The Items Every Southern Woman Needs In Her Closet
It's universally known that you don't have to tell a woman twice to go shopping. And in the South, Mama practically taught us that any special occasion calls for new attire. But what about closet basics? There are some pieces that no matter how many times you wear them, they'll always deliver on style and comfort. We chatted with an expert on Southern style, Mariah Walton Bencik, the owner of West London Btq. in New Orleans, Louisiana, to hear her list of closet essentials that every woman should have. Of course, we also added a few of our favorites to the end of Mariah's list, just for fun. Here are eight items every Southern gal needs in her closet.
1. An Oversized White Blouse
Universally flattering, and eternally stylish, every Southern woman should have at least one in her closet, Mariah says. You could even invest in a few styles in varying fabric qualities—lightweight cottons to breezy linens—and let them become your wardrobe go-to.
2. Linen Separates
You might be surprised at how incredibly versatile linen separates can be. They run the gamut of formality—easily transitioning from casual bottoms with sandals and summer knits to polished formal wear with heels and sparkling accessories.
3. A Statement Top
From small-scale pastel florals to big bright geometric motifs, colorful prints are a Southern must. You can never go wrong with having at least one statement top in your wardrobe that can be dressed up or down for special occasions, Mariah says. We like them all in both small and large doses—you'll turn every head in a room.
4. A Tea Dress
Tea dresses are arguably one of the most iconic Southern styles. Break them out for garden parties, art museum soirées, and of course, tea parties, Mariah says. The shin-length cut allows room to really show off your shoes – now that's a win, win!
5. A Classic White Dress
Take a cue from Southern showstoppers like Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. A classic white dress is a true closet cornerstone. Reach for it throughout the spring and summer seasons for a outfit choice that's sure to show off your summer tan. Plus, if wedding bells are calling your name, you'll be so glad you have a white dress at the ready for all your upcoming events.
6. The Perfect Pair of Jeans
We can't imagine not having a pair of well-fitted, comfortable jeans in our closet. If you're searching for quality-crafted, American-made denim, the South is chock-full of locally made designs. From Marc Nelson denim in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Raleigh Denim Workshop in (you guessed it!) Raleigh, North Carolina, our neighbors are creating stylish jeans right here at home.
7. A Family Heirloom
We like to hold onto little pieces of the past, and there is no better way to keep them close to our hearts than to wear them. Your grandmother's monogrammed locket, a passed down signet ring or even a rediscovered brooch can be a sentimental way to finish any outfit.
There are so many fun, modern takes on Mama's classic strand of pearls. Choose from a dangly imitation freshwater pearl earring or a set of bold pearl hoops to modernize the South's favorite accessory. You could even keep it timeless by draping a strand around your neck on a special occasion. However you wear them, pearls are an essential part of a Southern woman's wardrobe.