The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday December 3rd

Dress Code

Northern vs. Southern fashion

Growing up in the North makes you realize the multiple things that vastly differ from Southern culture. 

From the sweetness of the tea to how you greet your parents, there is a prominent cultural divide once you pass the Mason-Dixon line. 

Conforming to the mannerisms and the overall Southern hospitality is something that seemed to come very naturally for me, yet sometimes I struggle to fully understand how to compromise my Northern roots with Southern class.

I spent all of middle and high school, as well as my first year of college, in the South and I've come to learn all about the many trends and what simply doesn't do the trick. 

First of all, growing up in the North, I have never heard it be remotely acceptable to dress up for a sporting event. Maybe it was also because I have never found any real passion for sports, but wearing a dress to a football game was extremely out of the ordinary. 

Although I don't attend a "football school," I find myself looking for "game day" gear that doesn't include a t-shirt and tennis shoes. Game day outfits are something born of Southern culture. If you wear a sundress and cowboy boots to a game up North, someone will probably ask you if you're lost and need some help finding the way out of the stadium.

Northern style is also much more muted. It's structured and chic, while native Southerns tend to be more feminine and geared towards prints. It might be because of the rigid personalities and culture of the Northern population that contrasts with the hospitality and Southern charm that creates such different style combinations. 

The femininity that goes along with Southern style puts a big focus on loose-fitting clothing that gives a girl an ethereal element and a care-free vibe. 

I have learned, however, that no one can accessories quite like the South. The color combinations of accessories are flawless and always complementary, while I was always taught to keep it simple and functional, rather than playful and colorful.

Minimalism is another factor that is rarely seen in the South. Bigger is always better where as Northerners put a large focus on monotone looks that have just enough accessories or extras to show effort.

The nature of the North is also a bit more daring. Girls seem to put a bigger emphasis on more form-fitting clothes that are always pushing social boundaries and are continuously edgy. 

How a person is classified as preppy was something I had a very hard time grasping as I slowly adjusted to Southern culture. The Northern preppy vibe is unquestionable simple and portrays class in a minimal way. The preppy outfits that one in the North usually wears never give anything away about the person wearing the clothes, they allow an entrance to be made and a person to command the room.

In contrast to this, a Southern prep (as I've learned from the many blogs with names strikingly similar to that phrase) has everything to do with prints and logos. You know exactly what brands to wear and how to wear them; the Southern prep is becoming increasingly more accessible and girls are able to spot it within seconds.

Many people forget just how different the two ends of the east coast are, but in reality the culture of each is what makes them individually so great. Having experience the styles and trends of each throughout the years has shown me how to meet in the middle and incorporate several different styles into a single wardrobe. 

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