The South knows fashion. We're known for a refined, elevated sense of style. Walk into any local grocery store, and it's not unusual to see ladies shopping in full makeup, heels, and tailored dresses. Southern men can pull off a sharply tailored navy suit even in the middle of summer. It shouldn't be surprising that the South is fashionable, as many of the trends that are a vast element of Southern Style were shaped decades ago due to our strong culture.
Here are some of our favorite fashion trends, where they originated from, and how to still wear them today with a modern touch.
The Show-Stopping Hat
The big, show-stopping, sometimes floppy hat is still a staple of Southern ladies fashion. Hats have long been an excellent means to combat the legendary and brutal summer heat. Although we Southerners try not to spend time in the midday sun, it's hard not to want to enjoy the summer outside in any of our beautiful Southern vistas. Women during the 19th century donned hats to look demure and to reduce the skin's exposure to the sun.
That trend of floppy sunhats or ornate big hats remains everywhere, from horse races to Sunday morning Church.
Originating in the plains and deserts of the Midwest in the 1800s and inspired by the vaquero-style boot brought to America by the Spanish, the cowboy boot is a true Southern original. The rugged leather and pointed tip that made slipping the boots into stirrups easier soon became an iconic part of Southern, and eventually Western, fashion.
The original purpose of the cowboy boot hasn't changed; for many ranchers, pickup riders, and professional steer ropers, technology has changed enough to provide the same rugged foot protection needed to allow cowboys and cowgirls to go through the most challenging terrain while protecting their feet—but they're also part of Southern fashion still.
You can get a pair of cowboy boots in any color, size, heel, shape, and more to compliment any outfit or protect your feet and legs. They're such an iconic and beloved part of the Southern wardrobe that we know they'll never go out of style.
When it's springtime in the South, it's time to break out the spring and summer wardrobe. And what's everyone's summer garment's made from? Seersucker.
Seersucker is a lightweight fabric that makes warm days feel much cooler while remaining stylish. First known in the 1600s as shirushakar or shir o shakka, which meant "milk and sugar: in Perisian, this fabric features two woven textiles that correspond to two Persian words—the gritty side is sugar or shakar, and the smooth or milk sections translate to shir.
Seersucker rose to popularity in the 1920s, particularly in the South, because of how cooling the fabric is even during the hottest weather.
We love our seersucker, also known as railroad stripe, so much so that it gets its day and celebrations! National Seersucker Day and Seersucker Sunday, and banks and fraternities get in on the seersucker love by holding special days for it as well.
Southerners love our traditions, which we show in almost all our lives, including fashion trends! From the boots to the fabric, we love sharing our history and culture close to our hearts. So, if you want a classic yet modern Southern look, try adding the garments to your wardrobe this season!