As a native Angeleno (who’s only lived in Los Angeles my entire life), I’m not too familiar with the bitter chill of an East Coast winter. I’ve never had a snow day, shoveled my driveway after a blizzard, or walked to work layered to the heavens in heavy coats to keep warm. Yes, I’m spoiled. That said, it does get cold here in Southern California, particularly in the early mornings and evenings. And since I famously freeze once the temps hit below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (typical L.A. gal, right?), I always prepare a strategy for winter dressing for the temperate climate I know and love.
Now, because the weather can hit as low as 40 to 45 degrees come December, I like to stock up on heavier separates that can easily work with any of my lighter everyday essentials. In fact, my winter wardrobe strategy is not unlike a transitional one for fall, with the exception of sturdier outerwear.
So, once December rolls around, my lightweight trench coats thrown over floaty dresses and mini skirts are replaced with down parkas. My trusty jean and tee combo is supplemented with a shearling jacket and leather knee boots. And slinky skirts and cropped sweaters are warmed up with a versatile puffer vest. The key here is to ensure the layers are easily peeled off should the day shift to a warmer state.
Ahead, see the three outfit formulas getting me through this temperate L.A. winter. It’s good to be a California girl.
Formula #1: Dress + Parka + Sneakers
With holiday season in full swing, I love indulging in all things sheer and lacy. But, to save my exposed skin from the chilly LA nights, I’ll top it with a robust down parka. Luckily, this year’s offerings strike the perfect balance of style and substance, with brands like Aritzia and Canada Goose making full-length outerwear in festive colorways and luxe finishes. For day-to-night wear, I’ll typically pair a flowy dress with cool sneakers and a statement handbag.
Formula #2: Skirt + Sweater + Puffer Vest
I can’t deny the easy allure of a slinky maxi skirt and cropped sweater. To warm up the look, I’ll add a seasonal favorite that is arguably the most versatile winter essential in my wardrobe: a neutral puffer vest. Although casual at first glance, the piece can be elevated with the right separates and accessories. Thrown over a skirt and paired with kitten-heeled boots, and you’re ready for happy hour with friends or date night.
Formula #3: Jeans + Boots + Shearling Jacket
For a more casual day of errand running or work appointments, I’ll reach for my go-to jean-and-tee combo. But, for a winter-appropriate approach, I’ll add some knee-high boots and keep a cozy shearling coat handy in the event of dropping temps or icy winds. Although this look is basic in nature, you can easily add in seasonal trends like Western-style boots or a platform lug pair.