southern style two generations removed…
I had the pleasure of attending the Polaris Industries sales meeting over the past two days. It was a lot of techs and specs talk and reveals of amazing new vehicles, but what I couldn’t help but notice was the Southern women walking around the Minneapolis Convention Center.
From the hair to the accessories and the dresses to the bling, women who are born, grow up or assimilate in the South sure know how to put themselves together. It isn’t about perfect but it is about proper. You don’t wear open toed shoes unless your toes are in the condition to be seen. If you can carry a bag, why not carry one that grabs some attention. If you a dress with stripes, your shoes shoe have stripes too. Diamonds and dresses mixed with perfectly executed dye jobs and I am sure a few diets - these women were a thing to behold.
I remember my first trip “down south” to Atlanta, Georgia and you know, even back then I was smitten. There is something so unapologetically feminine about them. I am not sure if they rail agains the glass ceiling, gender pay gap, feminist ideology that fills my news feeds, but my impression is that even if they do, they don’t give up their girliness to do it. Of course that accent doesn’t hurt either. I know we talk about the charm of a Southern gentleman and his slow, dripping drawl, but on the ladies it is just as disarming. It sounds innocent but with a cracking whip.
My grandmother grew up in Virginia and while we can argue the semantics of whether or not she is “Southern”, I think her upbringing had a distinct and lasting effect on how I dress. Not to toot my own horn here, but a lot of people ask me where I shop or how I choose to put myself together? With a robot-like response I have given credit to my mother for instilling certain values about dress, style and general presentation. Not that she doesn’t deserve credit, because God knows there are outfits I tried to get away with wearing and she wasn’t having it under her roof.
But, I feel as though I owe a lot to my mother’s mother. Marie, with her cork boards filled with 3,000 earrings ranging from golf clubs and balls to costume jewelry that would have made Marilyn blush. Her collection of rings, and shoes in every possible shade. The way she wore her prematurely white hair to accentuate her petite frame against skin always kissed by the sun. Her mannerisms. Her hint of a drawl and of course those great colloquialisms. Her unapologetic nature that is always followed with a “bless his/her heart.” Her style goes beyond fabrics and fashion, it is the very way she carries herself. I don’t think I have ever seen my grandmother look like she is letting herself go, frumpy or any of the other words often associated with women in their golden years. Heck, she even made us call her grandmother because grandma seemed too matronly and “old”.
So here is to you, Marie Potterton. I owe my matching belt and shoes requirement, my accessories are a must mantra, my don’t be afraid of a bright shade of lipstick attitude and my “if you can wear shoes, why wouldn’t you wear heels?” ideals to you. Oh, and who can forget the sass and spitfire. I got a little bit of that from you too.
So thanks for giving me a little bit of Southern style. It made me happy yesterday and this morning I put on red lipstick and red heels because that is how we roll.
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I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.”
— Jane Austen (via daianayumi)