Night time apparel is hip and slightly more dressed up. Women will want to wear their best pair of dark jeans or a stylish pair of slacks and heels with a great blouse, and men can wear a nice t-shirt or casual button up with jeans and a sleek loafer or a clean pair of canvas shoes.
We know you don’t need much of a description here. As many know, Beverly Hills is one of the most desirable and expensive places to live in Los Angeles. Although it does not have much of a night life, this is where you would go for an upscale dinner or to shop in luxury stores. Even if your pocketbook doesn’t resemble a celebrity’s, a trip to Los Angeles is not complete without walking around Rodeo Drive and the neighboring streets. Window shopping costs much less and can be just as much fun as actually buying. Of course, people-watching is always free. It’s not out of the norm to spot a celebrity or a few high-powered agents, who are easily differentiated from anyone else in the entertainment industry because of their tendency to be the only ones wearing suits at lunch.
During the day you want to be comfortable, yet put together. Fight the urge to do the easiest thing and leave the J-Lo-inspired velour sweat suit at home. Appropriate dress would be a great sundress or your favorite pair of jeans with a comfortable day shoe (ballet flat, Converse, loafer, etc.) and a stylish shirt. For the evening, you will want to turn it up a few notches. This is the time to break out the inherited jewels, the highest heels in your closet, platinum cufflinks, fancy watches, or that fantastic outfit that has yet to make it out of the closet. Although you don’t need to overdo it (if you think Björk would wear something, you should not), feel free to experiment and break out of your comfort zone. Almost anything goes in L.A. as long as you wear it with confidence and pride. L.A. is a very diverse and forgiving city, so don’t feel intimidated or scared to try something new.
For those really looking to take a voyage, downtown L.A. is home to the famous Santee Alley where you can find anything from colored contacts to gold chains and everything in between. It houses a major jewelry district as well as many designer showrooms. Often they will have sample sales where the determined bargain hunter can find some amazing deals.