For the past two years, I have had my mind set on coming to Nashville to pursue my dreams of fashion and mission work. That’s exactly what I’m here to do: study fashion merchandising and business as missions, with the hopes of starting a clothing company to benefit people in need.
From the first time I visited Nashville during my junior year, I knew I was meant to be a southern belle. Being from Cleveland, Ohio, the trends here are so different from home, and I couldn’t wait to embrace them. Since moving here in August to start my freshman year, though, I have realized that the trends and styles are not what I thought they were.
Sure, they’re still different from home, but not what I envisioned. Turns out that it’s not all cowgirl boots and gingham all day every day down here. Good to know.
I am rooming with a sweet friend who is a Tennessee native. As we pick out our clothes for the day, it has been entertaining and interesting to see how the styles of the North and South differ. However, it is not just with her. The North and South overall definitely have different trends.
First of all, Chacos are NOT a thing up north. I came to Summer Scholars in 2017 (where I met my sweet roomie!) and knew nothing of them. I was so confused when, in a round of Fruit Basket Turnover calling for all those with Chacos to move, I was one of few who did not move. The whole week was full of free advertisements and testimonials for the company, as every Southerner there raved about their comfortable shoes, and how they are perfect for everything. Knowing that this is where I wanted to come to school, and that I wanted to become a Southerner, you best believe I went home after that week and ordered myself a pair.
Going off of that, Uggs are not a thing down here. Moving here, knowing that I won’t be going back to Cleveland until Thanksgiving, I packed my Uggs and heavy winter coat so that I’m prepared for the weather when I fly home.
After all, in Ohio we get mountains of snow from as early as the end of October to sometimes into April. Those winter necessities are stowed away in the back of my closet in my suitcase. I went to grab a blanket out of that suitcase one day, and my roommate flat out laughed at me when she saw my Uggs. I started to panic. Were they stained? Was there some kind of bug in my suitcase? What was she laughing at? I asked her.
“You have Uggs?” she laughed. “I didn’t think anyone wore Uggs after the seventh grade!”
That may be true here, but so not true up where it snows, like, a bazillion feet a winter. Of course they were huge in the seventh grade, but they’re still popular, because nothing else will keep our toes from turning blue and falling off when we’re in the dead of winter, up to our hips in snow.
I knew coming here that pearls were big, but they’re everywhere. There are not only pearl earrings and necklaces and bracelets, but there are pearl lined sweaters! Fabric with pearls sewn onto them! You know I bought some earrings before I came. I love them, and wear them every day. My roommate has the cutest pearl necklace, and wears it very often, because it goes so well with everything.
I’m not much of a jewelry person, but I do love my Pandora bracelet.
I know they have them down here — I’ve been eyeing the Pandora store at Green Hills, trying to figure out which bead I want next. I haven’t noticed them to be as big here, though.
Maybe Pandora bracelets are the South’s pearls. Every woman has one, and it is fun to see which beads make up their collection.
Rain jackets are big here. We have them in Ohio, but not like here. Most of us just walk around with umbrellas, but these people are prepared. They have their cute patterned umbrellas AND adorable monogrammed jackets. That’s another thing. Nothing in the North is monogrammed. I love that about the South. I just think it is so personal and special to have your initials on your coats and hats and mugs and towels. It’s so sweet.
Here, as soon as it hits 70, the coats are out. Just yesterday, I asked my roommate if it was cold out. She stuck her hand out our window and said, “It feels cold.” I proceeded to put on my leggings and lightweight jacket, and walked across campus sweating. These lucky Southerners don’t have to deal with the below-zero temps that we’re so used to across the North, so anything with a slight chill is cold for them.
Meanwhile, in the North, we tend to hold off on jackets as long as we can, knowing that once they come out, there’s no going back. The 60-degree weather is a favorite, because it’s that sweet spot in the middle – still warmer than winter, but with a hint of anticipation for the chill to come, but sometimes we go even lower than that before pulling them out. And guys tend to wear shorts all year long, until they finally pull out the sweats when it gets below 20 degrees.
I’ve also noticed that Southerners tend to put more focus on what their outfits look like. I was like this a lot at home, but Northerners — especially those my age — tended to just wear jeans or athletic shorts and a Cleveland tee every day. Southerners, however, assemble adorable little ensembles all the time, with cute solid colored tops and skirts or embroidered jeans. I’ve realized that boots and plaids aren’t as big as I thought they were — usually they’re for going out and for concerts, but not just for every day. Jean skirts, however, are very big. I ordered one soon after I got here because everyone’s were just so darn cute.
Also, a big thing I’ve noticed, which I find ironic, is that Simply Southern shirts are more popular in the North, at least amongst people my age! I have barely seen any since I got here, which surprises me, since it actually makes sense to wear them here! Half of my collection is with me, and half at home, but tons of girls up north have those adorable tees — an example of us Northerners daydreaming about the South.
Florals are bigger in the North, while plaids, gingham, and seersucker are more trendy here. While these overlap a bit, I’ve definitely noticed more of the gingham and seersucker present here, whereas at home, everyone wears a lot of solids and florals — I guess that’s our way of daydreaming about the warm weather.
Personally, my closet has a variety, mixing both northern and southern styles, which is exactly what I want. A lot of girls up North have pieces in their closet to resemble the southern belle look. Though we’re northern girls at heart, we all love the southern belle style and love recreating that with some of our own touches, like including those florals and ribbons in our hair.
As much as I’ve wanted to become a southern girl and am glad for the opportunity to experience the southern culture, I’m a girl with Northern roots. That doesn’t mean I can’t bring a little Southern flair to my wardrobe, though. I hope you choose to do the same, wherever you’re from, because both the North and South have trendy styles that are fitting for any fashionista’s closet.
Until next time,