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How Does Atlanta Get to be a Player in the World of Fashion?

I grew up on Miami Beach and, up until my late teens, thought south Florida was the mecca of fashion. Once I was old enough to work, I jumped right into retail because I had the bug often times referred to as shopaholism.  I worked at a super trendy store in Bal Harbour Shops called High Speed whose price tags (even with my employee discount) were far more than my paycheck could ever afford. We sold all the hottest styles of the 80’s including, acid wash rhinestone jean jackets, Z Cavaricci pants, Edwin jeans and EG Smith socks .  I was in seventh heaven being surrounded by all that glitters and always had a perfectly styled outfit for every weekend outing. I loved the clothes there so much that the summer before I headed off to college, I saved all my money to buy a few key pieces that were super high $$$. The cost didn’t matter as long as I was able to ensure I was the most stylish girl on campus. Boy was I in for a big surprise….not everyone at my new school/sorority appreciated bandeau tops, super tight jeans with zippers everywhere, red suede boots or studded leather jackets with a big eagle on the back. It was then and there I realized that fashion was regional & certain styles take others a little longer to appreciate. Since then I’ve lived between Atlanta, Los Angeles & Miami and have shopped on every single trip I take.... Lake Burton all the way to New Zealand. Each city or town I visit has some influence on my style palette because I'm always looking for local flavor. The question then is “what is Atlanta’s style mark?” The answer is complicated so I’ll start with my answer. In the overall picture Atlanta’s key style themes are color, patterns and preppy. We tend to project a sweet and innocent image to the world.  We are traditionally more frilly and dressy although recently we are transitioning into a more casual style. The average southern woman does not look for flash and does not gravitate towards figure hugging or sexy clothing. We do have a sense of style but it is not fully formed and is slightly behind on the trends of the major cities – New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Dallas Now here’s the part that gets a little more complicated about Atlanta’s style. According to national clothing reps, designers & style editors Atlanta is falling significantly short on the fashion scale.  Top three statements are that Atlanta tends to do trends very late in the game (if ever or when the trend is over), we have a group think mentality where most don’t have any desire to be unique, and we tend to be on the frumpy side. Ouch!!!!  After living here 13 years I’ve earned the title of being a southerner (especially now that y’all is permanently embedded in my vocabulary) so it is hard for me to break this news to those that were not aware.  Don’t shoot the messenger. Yes their opinions are harsh but they don’t apply to everyone in Atlanta. We are a quickly growing city and our style is growing at the same rate.  There are plenty of people here that are amping up our fashion anti and guiding the way to a more stylish city.  My opinion is to keep some of the Atlanta core fashion values (i.e. color and patterns) and then try to trickle in some fashion forward styles that are still easy. Each person should push themselves slightly out of their comfort zone. Our customers here at Range Boutique definitely do that, and it seems to be working for them. I can’t tell you how often we hear that they wore an outfit we styled for them (that they never would have picked) and got tons of compliments. We make them look their best and that’s what keeps them coming back. Fashion becomes addicting if you get it right! Over the next decade, Atlanta has a chance to make an impact on fashion too. Here’s a few simple guidelines that may help us: A person’s outfit really should express the best traits they possess, both physically and mentally. If women are confused on what to buy, they should be looking for stylists and stores that offer help – not just sales people trying to increase the sale! Focus on your assets and don’t try to hide everything you are uncomfortable with, you’ll end up looking like you are wearing a garbage bag. There’s no point in dressing frumpy unless you want to live a dull life! With these few pieces of advice, I feel confident Atlanta will grow into it’s own style and blossom.

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Just to show a the difference in styles, we've attached some of each city's best dressed out on the town. The cities include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami & New York. Everyone looks amazing but we think each city has influenced their style.

Just to show a the difference in styles, we've attached some of each city's best dressed out on the town. The cities include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami & New York. Everyone looks amazing but we think each city has influenced their style.

MOCA's 35th Anniversary Gala Presented By Louis Vuitton At The Geffen Contemporary At MOCA - Cocktails/Exhibition



Style Ranger

Thanks for commenting. Atlanta is evolving slowly but surely into a true power city. Hopefully with all of the multi regional influences moving in we’ll amp up our game while still keeping our southern charm. I look forward to watching us grow.


i really liked your take on this theory. i don’t see atlanta as southern at all—i never hear a southern accent other than mine! i see it is a huge melting pot, with great talent.

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