Embrace your roots and channel your inner southern charm with some style inspiration from traditional southern belles. From Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara to numerous Tennessee William’s leading ladies like A Street Car Named Desire’s Blanche DuBois, southern belles have appeared in countless cultural staples.
Southern belles embody charm, wealth, high-class status, and the south. They were once distinguished figures, notable for their style and appearance. Although modern fashion diverges from some debutant key fashion features like hoop skirt gowns and sinching corsets, there are still various ways to pay homage to the belles. Whether you want to dress up for a derby or incorporate class into your look, here are four stylish ways to dress like a southern belle.
Modest and Tapered Clothing
Southern belles symbolize numerous ideals, innocence and purity being a couple of major ones. In cooperation with the belles’ dress codes and innocent ambiance, opt for modest, long-lengthed, and loose-fitting dresses. A classic fashion characteristic that attributes to the belle’s fashion staple is tapered busts. Southern-style dresses include under-chest seams, splitting dresses into two parts, a more fitted top half and a loose bottom half. The under-chest split creates a tapered look that mimics traditional corset and hoop skirt gowns. You can find similar fittings on picnic and baby doll dresses in the modern era. Long, flowy skirts that billow towards the bottom also create the same effect and modestly tapered appearance.
Color Palettes and Patterns
Color once signified wealth due to the rarity of dyes and colored cloths. In the past, if you could get ahold of colorful gowns, you were considered wealthy to afford such luxury. As upper-class women in the south, southern belles wore lots of bright colored and even floral dresses. Wearing clothes, especially dresses, with vivid colors or pastels (since softer colors symbolize purity), you can contribute an ode to the belles and their history. Traditional colors include reds, pinks, baby blues, deep greens, and yellow. They also wore a lot of white to further present purity.
Southern belles adorned their outfits with dainty accessories to further showcase their high-class status, wealth, and femininity. Southern belle attire incorporates various signature embellishments, from hats and gloves to specific jewelry items. When they didn’t walk around with their parasols, they often opted for wide-brim hats and fascinators to protect themselves from the sun and to look fashionable. For jewelry, pearls and dangling earrings made a common appearance. Plus, they are easier southern belle characteristics that are easier to incorporate into current outfits.
Ruffles, Ridges, and Ribbons
To pay tribute to traditional southern gowns featuring voluminous skirts and classy embellishments, find clothing items featuring ruffles, ridges, and ribbons. Ruffles and ridges in dresses, skirts and blouses create a more layered and fuller look without the need for a hooped under-wire. Ribbons, whether you wear them in your hair or fastened to your clothing, attune with the southern belle’s innocent and dainty imagery.
Although there are many more stylish ways to dress like a southern belle, these four tips will help you easily assimilate southern belle charms to your looks. Two Cumberland offers southern boutique clothing items online and in-store, featuring modern apparel with southern charms. They will help you create modernized southern belle signature looks. If you want to experience fully dressing as a traditional southern belle, you can attend numerous classic, social events that continue to this day and age, including horse Derbys, debutant balls, gala dinners, and high tea events.