These days, anyone with a Wi-Fi signal has instant access to runway trends, fashion brands, and style blogs from all over the world. Although that’s led to a certain globalization of trends, regional style remain more prevalent than ever. The South has always been proof of this — from a passionate love for Lilly Pulitzer to all-monogram everything, the states below the Mason-Dixon line boast a style that’s all their own.
But, compared to a brightly patterned designer dress, the latest Southern fashion obsession is surprisingly casual: a T-shirt. According to WWD, tees, tanks, and sweatshirts stamped with Southern sayings are currently selling out at retailers across the region. Featuring slogans like “Soul Clean Boots Dirty” or “Jeep Hair Don’t Care,” the tops were first inspired by popular Game Day team tees. Local brands like The Southern Doe and Written (which has sayings like “Well-Dressed Southern Mess”) began selling these revamped, female-targeted versions about two years ago.
Now, the shirts have expanded into dozens of styles and are currently stocked at hundreds of boutiques across the South. According to Lisa Jones, owner of Written and Elysian, a boutique in Bentonville, AR, the tees’ appeal are their clean aesthetic, simple font, and moderate price tag (around $30):
“For the past few years, T-shirts have been too busy. I was looking for something less busy and classy that could be worn as casual-dressy and was affordable,” says Jones. (For ladies who favor that most Southern-girl of descriptors, there’s also a “Classy, Sassy and Southern” tee you can buy.)
Some slogans espouse a kind of questionable yet down-home, good-time vibe straight out of a Tim McGraw song, like The Southern Doe’s “Time to Drink Beer and Dance on the Tailgate” and “Scoot Over This Girl Can Shoot.” But given the recent return of slogan tees on therunway, and Reese Witherspoon’s Southern-themed Draper James line, this head-scratching fashion trend actually makes much more sense. (WWD)