California Love

When my parents invited me to join them on their vacation to Los Angeles, I was hesitant-- to say the least. Although I have many trusted friends who love LA, I’ve never had any interest in visiting that part of the country. Hollywoodland had just never appealed to me: too big, too bright, too many people thinking they’re cool. But after my spring semester ended – and at the encouragement of my friends – I caved and agreed to fly out and spend three days with Mom and Dad in sunny California.


My initial fear was, of course, a totally superficial one: WHAT DO I PACK TO WEAR? Looking back, I can see that I was guilty of the exact thing that unfairly repulsed me about the reputation of the city: caring so much about looking “cool.” I was embarrassed in advance of undoubtedly being viewed by all the gorgeous celebrities that I was sure to meet as a pathetic country bumpkin with no style whatsoever. In my mind, everyone in LA was perfect and fit and effortlessly stylish and polished and tan and white-teethed and glowing.

[caption id="attachment_1975" align="aligncenter" width="400"]yes, this is a real human being. google "real life Barbie" and prepare to barf. yes, this is a real human being. google "real life Barbie" and prepare to barf.[/caption]

“Do girls still wear skinny jeans in LA?” I wondered. “If it’s cool in Arkansas, it probably isn’t cool there anymore.” Lol all you want, but these are seriously the things I was worried about. According to my sources, and by “sources” I mean “songs by the Beach Boys and Katy Perry,” I was under the impression that California girls were the manifestation of canned feminine sexuality: all fake boobs and tiny outfits and tall heels. So I resigned myself to looking like the pasty tourist that I was, I packed my least fashionably-offensive outfits, and boarded my plane with expectations of being shamed back to Arkansas for my muffin-top and Levi’s.

[caption id="attachment_1971" align="aligncenter" width="320"]not accurate. not at all. not accurate. not at all.[/caption]

Luvvies, I couldn’t have been more wrong. First of all, the only person who gave a damn about my clothes (or anyone else’s, for that matter), was me. I was wrong, so very wrong, for trying to pinpoint the “LA-girl style” down to one plastic look. The fashions in LA are so diverse and wide-ranging, it’s almost as if nothing is truly “trendy,” or perhaps everything is. True, there are some California women who fit and perpetuate that stereotype. But on the average, their sunny styles are manageable, accessible, affordable, and comfortable.

After doing a lot of people-watching and a little shopping, here are some of the incredible pieces that I fell in love with (and some I had to bring home with me!):

[caption id="attachment_1966" align="aligncenter" width="419"]the shirt of the summer, right here. the shirt of the summer, right here.[/caption]

Above you'll see the Bella Dahl split-back summer button-up. This shirt is light, flow-y, and buttery soft. I saw a lot of hip young California chicks sporting these smock-style blouses with tiny jean shorts (from this point on, "jorts") or with skinny jeans/leggings. And yes, I bought it. In the gorgeous turquois that you see above. No shame.

[caption id="attachment_1972" align="aligncenter" width="250"]high-waisted pants are the almost-thirty's best friend! get 'em here. high-waisted pants are the almost-thirty's best friend! get 'em here.[/caption]

Just a couple of weeks ago Darcy and I were musing on the wearability of high-waisted pants. I choose to believe that this particular trend came back into style at the precise moment in my body's timeline when I needed them to. The jeans seen above are the high-waisted skinny from Madewell, and they are freaking magical. For the short girls out there, (I feel your pain), this cut and fit will shorten your torso and make your legs look super long. These also came home with me.

[caption id="attachment_1968" align="aligncenter" width="260"]brightly colored sneakers are a must.-- make your feet pop here. brightly colored sneakers are a must.-- make your feet pop here.[/caption]

Now, lots of the gals in LA were rocking crazy elaborate heels, some of which looked like they would require vaseline and two or three days to actually get into. I was more interested, of course, in the fashionable flats of the West Coast. Above you see a brilliant pair of Gola sneakers (conveniently sold at Madewell). They're light and comfortable and look great with jorts, jeans, or a cute dress. Very casual, but oh so fun.

[caption id="attachment_1974" align="aligncenter" width="320"]quite a strapping shoe, wouldn't you say? buy them here. quite a strapping shoe, wouldn't you say? buy them here.[/caption]

Now for those of you who need to feel the sun on your toes, see the Strappy Flat Sandal from Zara. This is a classic take on the very popular gladiator style, and once again, a shoe you could wear with pretty much anything.

[caption id="attachment_1973" align="aligncenter" width="250"]peep this, luvvies: get 'em here. peep this, luvvies: get 'em here.[/caption]

And finally, we have the cake-topper: sunglasses. These amazing pop-art shades (seen above) are available in various other colors from Madewell. They're a much-needed break from the transcendent Wayfarers. The rounded cat-eye shape feels at once feminine and fun.

Well there you have it, my dears. My insecurities regarding my fashion sense, while not completely groundless, were put at ease once I really began to take note of the casual, carefree vibe of the young women in Los Angeles. Not only do I recommend visiting there, but while on vacation anywhere outside your comfort zone, I strongly suggest you take visual style tips from the locals. Meanwhile, I'll be here in Arkansas, trading out my overalls and cowboy boots for some fresh West Coast trends.

I will say, though: It's good to be back in the South. I missed y'all.



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