Southern fashion is iconic, and the timeless, chic and decidedly American style of southern women is cropping up all over runways for summer 2019.
But there’s a lot more to southern style than just throwing on some seersucker and classic pearls. The elements of fashion staples in the south are about combining class with function for a wardrobe that is suited to the summer heat–lightweight but stylish, classy but flirty.
We’ve put together our must-have list of copycat southern fashion staples to help you achieve a look that has you looking sweet enough to rock a southern drawl this summer.
1. A timeless tailored dress
The tailored dress is the form-fitting and flattering feminine alternative to the men’s dress suit and slacks. Jackie Kennedy in a simple tea-length or Audrey Hepburn in a sleeveless tailored dress with a fitted skirt and oversized glasses are examples of this effortless look.
It can be dressed up or down to the occasion and affords a flattering silhouette to any and every figure. Pair it with your favorite flats for a demure look and throw on some of this summer’s hottest accessories for polish.
2. A timeless tailored dress
In the south, there is a long tradition of passing down family names, and there’s no better way to show your pride in your name than with a monogram.
Have your initials put on some of your most often worn and iconic wardrobe staples, or revitalize your summer accessories, like handkerchiefs and tote bags, with a little bit of family branding.
Monogramming also makes for a great gift and monogrammed pieces can be handed down as heirlooms to keep that southern family pride alive.
Diamonds may be a standard girl’s best friend, but in the south, that spot is reserved for pearls, so much so that a simple string of pearls instantly evokes thoughts of southern charm and class.
But you don’t have to live south of the Mason-Dixon line to sport these classic beads. Not as formal as other gems, pearls can be combined with a variety of looks, from your favorite summer dress to a plaid button-down for an instant southern style update.
Pearls also come in a range of styles and sizes. Larger freshwater pieces are an excellent choice for this summer’s oversized earrings trend while smaller beads look stunning on a bracelet.
Not a necklace kind of girl? Not a problem. Revitalize an old denim jacket by bedazzling the cuffs and shoulders with some pearls for a look that is a little less dainty and demure and a little bit more daring.
4. A classic pair of boots
Who doesn’t love statement footwear?
In contrast to their original, more functional purpose for use on a cattle farm, a pair of flashy cowboy boots is considered appropriate wear for anything from a casual Sunday brunch to a black-tie affair in the south.
Add a pair of cowboy boots to your summer wardrobe for a statement piece that is at once both flashy and down-to-earth. Studded boots with luxe details go great with a simple maxi dress for a stylish but effortless look. You can also pair the iconic footwear with a pair of denim shorts and a simple white button down for an outfit that is unapologetically southern but not overdone and gimmicky.
5. A splash (or two) of color
Southern women seem to simply inherently know how to use bright and bold colors to make a statement without looking garish or gaudy.
Try to copy that innate sense of style this summer by adding a few splashes of vibrant jewel tones to your outfits. Pair a canary-colored clutch with an understated white tee or add a little bit of luxury to a pair of jeans with a deep purple pair of pumps.
6. All the prints
Inspired by the abundant flora of the south, vibrant prints are a southern staple you can easily incorporate into your wardrobe this summer for a little bit of color.
There’s a reason floral prints make a comeback every spring. They are easy to pair with everything from your favorite straight-leg jeans to a flowy skirt for a young, relaxed look.
But there is also more to prints than florals: Striped and polka dot prints make excellent, somehow instantly vintage-looking choices that are eye-catching and fun to mix and match. However, with these prints, it’s easy to venture into a look that’s a little less classic and a little more clownish.
Sophisticate these prints by matching them to classier silhouettes and cuts. Pair a striped three-quarter length boatneck tee with tailored slacks and heels and look for polka dot accessories, such as sneakers and handkerchiefs, for a noticeable yet understated pop of print.
7. Bow ties for the boys (and girls!)
Southern style isn’t just all about the ladies. Bow ties are a quirky and easy way to add a stylish nod to southern gentlemen to any men’s formal wear. Choose an elegant floral pattern for a more understated look, or go for classic, bold polka dots to add some flare to your Sunday attire.
But don’t let the boys have all the fun! These days, women’s bow ties can be seen on almost any runway–from New York to Paris–and it’s a fun and offbeat way to add a little bit of boyish charm to your look. Pair it with a bold red lip for a look that is daringly boyish yet decidedly feminine.
8. Southern fabrics
Gingham, seersucker, linen and eyelet make up the group of seemingly simple fabrics that southerners affectionately refer to as southern silk. Often overlooked in other parts of the world, these fabrics are lightweight yet sturdy, perfect for structural pieces that are not too heavy for the summer heat.
Try out this season’s trendy oversized blazer look in seersucker or linen over a simple crop top for summer layering that allows you to keep cool. Linen shift dresses, paired with comfortable-heeled clogs, make for a simple but put-together summer look that can be pulled off at any age.
9. Denim on denim
When it comes to denim, the sturdy fabric may just be the only thing that’s as American as apple pie. Never one to shy away from functionally chic fabrics, southerners love their denim.
For an outfit that doubles as an homage to the south and the ’90s, try out this season’s denim on denim look. Pair your flattering high-waisted jeans with a cropped denim jacket of the same color, or a throw on some cutoffs with a simple button-down and white sneakers for a look that’s youthful but not childish.
Try adding some of these southern style staples to your wardrobe lineup this summer for a look that’s charming, effortless and chic.