Well, here we are. We’re guessing you’ve already said goodbye to your bodega man, and the chorus line of trash bags on your street. New York City will always hold a stinky, gorgeous, humid place in your heart, but now it’s time to move on [clears throat in Joni Mitchell] to California.
I lived in Southern California for the first two decades of my life, and have been on the East Coast for the past three years. I’m obsessed with both. I’m not into coast wars. But [rips bong] where else can you surf and ski in the same day? Drive through jumbo trees? Go to a private social club for magicians, or find yourself amongst the desert Yucca trees? I know they probably call this place the Golden Coast because of our shiny brown chaparral and prospecting past, but it really is the land of milk and honey. And Juvederm.
There’s a kind of pipeline between Los Angeles and New York; more friends than I can count have shuffled between the two for years, for whatever reason(s), and had to adapt to life not only on the West Coast, but SoCal. To the total newcomers: Get ready to hug everyone (though maybe that’s chilled out in COVID-19 times?), be half-an-hour late to everything, and make hiking a regular part of your social calendar. Think of all the efficiency and curt gusto you perfected in your New York personality, then stretch it out like Laffy Taffy, and bring it to Venice Beach to chill.
Embrace the personality expansion, baby, and outfit your buns and your abode in true Angeleno fashion; you are now a Nalgene-toting, farmers-market-going, pool-slide-wearing fuckboy with a heart of gold and a solid sunscreen rotation. Granted, this is also stuff I use in New York (although many would say sandals on the subway is a psychologically damaging combo), but I think it’s easier to forget your SPF when you’re schlepping through foggy Brooklyn on a baconeggncheese mission than when you’re driving up the Santa Monica Boulevard like Sheryl. (She really was the queen of LA back then, wasn’t she?)
Anyways. The clichés cometh. But you know what? They’re not unfounded. Consider the following your self starter check-list for life in LA, from earthquake preparedness to beach picnic accessories; plus, doggy streetwear and Hard Chiller outfits that will have your friends in Bushwick gossiping, “IDK, man. They look a little *too* happy.”
Even if you're the New Yorker/Bostonian/Maine kid who fancies themselves a Never Sandals stalwart, there will come a time in Los Angeles where you have to go to Ralph's to grab some hummus and you just don't feel like wearing shoes with, like… laces… or backs… you know, man? Soon, you come to realize that slides are the kings of shoes. They're stupid-comfortable, surprisingly aesthetically versatile, and will take you from all your errands to the kickback to the pool. Filas, Adidas, and Vans are classic, but fuzzy slides or puffer slides add some streetwear jazz 'n' pizzazz.
Sandals you can hike in
A short sweatsuit
West Coasters in general, and especially Angelenos, are very into athleisurewear. Like, why wear stiff-ass jeans and structured workwear if you don't have to? But it's hot in LA, and so a full sweatsuit only works a couple of months a year. That's why a short sweatsuit is the move; Get a long-sleeved top and a bottom with shorts, or go cropped on both top and bottom and just throw a sweatshirt over the top if it drops below 70. Frigid, we say. In the summer, just go full cabana set. Preferably in terry.
The classic button-up-cargo-short combo
The California Dads pioneered this one. It’s honestly one of the best combos, next to everything on the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger (fight me). Bonus points if you pair it with a retro windbreaker, like this one by one of David Bowie’s favorite designers, Kansai Yamamoto.
Be equipped to eat (and hydrate) anywhere
The heat in Southern California is dryyy as a bone, unlike the super-humid summers Northeasterners are used to. As a result, you're thirsty constantly. Constant hydration isn't an option; it's a means of survival. You're gonna want to grab a big-ass water bottle—and while you're at it, grab a reusable lunch kit for impromptu hike-snacking or Griffith Park picnics.
Breathe easy during fire season
Which is kind of...every season? Within re-spiralling into that new IPCC report, I’ll just say: California very much feels the effects of climate change; long before the pandemic started, many of us already had KN95 face masks for the smoke from wildfires. Best to invest in an air purifier, too. (Here’s a guide for finding an A+ air purifier for every budget.)
Protect your neck (and the rest of your skin)
Again, not that I don’t do this in New York City, but it just feels like there’s more sky, and blazing sun, to be had in Los Angeles year-round. We recently consulted the Dewy Dudes, otherwise known as Instagram's skincare bro lords, about the best summer skincare products. They gave us some solid tips on avoiding sweaty Flubber face with quality SPFs (and you already know we’re throwing a Yankees hat in the mix, for posterity).
Your car is baby
If you’re moving to LA, you most likely have a car or are getting one soon. Keep an emergency kit in the trunk, because even if you don’t know how to jump-start your car, Megan Fox will.
.... And yes, fire and earthquake prep is real
Get ready to ride the big ones, and the little ones. We’ve assembled an entire emergency go-bag starter pack for Apocalypse Prepping Lite™. At the very least, make sure you have a basic first aid kit, water, and dried foods.
Get ready for picnics by land (and sea)
Add these to the list of things that will also live in your car, because everywhere is fair picnic fodder in LA, and everywhere=the beach, the boat, the mountain, etc. Scoop a durable woven throw and keep it in your trunk for anytime, anywhere sitting, lounging, laying, or staying cozy when the sun goes down, or pick up a puffy blanket that dries quickly and will keep you warm. We also recommend a Grateful Dead cooler to make friends in the park; plus find a cool vintage towel, unbreakable wine glasses, and a shade tent for wherever the wind blows you.
Because you’ll finally have outdoor space
Not that it’s a given, but having some kind of outdoor space at your apartment in LA is much more common than in New York City (where even a generous fire escape is a plus). Depending on your backyard/patio situation, you can build your space around a solid outdoor stove, or finally start gardening; vibe it out with some warm-glow outdoor lights, or some flameless candles.
You might get a dog
Have you seen doggy streetwear these days? Unreal. If you’ve never owned a dog before, now is the time; LA has so many epic hiking trails and beachside spaces for you and your nugget to fall in love.
Don’t forget the space saving bags, and see you on the Golden Coast.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.