10 Rules for Classic Southern Style

classic southern style

When we decided to spend time in Charleston, understanding the art of “southern belle” style was at the top of my list. Not Lily Pulitzer southern (I know I just offended half of the country and sunk a sponsorship opportunity), but timeless-yet-modern southern style rooted in the days of Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler and Charlestonian glamour.

Southern style — when done properly — has much more to do with a relentless dedication to always presenting the best version of yourself, without allowing the stress of everyday hustle and obstacles seep into your presentation. It’s easy to spot a gal with southern roots in the city, because I admit: they always look the most put together.

First Rule to Southern Style: Southern Attitude

I admire a southern woman’s ability to pull herself together from crisis to casual debutante status in a hot minute. There isn’t much that a dress and a swipe of red lipstick can’t fix, they will shatter your BS with a single glance and they are always prepared to bounce back. There is an inherent (and stubborn) willingness in a southern gal’s disposition to always put forth the best version of herself.

Beauty Routine First

The bigger the hair the closer to God? Yes, basically. Weekly trips to the beauty salon are deep-rooted, diehard tradition in southern culture. My time in Charleston was essential for taking my own pampering routines to the next level. A strict beauty and self-care routine is not a luxury; it’s mandatory before you step out the door.

Dress For the Occasion

Southerners pay close attention to dress code and always welcome the words “black tie” for a formal occasion. I’ve found in Charleston especially there is still an esteemed culture of entertaining, parties and piazza soirees. Weekends are never short of formal galas or charity events. Drama is in the dress.

Athleisure? Bless Your Heart

The shock of not being able to wear yoga pant and a high ponytail obscured by a Yankees hat to brunch shook my soul. Most Sunday mornings are for church in the south, so flirty-yet-modest dresses are the norm to any afternoon activity. Yoga pants post 11AM also seem taboo; that is, except for at Trader Joe’s where it doubles as a Lululemon store.

Dresses, Dresses, Dresses

As an original west coast gal, I’ve always been one to wear dresses daily and fight hard to make them work in winter conditions (even in Germany and NYC). But the southern weather was a welcome gift: it’s dress weather every day.

Navy Blue is the New Black

A primarily black wardrobe is 100% an NYC thing. In the south, the default dark color in a wardrobe is navy blue and celebrating vibrant patterns, fabrics and colors (so much color) is a must. The perpetual sunshine seems to have an effect on color choices.

Embrace Jewels & Accessories

Southern women carry the legacy torch for cocktail rings, swoon worthy jewels, generational gems (family heirlooms are cherished) and accessorizing until one can no longer accessorize…but they do it so well. One of my favorite jewelry stores in the world – Croghan’s Jewelry Box – happens to be in Charleston, where one can never be overdressed.

If It Doesn’t Breathe, Monogram It

Last names are a part of a southerner’s legacy and they showcase their initials (usually all three) on clothing, linens, jewels, notebooks, yoga mats, handbags, etc. Does it even belong to you if it’s not monogrammed? Debatable in the south. Admittedly, I love it. This is probably the one obnoxious southern style obsession I’ll adopt religiously into my New York life.

Shop at Boutiques

In Charleston and other southern cities, hunting for the labels at small, bespoke and local luxury boutiques is the norm. Personal stylists are still quite embedded into the customer service experience (while in New York, proudly decisive career women will chase them away like the plague). I imagine it’s a pretty loud echo of what shopping used to be like in the 1950s.

Style Icon: Mama

I’ve noticed that twinning with your superfluously elegant mother is a definite thing in the south. The special southern relationship between mom and daughter isn’t exclusive to style advice. It’s in this cherished connection where young southern women turn to for learning the tricks of timeless southern manners, poise and class which they walk with worldwide.

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  • “One of my favorite things about female writers, about writers in general, about people who take what’s happened to them and they process it and they put it out into the world...is if you write, you can turn your lessons into your legacy.” -Taylor Swift. Her albums always, without fail, paint a musical narrative to complement whatever stage I’m personally and professionally journeying through. Can’t wait for my window seat airplane hours on Friday, listening to her new stories which will inevitably be the soundtrack to so many romantic, cinematic, modern jetsetter moments in Europe this summer. The life of a writer is the only life for me. xx 💋
  • Coffee date in the Italian Riviera, anyone? Every day in Italy starts with finding the perfect cappuccino. Three insider rules for Italy visitors to find that perfect frothy dream: 1️⃣ Don‘t be confused by the word “bar” (this is an Italian café and the center of social life for locals) 2️⃣ Venture away from the city center to find bars where the locals go; you should always pay less than €2 for a cappuccino. Tourist hotspots charge up to €7 and often a far cry from true Italian coffee culture 3️⃣ Do order a cornetto to go with your coffee; one must do as the Italians do 🥐☕️ 🇮🇹
  • With a summer in Italy around the corner, I’m quickly adapting to CPSR diet: cappuccino, pasta, spritz, repeat. May can’t come soon enough. Stay tuned to the blog this week for a guide to one of Italy’s most coveted destinations, my Nonna’s gnocchi recipe, weekend reads and our big wedding destination reveal (+ a little official change to our addresses in the world). #ModernJetsetter 💋
  • There is no destination in the world sweeter than the one I experienced today: next to my little brother’s side when he  found out he’s having a little baby boy - in the most country way ever. Thank you Kelsey for loving my brother the way you do, being an instant sister and for already being the most incredible mama to our Kipton. We can’t wait to spoil that boy with our love (and plenty of storytime with aunty in between duck hunting season). I love you three with all of my heart xx
  • Charleston is a perfect confluence of elegant southern tradition and European influence, especially when it comes to the food scene. Every time I discover a perfect charcuterie board or Aperol Spritz (far too often) it reminds me how short that Atlantic bridge between the USA and Europe is. During the next chapter of Modern Jetsetter, home time will be spent discovering the creme-de-la-creme of American living, and the million cultural pieces, flavors and patterns that make up our gorgeous presentation 🍷💋(food scene spotted st @goatsheepcow - one of my favorite Charleston restaurants)

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