There’s no denying it. Columbia has gotten hipper.
Thanks to new shops, eateries, entertainment venues, and artistic outlets popping up across the area, the door has opened wide for style trends in streetwear, professional dress, and artistic self-expression that inspire the community in a whole new way.
Last month, Southern Living magazine came out with its list of the 50 Most Stylish Southerners, and we thought a few were missing – after all, they skipped Columbia.
In recognition of this new wave of awesome style, GoColumbia set out on a mission to highlight a few of our local trendsetters and get their advice for, you know, the rest of us.
Overwhelmingly, they say the secret to being stylish is confidence: Ignore the rules, wear what you like, and do it boldly.
Now, of course there are way too many Midlands trendsetters to list them all, but we rounded up a list of curators, professionals, artists, bloggers and more – all demonstrating that Columbia is, indeed, making its mark as a diverse, hip and stylish community.
Travel writer for the New York Amsterdam News; blogger at ShadesofPinck.com
Follow her on Instagram: @shadesofpinck
Her take on Southern style: To me, Southern style is classic, modest, ultra-feminine and colorful. My go-to Southern belle pieces are knit blazers, A-line skirts and the most feminine blouses I can find.
The one fashion rule she never follows: I think the best thing about the fashion industry right now is that there are no rules. Anything, and everything, goes! But my favorite way to rebel is by mixing prints. When done right, it really can create a memorable fashion moment.
Best fashion advice: Never underestimate the power of good tailoring. A few simple changes can make anything off-the-rack look like it was made just for you.
Special events manager with Columbia Museum of Art
On Southern style: It stretches far beyond the (Lilly) Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, and khaki and blues. Style doesn’t necessarily have to be defined by region. There is such incredible talent with local designers and stylists that push further than what we automatically see when we think of Southern fashion.
Fashion rule he never follows: Mixing patterns! I habitually mix clashing patterns, colors, and fabrics together. It makes getting dressed so much more fun.
Best fashion advice: Wear what you wear for yourself, not others. Do not stifle your creativity or personality when choosing your wardrobe. My quote to live by is from Alexander McQueen: “Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.”
Anne Wolfe Postic
Freelance writer, editor and content strategist
On Southern style: Southern style is such a broad term. I happen to think all my friends, and plenty of other people, look fantastic. They all have different style, and I love that Columbia is a place where you can be yourself when it comes to what you wear.
Fashion rule she never follows: Don’t wear short skirts after you’ve reached a certain age. Many thanks to Tina Turner for paving the way.
Best fashion advice: What you wear is so much less important than where you wear it and how much fun you have when you get there. I’ve never regretted going out when I didn’t have time to change. I do like to pile on a little extra mascara on the way, though.
Demetrius ‘6ixx’ Similien
Public speaker and mixed-media artist
On Southern style: The essence of Southern style, in my opinion, is always put your best foot forward, but be comfortable.
Fashion rule he never follows: That’s a tough one, I break them all. My only fashion rule is: As long as it fits, colors and prints shouldn’t be off limits! If it looks good on you, wear it with pride!
Best fashion advice: Be the brightest version of yourself in whatever you are wearing, and smile big. … If it catches your eye and looks good on you then go for it!
Strategist and law clerk with NP Strategies, Nexsen Pruet
On Southern style: There’s the always-dapper iterations of the Southern tuxedo. There’s the ladies rocking their boots and dresses at Willy B! There’s the Sunday church attire! And, there’s even the seersucker suits! Southern style is an expression, it is a feeling, it tells people who you are, and it describes so much about you.
Fashion rule he never follows: I can’t say that I’m one to believe in fashion rules.
Best fashion advice: First, don’t just wear the same thing that everyone else is wearing the same way that they are wearing it. Second, take pride in how you dress because it is a reflection on who you are.
Owner of Izzabee’s
On Southern style: I love that it’s classic, beautiful and makes no apologies, much like the South itself. There’s something wonderful about the fact Southerners still “dress” – be it for church, tailgating, or a Wednesday night about town. Vibrant colors, perfectly tailored suits and bow ties, dresses with great silhouettes and heirloom jewelry can be seen on a daily basis, which is so unheard of today (I’ve lived in three of the four corners of the U.S.), and no one does it better than the South.
Fashion rule she never follows: Less is more. If you want to wear fur, heels, diamonds and a full skirt to brunch, do it. If you’re comfortable and feel beautiful, what’s a few raised eyebrows?
Best fashion advice: Classic never goes out of style – I don’t believe you need to be trendy in order to be current. My grandmother’s fur from the 1950s is my favorite piece in my closet.
Creative director with ByFarr graphic design firm
Instagram: @brynleyfarr; @byfarrdesign
On Southern style: I love summer, when linen, tan skin and seersucker are in full bloom.
Fashion rule she never follows: I NEVER follow matching your shoes to your bag.
Best fashion advice: I know this is probably cliché, but you should wear clothes you feel most like YOU in. When you’re lookin’ good, you’re feelin’ good – and confidence looks wonderful on everyone.
Model and entrepreneur
On Southern style: I love Southern style because of how unique some of the pieces can be. I am all about uniqueness when it comes to fashion.
Fashion rule he never follows: I never follow, “Say no to double denim.”
Best fashion advice: Be bold, be creative, and don’t be afraid to be different with your outfits. Allow them to do the speaking for you!
Owner of BP Skinner Clothiers
On Southern style: Regardless of where you go, being referred to as a “Southern gentleman” means a lot and is quite a compliment. It means that you have style and manners, and that you are well-groomed and dressed to the nines.
Fashion rule he never follows: I never follow the rule about not mixing two patterns together. I prefer to mix more than two and to push the limits without going over the top.
Best fashion advice: Always be aware of what is happening in fashion and what is new, but don’t let it dictate everything that you wear. Take the new fashion trends, and translate them to your body shape, profession, taste level, and lifestyle.
On Southern style: As an artist, I often treat each ensemble I compose as a work of art. It is important to me to balance neutral items with eye-catching statement pieces. I’m not afraid to take chances. I often mix modern pieces with vintage to create a unique look. I enjoy customizing clothes and accessories from the thrift store to make them one-of-a-kind. The artwork I create is wearable and almost always finds its way into my wardrobe even if temporarily until it’s sold or exhibited.
Southern style often consists of layers due to the fact that our weather can change throughout the week, especially during the seasonal transitions. I definitely subscribe to this. Layers make it easy to transition throughout the day. Over the years, my style has evolved from the classic Southern girl in preppy outfits to a more eclectic, artsy vibe. I’m now comfortable standing out in adventurous ensembles and unconventional pairings. I spent four years in Ohio, so there is also a little bit of the northern “all black everything” in my Southern style. Most of all I think style should be FUN!
Fashion rule she never follows: Dress “on trend.”
Best fashion advice: Style is personal. There is no one size fits all. Wear what you are comfortable with but don’t be afraid to take chances. Remember that old can become new again! Your style is the first impression you make on those you encounter. It is a unique expression of who you are! What do you want your style to say about you?
Theater Manager, The Nickelodeon Theatre, USC Student
On Southern style: Southern style is at its best right now because it’s so eclectic. I love being able to mix the girl-next-door look of blue jeans with wide-brim black hats and flowy pullovers that mix in that Southern Gothic feel that’s so romanticized here, while pairing it all with blue-collar riding boots and big gold earrings. I love how places like Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte and even Greenville exude style that is always being pushed and edges that are always being explored. I’m inspired every night by all the beautiful and stylish people I know and love making moves all over the state.
Fashion rule she never follows: I’ve never held to the rule that white shouldn’t be worn after Labor Day. I have too many gorgeous pants, tops and boots that fit and look too great to not where all year long. No shame about it here either!
Best fashion advice: Confidence is what really brings an outfit together. Oh, and it is absolutely OK to go out in sweatpants, no makeup, and a hat over dirty hair when you just aren’t feeling it. Give yourself space to not be perfect all the time because we’ve all been there.