Here in the south, we abide by an unspoken dress code that proudly displays our heritage and reflects our core values. Place a southerner up north, and their unique style will likely give them away before their accent! Specific clothing designs and styles have appeared in southern wardrobes for decades and continue to influence the latest fashion. Surviving and thriving through years of trends, it’s clear that these aspects of southern clothing are here to stay!
1.) Colorful Clothing: While neutrals are all the rage in places like New York City, the vibrant colors that make up southern style continue to dominate outfits down south. While black may be classic, color is king in the south when it comes to building the perfect outfit. Neutrals are often only used in southern fashion as an accent to bright and colorful staples. Black pants or black shoes may be paired with a vivid-colored blouse, but the central part of the outfit is always colorful, while the accessories may be neutrals. This is one thing that sets southern fashion apart from northern fashion. Where bright colors are used for small accessories up north, outfits are built from color in the south. This timeless style has never been superseded by the wave of blacks, whites, and tans that has swept the north. The color in our outfits portrays our vibrant personalities down south, which is something we aren’t willing to part with!
2.) Sandals: Almost every season is sandal season in southern fashion! The warmer climate down south allows us to forego the snow boots and invest in some stylish sandals to be worn throughout the year. Whether you like Jack Rodgers or Southern Tide, heeled or flat, a good pair of sandals compliments nearly any outfit. Northerners may think of sandals as beach shoes, but here in the south, you can sport your sandals at any casual or formal event. Combining comfort amidst the southern heat with versatile style, sandals remain a true southern wardrobe staple.
3.) Patterns: In the same way northern style shies away from vibrant colors, it typically omits a lot of patterns too. Our bright-colored clothes tend to be enhanced with timeless patterns like gingham and plaid. Lily Pulitzer is one of the most popular and successful southern brands that combines our love of patterns with beautiful bright colors. Seersucker is an example of a traditional pattern, often worn in pastels, that became popular during the civil war and is still widely produced on some of the finest southern clothing. Seersucker is even featured in some southern weddings combining traditional charm with modern style. The charm from hundreds of years ago has survived the tests of time. Patterns are mainstays in southern wardrobes today!
4.) Bowties: Nothing says southern gentleman like a bowtie. While the rest of America may view bowties as old-fashioned, they are a classic staple in any southern man’s closet. In fact, eight out of the ten states that most frequently searched the term “bowtie” since 2004 are southern states. Coming in any color, bowties commonly appear at weddings, prom, church, and other formal events. Invented during the 17th century and maintaining a strong presence in southern fashion today, bowties are not going out of style any time soon!
While the rest of the country follows ever-changing fashion trends, the south has a different way of doing things. Our ability to embrace tradition while incorporating modern trends ensures that many items in your closet will contribute to a timeless southern wardrobe for years to come.