Chances are, if you’re headed to Los Angeles, you’re down with some form of eco-friendly living. Maybe you’re going to enjoy some world-class vegan meals, go hiking, or indulge in some non-toxic beauty treatments. So when it comes to what to pack for your time in LA, do it in sustainable style, by bringing some ethical and eco clothing for your West Coast adventures.
First, a quick overview of LA style. LAers tend to gravitate toward the colors of the desert and the sunset. But Los Angeles isn’t a monolithic group –– you have tribes ranging from laid-back surfers, to vintage hipsters that have a cowgirl-meets-1970s-flower-child vibe, to actresses with professional makeup and blow-outs. It all depends on what neighborhood you’re in and who you’re meeting up with. Personally, I’m a Brooklynite, and I tend to hang out with creatives and other New Yorkers who have recently moved to LA when I visit. So my style reflects that (and probably involves way too much black.) I’ve built this list is for someone who is just doing the basics –– if you’re going to hang out with surfers, go on a hike, or go out to fancy clubs when you visit, add to this list accordingly!
Los Angeles is a city of sunshine, but it’s in an arid region, so when the sun goes down, the temperature drops. You’ll want to include some layers. I personally like to walk as much as possible, but Los Angeles people prefer driving, so you don’t actually need to stress over packing particularly comfortable shoes or a raincoat.
I’ll give specific recommendations for each item below, but first I wanted to share some brands where you could literally buy anything they offer, and it would fit right in LA’s style: GALERIE.LA, Alternative Apparel, Dazey LA, Reformation, Able, RE/DONE, Whimsy & Row, Triarchy, Dôen, Raven + Lily, Mara Hoffman, Bella Dahl, and Urban Renewal.
With that out of the way, here’s my complete list of what you should pack for a visit to LA:
On the Plane
- Black leggings – These are my tried and true favorites – comfortable, flattering, versatile. You can wear these also hiking or to a fancy studio class.
- Stylish white t-shirt – I like the ones from Amour Vert
- Leather jacket or jean jacket – depending on your personal style.
- Sneakers – pack Veja if you’ll just be wearing them around the city. Or athletic sneakers from the sustainable collections of Nike or Adidas if you plan on going on a hike or run.
- Ankle socks
- Lightweight scarf – I like the ones at Accompany, Lokah, Made Trade, and Miss Pom Pom.
- Comfortable undies in natural fabric
- Mini crossbody purse – I’ve started carrying a mini crossbody purse when I travel, because it gives me quick access to my passport, wallet, and tickets, without me having to take off my backpack. O My Bag and Able both have a ton to choose from. You could also sport a hip bag, but that trend hasn’t really hit LA….yet.
- Sunglasses – here’s my shopping guide to the best eco sunglasses
- City style backpack – This one can go from the city to a hike.
- Mini travel wallet – there’s lots to choose from at O My Bag and Able
- Portable phone charging battery and charging cord
- Reusable water bottle – Los Angelos are super eco-conscious and style conscious. Don’t get to LA without a cute reusable water bottle.
- Chico reusable bag with stuff sack – You can’t just expect people to give you a plastic bag in LA. Come prepared.
- SPF chapstick
- Portable spork – so you don’t have to use a disposable one. Make sure it’s plastic or wood so it doesn’t get confiscated by airport security.
- Mini bottle SPF moisturizing day cream – It’s so great to have this in your backpack or purse at all times, because you’ll find yourself walking around and think, oops! Should have put on sunscreen! Here are my favorites.
- Reusable handkerchief
In Your Suitcase
- Vintage tee – Los Angelos love their vintage tees. Pack one of your faves, or plan to hit up some of the famously good vintage stores when you arrive!
- Lightweight flannel or chambray button-down – find some here and here.
- Sexy tank top and/or crop top
- High-waisted, wide-leg pants for the winter and denim shorts for the summer. Find new ones here, or vintage upcycled ones here.
- Jumpsuit, romper, and/or overalls
- Suede, corduroy, or denim A-line skirt
- Loose jacket/duster – A.K.A. what many brands market as a “kimono.” Find a selection here and here.
- Destroyed light wash jeans – Here’s my roundup of my favorite denim brands
- Casual dress – try Whimsy & Row, All the Wild Roses, Christy Dawn, or Dôen
- Tights – If you’re going in the winter, bring Swedish Stockings to wear under your dress and skirt
- Yoga or fitness outfit – You can throw this on to wear out and about in the city, hiking, or to a fancy LA fitness studio if you want to really get a taste of local culture.
- Ankle boots – here’s my roundup of my favorite boot brands.
- Chunky sandals or slides – Depending on the season. I like the ones at Accompany or Made Trade.
- Chila Bag – Lightweight and fun, you can flat pack this in your suitcase but it holds a lot!
- Kayu clutch — I’ve had mine since 2011 and I still love it! Great for dressing up or down.
- Brimmed hat – it’s sunny and LAers love a good brimmed hat. This brand rolls up for packing, or you could go with one of these or one of these if you’re willing to wear it on the plane
- Casual jewelry – like brass earrings, lariat necklaces, and stackable rings – try Raven + Lily, Made Trade, or Able.
- Bathing suit – A must if you want to go to a pool party at someone’s home or at a hotel rooftop. Look through all my favorite brands of eco swimwear here, and here are some eco-friendly rashguards.
- Underwear and bras. Here’s my tips for packing undies for travel.
In Your Toiletry Bag
Los Angeles is dry, with incredibly mineral-y water. These in tandem will wreak havoc on your hair and skin. Hopefully where you’re staying has a filter for the showerhead, but here’s what to pack just in case: things that let you go a while without washing your hair, and ultra-moisturizing products.
- Argan oil – I can’t live without argan oil for making my hair shiny and smooth, plus sealing in moisture on my face after a shower.
- Super moisturizing body lotion
- Dry shampoo – so you can avoid washing your hair as long as possible.
- Ultra moisturizing night face cream – Night regenerative balm from Apoterra is a lifesaver for dry climates.
- Coola Tinted SPF BB cream – This is my absolute favorite tinted SPF cream
- Micellar water – I prefer Micellar water to face wash. I like Yes to Cucumbers, which you can find in the travel size in your local CVS or Walgreens.
- Reusable cotton pads
- Deodorant – here are my favorites
- Your preferred makeup
- Mini hair iron, curling iron, and/or hairdryer
- Mini hairbrush
- Hair elastics
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Multipurpose soap – this one by Akamai is amazing for shaving as well as cleansing.
- Soap box
- Shower cap
- Shaving razor