Things Southern Women Always Wear in the Summertime
Count on flip-flops, straw hats, and Cajun Shrimp when the mercury rises.
Not that we have a uniform or anything, but Southern women do gravitate toward certain style staples in the summertime, though we've tweaked them over the years.
In the 1960s, for example, my mother’s generation wore pedal pushers, which are a cousin to clam diggers, I think? Nowadays, Mama and I both lean toward capris in the summertime. We like their “I’m chill yet age appropriate” vibe and their versatility. You can teach a whole week of Vacation Bible School or do a girls’ lunch in capris and raise nary an eyebrow, provided you choose the correct footwear. (Skechers or other comfy-cute sneaks for VBS, summery flats or sandals for lunch with the girls.)
Speaking of footwear, Southern women have an entire wardrobe of flip-flops: grocery store flip-flops, gym shower flip-flops, pool and spa flip-flops, dressy flip-flops, good flip-flops, knock-around flip-flops, vacation flip-flops, bedazzled flip-flops, bridesmaids’ flip-flops . . . You’d think we would need no other shoes. But we do—espadrilles, wedges, sandals, summer-wedding heels, etc.
Our warm-weather fabric favorites are light-as-air cotton, silk (for flowy, knee-length-or-just-a-touch-above, unbelted shifts we will wear to the aforementioned summer weddings), seersucker, and linen. BTW, all the women of the South have agreed (we took a vote) that linen “is supposed to look wrinkled like that.”
Accessory-wise, we love our hats: cute ball caps in ice cream colors, perhaps bearing the logo of a favorite beach town, which we’ll wear to the pool, the ballpark, or the Pig; floppy straw sunhats for the pool or the beach; and classic wide-brims for dressy occasions when we’re feeling especially Julia Sugarbaker. We love our statement jewelry, summer totes (stocked with Avon Skin So Soft Bug Spray), and big sunglasses. If our hair is long enough to pull back, we can find an age-appropriate ponytail for everybody from Baby Girl to Memaw.
As for the summer makeup palette of Southern fashion, we tend to divide into two camps: fresh and light or bold and bright. Your fresh-and-lights go for nail colors like Essie Ballet Slippers—Fiji if they’re feeling especially bold—or O.P.I. Bubble Bath, Funny Bunny, or Kyoto Pearl. Your bold-and-bright squad is all about the O.P.I. Cajun Shrimp or maybe Essie Rock the Runway.
But where the nails go, the lips don’t necessarily follow. Some of your nail color daredevils don’t venture beyond a nude lip, while some of the Funny Bunny crowd might go all Fire & Ice faster than you can say, “Do I have lipstick on my teeth?”
And if you do—have lipstick on your teeth, that is—the women who love you best will take action, as one of my own BFFs once pointed out to me. Your girls will greet you with, “Go like this” while bearing their teeth and moving their index finger back and forth like a toothbrush in front of their mouths. That’s Southern for, “Count on me not to let a sister address the women's ministry with a mouth full of Cherries in the Snow.” We've got your back, girlfriend.
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