This is Style in the South, a series in which our Southern-based editor, Allyson, shares with you her insight into the trends and shopping habits that Southern girls follow (and don't follow). She'll also share her own personal experience with how to dress after returning to the South after more than a decade away. Whether you live in the South, are visiting, or are just curious, she's here to give her Who What Wear perspective about all things Southern girl.
I know what you're thinking: Anyone should be able to wear whatever they want no matter where they're from or where they live. I completely agree. That said, this is my personal experience being someone who is both a Southerner and a fashion editor.
When it comes to my personal style, I'm admittedly not very "Southern." But I keep a close eye on everything the women I encounter wear, and I know what trends will and won't bring perplexed stares my way during any given season. While there are certainly exceptions, the Southern sartorial aesthetic leans conservative compared to other parts of the country, and there are certain outside-the-box trends that I subconsciously avoid to also avoid the aforementioned perplexed stares.
That said, wear whatever you want, but read on to see which things I believe are a tough sell in the South (and shop the ones I'm wearing instead as of late).
Skipping: Belt Bags Worn Across the Chest
Although I'm a fan, this Hypebae-inspired trend is one that I've been reluctant to wear in the South. That said, every time I carry a beaded bag, I get tons of genuine compliments.
Wearing Instead: Beaded Bags
Skipping: Bike Shorts as Pants
This is another look that I've been anxious to try lately, but I haven't worked up the courage. Will report back. On the other hand, leopard print feels right at home in the South.
Wearing Instead: Leopard Print
Available in sizes 0 to 12.
Skipping: Extremely Puffy Sleeves
My Instagram is evidence that I have embraced the puff-sleeve trend, but the over-the-top sleeves that you'll find elsewhere on Instagram are something I'm just admiring from afar. But tie-front tops, the other major shirt trend of the year, are very doable.
Wearing Instead: Tie-Front Tops
Available in sizes XXS to L.
Skipping: PVC Shoes
I actually own the PVC shoes pictured below, but in the hot and humid South, unfortunate things happen when wearing them. For now, I'm wearing strappy, square-toe sandals on repeat.
Wearing Instead: Strappy, Square-Toe Sandals
Skipping: Full-On Neon
All-neon feels a little too bold for me to attempt, but polka dots are a safe (very on-trend) bet across the South.
Wearing Instead: Polka Dots
Available in sizes XS to XL.
Skipping: Futuristic Sunglasses
I find the futuristic sunglasses that are trending to be tough to wear no matter where you live. Alternatively, I've been wearing scrunchies repeatedly as of late (even though it's rare that I spot them on others out in the wild).
Wearing Instead: Scrunchies
Southerners love a good logo, but you don't see a lot of the streetwear-inspired logomania looks that you do elsewhere. But I wish I had a dollar for how often I see a Louis Vuitton or Goyard tote bag in the South…
Wearing Instead: Classic, Subtle Logos
Skipping: Ultra-Sheer Pieces
To be honest, I wouldn't attempt to get away with this trend no matter where I lived, but comfortable, flattering smocked pieces have steadily been taking over my closet this summer.
Wearing Instead: Smocked Pieces
Available in sizes XS to XL.