Winter has arrived at the clothing store South Willard, where rows of fleece shirts share floor space with down jackets and vests. At the menswear store Apolis, a cold-weather, waxed-cotton coat with a wool lining is flying off the rack. It's the same chilly story over at the store Insight, which carries pea coats and bomber jackets.
Outside is a different story. Palm trees contrast with a bright blue sky. Couples walk past in shorts and sunglasses. Welcome to the odd world of winter apparel in Los Angeles. Why, in a city where people can go surfing before they sit down to a Christmas meal, would anyone buy something made for freezing temperatures?
Well, you guessed it, they travel. And actors, who film in Vancouver and Toronto, are among them, says John Noble, the owner of Douglas Fir in Beverly Hills, a store full of winter coats. "No one is walking their dog in the canyons in Malibu in a really heavy coat."
Not no one. Ryan Conder, owner of South Willard, thinks Hollywood has more reasons for winter wear than meets the eye. "It's mostly celebrities who buy the down jackets and have no body fat," he writes via email. "They're in really cold air-conditioned rooms and then get right back into their air-conditioned Prius." He ponders another hypothesis. "All those antidepressants we take make our blood run cold, so a warm jacket is a must-have."