Hip Me, MetaFilter. You're my only hip. (LA edition)
January 15, 2014 5:53 PM   Subscribe

I know what to wear in New York. (Black) I know what to wear in Tokyo. (Kawaii!) But I have absolutely no idea what to wear to a hip art opening and for a weekend staying in a hip LA hotel. Difficulty factors: poor, frumpy. Please dress me!

Through almost no fault of my own I'll be spending a long weekend next month soaking in the LA art scene and staying in one of the hippest new hotels. I will feel a lot better if my outfits "fit in." No illusions of being mistaken for a hipster/starlet but don't want to look as if I've come in from the farm to sell my butter and eggs, either.

Suggestions for a couple of outfits? I'm female, forties, size ten. Most of my clothing is currently cold-weather, plain pieces in solid colors. Very charitably it could be described as "classic Parisian" but in Hollywood I may just feel old and dull. Please help me not look that way! I have very little $$$ but access to most major chains, good consignment stores, and of course the internets. Thanks!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would look out for a colorful wrap dress. If you can afford it, a DVF wrap dress (you can find them on eBay for about $100 if you're into that sort of thing). These dresses are so versatile and they will last you many, many years. Most importantly, they are incredibly flattering.
posted by ancient star at 6:07 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Black definitely also works for LA. In fact, I'd say that, aside from climate differences, anything you'd pack for a trip to New York would probably totally work.

Typical fashion forward LA woman:

loose fitting/flowy tunic type top and/or big flowy cardigan and/or oversized statement-ish jacket
leggings or tight stretchy pants of some kind (or skinny jeans/jeggings?)
boots or ridiculous platforms

Be aware that you will see a lot of skinny fashion victim 22 year olds wearing the following:

crop top
maxi skirt or possibly seasonally inappropriate short shorts (there is no in between)
ridiculous platforms
possibly some kind of ridiculous outerwear like a fur coat or Big Lebowski sweater

Just ignore them. Whatever you're already wearing is probably fine. I was going to say "unless it's a cat sweatshirt or Cosby sweater, but see above about outlandish outerwear.

Also, for what it's worth, I've seen your LA counterpart in retail dressing rooms fretting about what to wear to a trip to New York. People here are just like everybody else, mostly. Even people who look sceney and status conscious.

The main thing to keep in mind is that highs have been in the 80s all week so far. Next month anything is possible, but I wouldn't expect it to be cold.
posted by Sara C. at 6:11 PM on January 15, 2014 [12 favorites]

Thank you both! I have THIS Cabi wrap dress (which I rarely wear because ... pattern). Suggestions for accessories?
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 6:16 PM on January 15, 2014

You can't go wrong with black, seriously. Even here in L.A.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:20 PM on January 15, 2014

OP, is that dress brown or black?

i would go with a chunky turquoise necklace like this or this. if you're not feeling the chunky, maybe something modern/organically shaped or geometric in silver.
posted by koroshiya at 6:27 PM on January 15, 2014

That Cabi will do nicely.

I suspect some of your black ensembles enlivened with a "pop" of color in your accessories will work well, too.

But really, L.A. has a very wide tolerance for what passes as put-together and stylish. Wear the clothes in your closet that make you feel sharp, and you'll be fine.
posted by nacho fries at 6:29 PM on January 15, 2014

The dress is black and brown. Normally I would just go with what makes me feel sharp, and comfortable, but this trip follows a major wardrobe loss from earlier in the year. A lot of my favorite pieces weren't salvageable and what I'm left with just feels pedestrian, fleece, and faded.

Thanks for your patience, I will stop threadsitting now!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 6:33 PM on January 15, 2014

Personally, I would wear that dress with a long (yellow) gold necklace like this one and earrings like this in gold. But I think I'm like you and prefer to go with timeless looks.
posted by ancient star at 6:38 PM on January 15, 2014

Near LA here, and I'd second Sara C. You can't go wrong with flowy tops or dresses. Black is always appropriate, but all black will feel hot if it's um, hot (it was 87 at my house today). If I can over generalize, I find southern CA women dress with more color than say, San Francisco or New York, but you won't feel out of place with more subdued tones. You'll see sandals year-round. I haven't been out of mine in weeks.
posted by cecic at 6:38 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cute flat sandals + good jeans = you'll be fine.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 6:59 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

The only thing I would say about that dress is that it might be a bit dressy depending on the nature of the art events you're attending.

If we're talking Downtown Art Walk sort of stuff (and gallery openings, and a hip party or two), I'd go with more casual accessories and maybe try to give it a bit of edge without coming off costumey (in that I like the suggestion of chunky turquoise jewelry, maybe with boots if you have some that look nice with it).

If we're talking museum gala sort of stuff, yeah, probably still pretty dressy even with the typical LA casualness.
posted by Sara C. at 7:23 PM on January 15, 2014

Seconding Sara C.'s recommendations: the leggings (or skinny jeans) + flowy top/tunic + boots or platforms is a very common L.A. silhouette. Add a funky scarf and some chunky jewelry and you're set.
posted by scody at 8:03 PM on January 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Shoes in LA are vital. You're not walking, or at least you're not looking like you're walking. Platforms, heels, boots--anything but gym shoes and loafers. Purses are less about function (cross body isn't necessary) and more about style. Sunglasses.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:07 PM on January 15, 2014

I dunno, farmers selling their eggs are rather hip these days, especially in the arts district.

Fuck black. Black=I didn't want to try, yet I stil care. Color is far more fun. Wear your normal clothes but with some bright scarves or something. Buying whole new outfits is caring too much.

Wear shoes that will take you more than a block. If someone trots out the old "no one walks," pat them on the head.

If you are staying in an area that isn't walkable, then it's definitely not hip and you should just wear expensive clothes from the mall to fit in.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:21 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Last time I had a major event (movie premier) in LA I agonized over what to wear. Finally ended up in a black suit, black shirt... showed up to find the Director wearing an old sport coat with old jeans...

It's LA, be comfortable, be you....
posted by HuronBob at 2:54 AM on January 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think some very nice jeans, pretty shoes, a simple top and a colorful infinity scarf might be a nice look. Jeans and a jacket if it's cool out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:45 AM on January 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wrap dresses tend to read as 'matronly' to me, rather than hip. I Nth Sara C.'s with the addition of chunky jewelery/scarf and boots (like Scody described.) But ultimately I believe everyone should wear whatever the heck they want.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:10 AM on January 16, 2014

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