How Can Atlanta Become a Key Fashion City?

Sabrina Davis

Posted on April 03 2014

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 known 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 loved having a perfectly styled outfit for every weekend. Clothes were so important to me, so 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, much less my sorority appreciated bandeau tops, super tight jeans with zippers everywhere, red suede boots or a 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....from  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.  I’ll start with my own. 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 very 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 who were not aware.  Don’t shoot the messenger. Yes the outsider's opinions are harsh, but they don’t apply to everyone in Atlanta. We are a rapidly growing city and our style is growing at the same rate.  There are plenty of people here that are amping up our fashion ante 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 mixing in some fashion forward styles that are still easy. Each person should push themselves slightly out of their comfort zone.  My customers 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 & become a style maker city.  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, blossom and have other major cities being influenced in fashion by us, too.

We scoured the web for fun pictures of socialites from different cities. Can you tell which city each picture is from by their style?
We scoured the web for fun pictures of socialites from different cities. Can you tell which city each picture is from by their style?

Please comment your own thoughts of fashion in Atlanta and let us know if you figured out which city was which in the pictures above.   (the answer goes clockwise from top left corner - LA, Miami, Atlanta, NY)

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