Recently, over at Style Blue Print, I shared my fashion tips from the place I love the most: the South.
My first lesson in fashion came straight from my momma. My mother was always put together no matter what was happening. Even when she’s lounging around the house, she has on earrings and lipstick.
Every afternoon after school, she’d holler at my brother and I while we were playing in the backyard to “take off our good clothes!” Such is the Southern way. Murray, Kentucky (my hometown!) wasn’t the fashion capitol of the world, but what I learned there was that clothes matter and to take care of them.
When I started modeling overseas, I dropped the big hair and pearls of the 90’s. Actually, I made my momma drop the blue eyeliner just used to wear, too! But, I still didn’t lose all my Southern style. Southern style is all about easy, elegance with a little bit of sass!
Here are my 5 rules of Southern style that still ring true for me to this day:
A Little Rouge Never Hurt Nobody!
This “southern-ism” comes straight from my momma’s mouth. Southern women are known for always looking put- together. It’s truly something that everyone can learn from! If you’re leaving the house, just pop some color on the lip and a little color on the cheeks and you’re good to go. I’ve learned that the key to making some rouge last is to start with a cream blush and layer with powder. It’s foolproof!
You Can Never Have Too Much Jewelry
And, no. I’m not talking about just a pearl necklace! Jewelry is like the icing on top of the cake for me. An outfit just isn’t complete without it! I love layering my necklaces and each has a special meaning to me. It’s absolutely key! Just like a great lip color can bring together an outfit, so can a great accessory. I only have one rule: if you’re layering bracelets, don’t do both wrists. Keep it to one so it doesn’t look too overwhelming.
Keep It Tailored
This should go without saying! It’s all about following the principle of proportion. If something is tight on the top, go looser on the bottom. If you have a tight jean on the bottom, reverse it and go fuller on top. All tight or all loose can look messy or just plain inappropriate. It also creates a better balance and gives the impression of an hourglass figure. When it comes to tailored looks, I’m OB-sessed with Draper James. (shown in photo above) Every piece is the epitome of Southern femininity. If you find yourself needing to take things in for a more tailored look, pick a great seamstress and stick with them! They’ll know your body and what you like for every outfit.
Create Your “Core-drobe”
Like I said earlier, one huge Southern lesson in fashion I learned was to take care of my clothes and make them last. After my time in Europe modeling overseas, I could convert ten pieces of clothing into ten thousand outfits! It’s all about finding your core wardrobe or “core-drobe” as I like to call it. And, every girl—Southern or not—needs one!
Here are my “core-drobe” must haves:
- Tailored black blazer: Theory // Vince Camuto // J.Crew
- White collared blouse: J.Crew // Joe Fresh // H&M
- Pencil skirt: BCBG Max Azria // Lolitta // Lucy Paris
- Tailored dress pants: Theory // J.Crew // Reiss
- Little black dress: Misa Los Angeles // Halogen // Eliza J
- Classic trench coat: Asos // Cupcakes and Cashmere // Vince
- Black leather jacket: Ganni // Nasty Gal // Forever 21
- White jacket or blazer: L'Agence // Missguided // Michael Michael Kors
- Summer pant in white or neutral: Vince Camuto // Stella McCartney // Eileen Fisher
- Various cozy cardigans: Free People // Greylin // Forever 21
- Cashmere knit sweaters: Rosetta Getty // Equipment // Zadig & Voltaire
- Floral dresses (of course!) Privacy Please // Forever 21 // Ulla Johnson
- Long, layering tanks & tees: Vince, Sanctuary, Majestic
- Jeans: a skinny (dark denim), a boyfriend jean, & a flare leg: Rag & Bone // DL 1961 // M.i.h Jeans
- Jean jacket: Alexa Chung x AG Jeans // Joe's Jeans // Forever 21
- Trendy pieces to rotate in
With a core wardrobe, you’ll never go wrong! Oh, and forget what you’ve heard: your shoes, jewelry, and bag don’t need to match.
Heels Are An Instant Mood Booster
I’m serious about this one, y’all! If you’re ever feeling blah and uninspired, a heel will unleash your inner superwoman. There’s just something about a heel that is so feminine and powerful! Next time you’re feeling down, throw on your favorite pair of heels and attack.
For more of my “southern-isms”, I’ll be posting every month over at www.styleblueprint.com.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.