Southern Stylin’ (Charleston Idiosyncrasies – Part 2)

In honor of Charleston Fashion Week, an event held a la the one in New York’s Bryant Park where tents are filled with fashionistas, clothing, high heels and the Who’s Who of the Sartorial Universe, I thought it appropriate that my next entry in the Charleston Idiosyncrasies series should be about just that.  Charleston Fashion.

As a people, we Charlestonians are collectively, dare I say,  the most fashionable and good-looking in all of the Southeast.  Our King St shopping district boasts stores that pull in the spenders from 100 miles away – Louis Vuitton, Gucci, St. John, Saks, Ralph Lauren, and a smattering of boutiques whose only other location is in New York City.  And just like any other city, we’ve got all kinds – the Skinny-Jeaned Urban Hipster, the Collar-Popped-Up-Preppy Soccer Mom, the Laid Back Surfer, the Buttoned-up Banker, the Obviously Old-Money, the Obviously New Money, the Don’t-You-Dare-Tell-Me-I-Look-Fifty-in-my-Tight-Pants-and-Low-Cut-Blouse….

But there are a few items that make us unique – a few only-seen-in-Charleston styles that had my mouth crooked in a bemused smile when I first moved down from NYC four years ago.


Seersucker – Ahhhhh.  While its etymology is Persian and Hindi, seersucker is most certainly the fabric of the Old South. Lightweight, breathable and it comes in a variety of fun striped colors.  The Charleston Man has at least one piece in his wardrobe, whether it be a blazer, a pair of pants, or an entire suit.  Seersucker is so popular in Charleston that every spring, one of our venerable Men’s Stores on King St, M. Dumas & Sons, holds a sale and for just $150 you can outfit yourself in style.  I happen to love seersucker – especially the grey-striped pants on my husband.

Brightly-colored Pants (and Shorts) – Phooey on you grey, black and navy-trousered New Yorkers.  The Charleston Man is bold.  The Charleston Man isn’t afraid to let a little bright in his life.  Yellow, pink, baby blue, plaids, and my personal fav, nantucket red.  See how good it looks against our candy-colored homes?

The Bowtie – There are some who consider a bowtie their signature style.  Still others only wear them on special occasions.  Subtle, yet seemingly ubiquitous, the bowtie is always worn with pride.

Embroidered Stuff – Belts, shirt pockets and pants.  Yes.  Pants.  And I am not talking just a logo on a back pocket.  Try ALL OVER.  I still can’t get over this one.  No offense guys.


The Vera Bradley Bag – Quilted, with a multitude of different floral patterns, the Vera Bradley Bag is owned bybag1 The Charleston Woman of all ages.  Now, don’t be mistaken – the Vera would NEVER be used as a the primary bag.  No one in their right mind would toss aside their Kate Spade, Coach or Fendi bag in favor of this.  It is merely to be used as an additional accessory – for travel, shopping, or makeup.

Sundresses – Because we can.  Nothing is lovelier than a Charleston Woman strolling down the street in a beautiful sundress showing off her Sullivan’s Island tan.


Flip Flops – Many, many pairs of flip flops. Since the weather is warm enough nine months out of the year – we’ve got pairs for all occasions – the beach, a nice restaurant, a night out on the town, a walk around the Battery.   The ladies prefer Jack Rogers Sandals for a dressier look and the men prefer Rainbows for, well, all looks.  What are Rainbows you ask?  rainbowsIsn’t that something a Care Bear sits on?  No.  Rainbows are flip flops that form to your feet and never wear out.  The choice color is a dark brown and really, you aren’t officially a Man Living in Charleston unless you have a pair.

Wrapping it Up

So I happen to think Charleston Fashion is fantastic.  It reflects our lifestyles, our weather, our architecture and our history.  We can keep up with the Joneses, yet strike out with a style all our own.  So whether you live here now or are moving here soon – check out your wardrobe.  Can you find Charleston?

Disclaimer:  By no means am I a fashion expert – I am just an observer with an outside perspective.   If you want true insight, check out our Charleston Fashion Week Maven’s Blog or the Charleston City Paper’s Event Blogger – Erika Jackson.

2 Responses to “Southern Stylin’ (Charleston Idiosyncrasies – Part 2)

  • I have a black pair of rainbows for high falutin’ nights on the town

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