Packing Help!! - Palm Springs in March; Dress Code?

Dear YLF,

I am in dire need of help! I am not sure what to bring with me for a week of Palm Springs, although I do know it will be warm. To compound issues, I will be going to Jasper for the weekend before, without time to go home and swap bags - so whatever I'm using for Jasper (time with friends) can be used for both.

This is the dress code for my learning adventures - could someone help me interpret what I can wear? I don't wear shorts or capris. I can wear jeans ... This is what they have sent me:

It is going to be warm in the desert. While I want you to dress neat and be presentable, I also want you to “blend in” with our patients and family members and be comfortable. Suggested attire: 
*walking shorts/ Bermuda shorts (knee length) 
*Capri pants 
*regarding shirts: no spaghetti straps please, belly buttons covered at all times  
*no writing allowed on shirts, school logos are the only exception 
*tennis shoes, sandals, and flip-flops allowed 

I looked in my WIW archive, but found it was hard to find too many casual looks

  • Any idea of what kind of style/vibe I should be going for?
  • Is a jean jacket topper too casual? Should I be worried about toppers?
  • Are pumps too formal? Should I pack up flats?
  • Is it warm enough to consider cotton fabrications only?
This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Joyce B replied 5 years ago

    Do they have pictures of previous meetings/ courses' attendees? Sometimes they have that and it can be very helpful.
    I think flats or comfortable sandals may be useful. If they have an opening reception maybe the pumps will be useful for that.
    It sounds casual and conservative.

  • Adelfa replied 5 years ago

    I can't tell from your post what kind of event this is? Usually in the desert it cools off at night so a topper or two is probably in order. All cotton would probably be fine maybe with one slightly warmer topper. Probably pumps are too formal. Sandals or flats! I would guess that this is quite a bit less formal than you are used to. The first pic is a good vibe if you're packing dresses. Jeans with sandals and a top, also good. Sounds fun!

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Years ago when living in Southern Cal, it seemed that a trip to Palm Springs meant casual, but pricey designer casual. It may be very different now.

  • lyn* replied 5 years ago

    @ Joyce - Unfortunately, no pics from previous, although I could talk with some of the seniors to see what they wore. I will see if I can hunt down some wedge sandals, maybe!

    @ Adelfa - It's an educational event for medical persons learning about addictions (at Betty Ford Center) - I will shelve the pumps.

    @ Joy - Oh boy, I love edgy casual. Very Anna.

  • Adelfa replied 5 years ago

    Oh wow, I want to go! I feel so untrained in that area. Betty Ford, how fun!!! I think your clothes are so ladylike that in this setting you will not have to worry about going too casual.

  • lyn* replied 5 years ago

    I know! I'm so excited! :) 

    I hope that I won't go too casual. The shorts okay and flip flops okay scared me.

  • abc replied 5 years ago

    Even though shorts and flip flops are ok I don't think your dresses would be overdoing it. Besides I always personally feel more at ease knowing I'm dressed appropriately or one notch dressier. Ymmv of course.

  • Mia replied 5 years ago

    I've been to Palm Springs a couple of times, once in March.  I found the challenge to be the warm/hot days and cool nights and mornings.  A/C can be frigid too so layers/toppers will be important.  I think your skirts hit the right note for the casual/resort vibe that will be appropriate and you stay true to your style comfort zone.  No problem wearing colour/pattern.  Comfy shoes are also a must.  I suggest flats or sandals.

    Have a great time!

  • trix replied 5 years ago

    I think that just about everything you posted would work great. Although the more fitted sheath shapes feel a bit formal to me, the dresses with swingier skirts look sufficiently professional yet approachable and not overdressed. I agree with the flats/sandals (since you apparently don't have to worry about closed-toe shoes, unlike hospital wards). 

    I tend to think the denim jacket would be OK, since you'd be wearing it over clothes on the slightly dresser side -- in fact, if you're worried about being too dressed-up, the jean jacket would probably help bring the level back down and add a bit of interesting edge.

    Have a wonderful time! It'll be so nice to escape the cold!

  • Nebraskim replied 5 years ago

    Your clothing looks very appropriately professional yet casual and approachable. I might suggest that since they specifically request "no spaghetti straps" that even with a topper, it could be the amount of decolletage that is showing that freaks them out, so you might want to veer toward tops with a higher, rather than lower neckline. Outfit five is an example of higher neckline. I do think that erring on the side of too dressy is better than too sloppy/casual. I also think too many people see the word "shorts" and then they break out the Daisy Dukes or running shorts rather than bermudas. But you would never do that. Have fun. I'm heading to Phoenix mid March and am wondering about outfits, but mostly I will be going to baseball games with my spouse, so the dress code for me is bermudas, t-shirts, jeans jacket and my running gear. He hates to shop, so there won't be any of that.

  • ATLynn replied 5 years ago

    I just checked the weather and it's getting up in the 80s F in Palm Springs today.  It will be even warmer in March.  Jealous!

    You will need a topper in the evenings and possibly indoors.  Since jeans are allowed, your denim jacket and a neutral cardi will work perfectly.  Definitely go for flats. 

    Your cotton dresses are perfect.  You'll feel like "you" and look pulled together at the same time, without being too stuffy.   If you're taking jeans to Jasper, it sounds like you can wear them with a sleevless but conservative shell/tee/blouse during the day and throw on a jacket or cardi in the evenings or indoors.  Don't worry about making yourself look too casual to blend in. From what I've seen, you have a fairly girly/dressy aesthetic and it's best to stick to what you're comfortable in. 

  • Astrid replied 5 years ago

    From what I've read I don't think you need to worry about being too casual. I think wearing some nice casual summer dresses or flowy skirts with flats and the denim jacket or a neutral cardigan sounds perfect!

  • geargirl replied 5 years ago

    Aha! I love a thread where I actually can help! My husband and daughter are in Palm Springs now, and I go there yearly at spring break! Regarding the weather: I have encountered highs in the 100's (rarely) down to highs in the 70's. Plan on 80's sometimes 90's but with FRIGID a/c everywhere indoors and cool nights. I run very cold, so I always need a sweater or jacket. Answering your questions: 1. To my eye, the vibe is very palm beachy. Lots of white and bright colors. Decorative sandals. Most people there are retirees who play lots of golf and tennis, so a bit preppy, very country club. I always forget and pack a lot of black, as it's my default color to pack with, then feel too dark and drab compared to everyone!
    2. The jean jacket is a great topper. California is notoriously casual and you will need a topper for the a/c. Also a white or bright cardigan would work as well.
    3. I would stick to flats and sandals.
    4. It is definitely warm enough to wear cottons only. Unless you run very cold! My kids always crank the a/c, so I wear my fleece jacket in the hotel room!
    Regarding your outfits: All are so adorable!!! However, I would leave boots, tights, and your blazer at home. I love #6 and #14, but feel you might  prefer outfits with more bright colors or white in them. For example, if you have tan or white pants, you could swap them in #14 and feel more like Palm Springs.
    My advice would also be to remember your swim suit, a hat and lots of sun screen! Have an amazing trip!

  • Liz replied 5 years ago

    Since the person writing the email about dress code stressed wanting the attendees to "blend in" the the patients and family members, it sounds to me like sticking to the casual end of your normal dressing would be a good idea. To me, that rules out the sheaths, pencil skirts, pumps, and blazers with skirts. I'd go with jeans, jean jacket, cotton dresses, blazers with jeans, etc. 

  • lyn* replied 5 years ago

    Thanks so much ladies for your very thoughtful replies!

    I will definitely try to stick to the casual end of my dressing up spectrum and try to have a good time! Time to bust out the flats and sandals! WHOO! :)

You need to be logged in to comment