Welcome to New South Style, a feature that celebrates modern living in a storied place.
This is the South I know and love — dynamic, urbane, multicultural, paradoxical. Cherishing tradition, but not confined to it. Informed by history, but not defined by it. Gracious, but not stagnant.
New South Style embraces fusion, and eschews fussy. Obsessed with deconstructed cuisine, not the reconstruction. Wears big hair with irony. Doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The spirit of the New South doesn’t depend on stereotypes to know who we are or where we are. Our pride is bigger than a bumper sticker, deeper than cliches. Whatever you think you know about the South, we love to challenge it. We’re a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit techno, a little bit classical, and a whole lot of other things.
I’ve lived here for seventeen years, and I’m still smitten. Here are five of my favorite things about life in the South.
Southern Traditions to Love
Bourbon, barbecue, biscuits, yes! But also: handcrafted ales, uptown cocktails, heritage meats, heirloom vegetables, artisan breads, truck tacos, fusion sushi, tapas, French macarons, oh my! Food is the true religion of the South, and it deliciously embraces both trend and tradition.
The census doesn’t have statistics to back this up, but I’m betting the South has a higher per acre concentration of eccentrics, rogues, rabble-rousers, and other idiosyncratic types than most other places. Okay, so maybe there are fascinating people everywhere. But ours speak with a fetching accent and tell better stories.
Yes, ma’am; no, sir; and hey, y’all. Doors held open. Bless your heart and reckon you might could. Seersucker suits with bowties. Debutante gowns with long gloves. Derby hats with silver cups. Cowboy boots with everything. Southern style is rooted in Southern customs, and it never gets completely away from its raisin’s. Tastemakers in the modern South are those who find fresh ways to express old world charms.
Maybe it’s something in the water that makes the South a soulful place. I don’t mean religious– though we have plenty of those folks—but a desire to connect with each other heart to heart. Some might say we have boundary issues. I call it close-knit. Most Southerners have never met a stranger. They don’t shy away from personal conversations. Introduce two people at a cocktail party, or give them enough time in the checkout lane, and chances are good that they’ll come away knowing the arc of each other’s life stories and spiritual outlook.
Uptown, downtown, small town, lowbrow and high-falutin’, we have culture that captivates the world. Elvis was from here. And R.E.M. And B.B. King. And Johnny Cash. And…the list is just too long. So is the list of literary giants. William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Margaret Mitchell, John Grisham, Charlaine Harris, Maya Angelou…you’ve heard of them? And then there are our painters, actors, dancers, and designers. The South has stories to tell, and they get told every which way there is.
What I love most of all about living in the South is that the stories are still being written. I’m thrilled to be given a space on Country Outfitter from which to share them. I’ll be writing weekly about fashion, culture, food, comfort and good times from a New South state of mind. I hope you’ll love it here as much as I do.
Meanwhile, check out some of our favorite Southern Style!