Olivia’s Closet / Keeping Warm: L.A. Style

I remember how cold I thought Los Angeles winters were before I moved to New York-torrential downpours, Malibu mudslides, the occasional hail hitting your windshield on the 405.

But as I prepare to fly back to a blizzard-blasted New York City, I realize now more than ever how lucky we are to live in a climate where you can surf and ski in the same day.

The real question is: In Los Angeles, a city where the temperature seldom dips below 50 degrees (notwithstanding the recent week’s temperatures that have dipped to the 40s), is there room for winter fashion?

The answer is yes … it’s just much more distinct from anywhere else in the country.

I can’t use any wool coats I’ve bought for New York, but in L.A., a short-sleeved cashmere sweater or open cardigan is my best friend.

Like any other place in the world, the key to winter fashion is layering. I made the mistake of wearing a pullover long-sleeved cashmere sweater with nothing underneath to an indoor dinner the other night. All it took was one drink to make me overheat.

The cool part about winter in L.A. is that you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe-you can just add a few pieces to it.

Comfy ponchos are great for rainy days, and draped vests and cardigans are really useful in transitioning from day to night. Depending on the material they’re made from, you can wear them alone or layer each under a jacket. Sweater dresses have also become my good friends, as they are boot, heel and flat friendly. In L.A. I’d go with a cotton blend and pair it with a jacket or a vest.

You can also modify what you’d wear in a “real” winter climate to suit L.A.’s milder temperatures. Chances are, in Malibu, you won’t ever really need to invest in a pair of anti-frost gloves. But if you like the look, opt for a pair of fingerless ones. The same concept is true for hats and scarves. Both can be a necessity in L.A., just not in cashmere or wool. If the weather’s not cold enough, colorful silk or blend scarves always make great accessories, as do knit beanies.

So you’re set! Now all you have to decide is: surf or snow?

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