Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Southern Style

photo from NYMag.com; Lacoste, Trovata, Reyes - Spring 2009

When the heat rolls around, I always regret my normal position on temperature: I used to prefer being cold over hot, but I take that back! When it is 100 degrees and I have just showered to cool down, blow-drying my hair and putting on mascara seems counter-productive. Why did I waste my time? The minute I step outside, I have sweat between my cheeks and sunglasses, and my fresh, sleek hair is a frizzy mess!
How is it that the women of the South, the ideal Southern Belle, stay cool and look chic?

Picking cool items and light fabrics can make a scorching day feel like a breeze!
Combine the following and heat to 108 degrees fahrenheit:

Look for a bright or light colored sundress. If they fit right, sun dresses are comfortable and chic. Unlike pants or jeans--which feel constricting in the heat--your legs can breathe better. If you are purchasing a new dress, always make sure the fabric is quality. There is nothing worse than a dress that pills! Georgette is a great, lightweight summer fabric.
Do not pair your sundress with rubber or foam flip-flops (...please)! Your favorite flats or sandals with a 1/2" heel are key to making your dress look more sophisticated, less juvenile. For a super-casual summer look, pick out a gladiator or flip-flop like sandals, embellished with beads, dressed up with metallics or patterns, or created with more substantial material (like leather or light-colored suede, for example).
One last idea about your sundress: Think about how versatile the dress you are buying can become. If you pick a basic, bright color, you can easily create several outfits with one dress. Put on a long, lightweight cardigan and a skinny belt, booties, and a fedora for a completely different look. Even a flowy t-shirt cinched with a silk scarf around your waist can look great depending on the cut and pattern of the dress.

Gingham Print:
Gingham is a light-weight woven cotton cloth, making this fabric ideal for hot weather. It is a traditional American fabric normally consisting of checks in white and bold shades. Typically, a gingham pattern is small, which makes wearing gingham less flamboyant. Sometimes, the checks are so tiny that your shirt or skirt may look like one single, bold color until observed close-up; however, a large-checked gingham print delivers a bold, graphic look. Check out Trovata's Spring 2009 Collection for inspiration on large-scale gingham checks. And, a word on height: watch out for large-checked gingham (or any large-patterned clothing) if you are on the shorter side. Such an oversize pattern is often times overwhelming on smaller frames.

Sun Hat:
Although hats are now more of a fashion statement (or shield for a bad-hair day!), they will continuously serve as a protective shield from the sun's scorching rays. A panama hat will always be traditional in the South. They are created from high-quality straw and designed in innumerable colors and styles. These beautiful Derby-style hats can get pricey though--original panama hats can cost over $1000. Perhaps a more affordable, everyday option might be a straw hat, a fedora, or a floppy hat. Look for a hat with unique details that make it stand out. A bright color, pretty ribbon, feathers, buttons, interesting pins, lace, and other intricacies can be purchased on a hat, or you can get creative and attach your own favorites. Many people have one favorite hat for years--attaching your own personal accessories will make the hat feel lived in and your own--this is truly the essense of personal style.

Southern Gentlemen:
Incorporate these fashion essentials of the South into your wardrobe for a stand-out look that will surely have those sweet, Southern ladies crooning:

seer sucker shirt
navy blazer

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