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Driving in Style: Los Angeles Fashion Hits the Road

You are what you drive, at least in L.A.
Ashley Kuczenski
April 01 2022
Camila, an illustrator, pairs a classic car with her 1950s-inspired Rockabilly style 

Ask a Los Angeles local about the city and receive a long list of impressions. 

Ask a tourist, and the list becomes brief: 

“It’s not a very walkable city.”
“The city is very spread out.” 

“Every neighborhood is so different and unique.”
“There’s so much to do.” 

Tourist and Local: 
“To get anywhere, it’s better to have a car.” 

The tourists and locals are right when it comes to having a car in the city. The primary transportation modality in the whole of California and certainly in the hub of L.A. is by car. An average Californian spends a lot of time in a vehicle. And, by a lot, the staggering estimate hovered around 62 hours in 2021 alone. Part of the commitment to live in now of the most bustling cities globally comes with a lot of time behind the wheel. 

Vintage car sighting in Los Angeles

Research has shown dogs tend to mimic the aesthetic and personalities of their owners, but can the same be said for car owners? The answer is yes! Look around L.A., and you’ll see it for yourself. 

Hypercars tearing up the streets of LA

Los Angeles commuters love their cars so much; many drivers become an extension of the vehicles they drive and love. Look long enough, and you’ll witness the Hollywood studio executives driving a Rolls Royce or Maserati. Sit outside a Silicon Beach patio to see tech moguls driving on autopilot with the newest Tesla model. Visit the east side and look out for east-side hipsters in vintage cars or Malibu beach-dwellers toting surfboards behind a Volkswagen.   

Just like the unique character of each neighborhood, each driver extends an individualized sense of fashion that often matches their vehicle.  

1970s-inspired fashion and a vintage Alfa Romeo in Silverlake. 

Thanks to the ubiquity and self-identification with its vehicles, Los Angeles is a car-obsessed market unlike any other city in the United States. California takes the cake with owning the most cars per household in the United States, with nine of the top ten U.S. cities for vehicle ownership. Treating car ownership like the latest wardrobe update, leasing instead of purchasing is the trend of Angelenos, who clean and maintain rides with meticulous grooming standards. 

Super cool car in the streets of Beverly Hills. 

Fashion, films, and cars run Tinseltown. Hollywood cars are aspirational. Glamorous, sleek, smooth, and curvy. The vehicle designs are akin to the clothing a CAA talent agent or a Kardashian might wear… something tight-fitting, high-fashion, and shouting “look at me!” Luxury and custom cars, in particular, seem to speak for the drivers, who inevitably look fabulous driving these custom works of art. Inexplicably, the choice of what to drive in Los Angeles is the transportation equivalent of the adage that one should dress to impress.

Hypercar showing out in streets of Rodeo Drive

While every city has its noise, music, and unique personalities, L.A. is truly one-of-a-kind. The streets of Los Angeles are alive with customized motors that don’t purr but roar. Everything this town does is over-the-top, defining pop culture trends globally and influencing the neighboring market, so why shouldn’t that extend to its cars? 



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