HOMEGROWN IS GROWING
by Allie Barnett
The South is rarely known for being a trend-setting region. Jokes can be made about aesthetic choices here, but it seems the tables are turning. Devon Lee Carlson sports her cowboy boots with pride. Space cowboy costumes or just the bedazzled, tricked out cowboy hats were all the rage a mere two years ago. Dolly Parton is a national hero in the eyes of the American youth. Shows like Yellowstone, Outer Banks, and even Fixer Upper are gaining traction, bringing in a new appreciation for rural and Southern style. And, of course, country music is seeing a revival through the more folk and alternative sounds of Zach Bryan, Orville Peck, Tyler Childers, or Colter Wall (even if he’s from Canada); as well, there’s the appreciation of predecessors, like renewed interest in Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood trending on TikTok.
Due to both New York’s and Los Angeles’s growing affinity for the cowboy boot, specifically for women, it would be safe to say we could be starting to enter an Urban Cowboy type of trend. Nylon has already reported that Spring 2022 will have near excessive denim as a staple. Likely, it will be an extension of the space cowboy idea, where traditional clothing is “spiced up” to fit a fresher, eye-catching outfit. Boots will, and already have begun, to center around style over practicality. One look at Amazon and a plethora of stylish boots appear that have no place on farm land.
That being said, we have also seen the short lived appreciation of rural and Southern styles in terms of decor. Less than a decade ago, rustic weddings and homes were all the rage, mason jars serving any and all purposes with twine accenting them. Now, many have changed allegiance and find such a style tacky and era-revealing. Will cowboy boots and Wrangler tuxedos quickly become a fad?
Another aspect to examine is that the Southern style being taken on is not exactly a genuine picture of what people are wearing in the South. Cowboy boots are an essential, but many girls instead wear white boot high heels while the men don the cowboy boots. Denim is done for simplicity rather than attempting a 2001 Justin Timberlake/Britney Spears appearance. Real cowboy or riverboat hats don’t have sparkles or sequins; they’re typically neutral colored felt.
However, with the increased amount of people coming from all across the country to the SEC, the authentic fashion of the South is starting to make its way back to their homes. The unofficial dress code of SEC game days, which are outfits that seem more appropriate for upscale brunch than a tailgate, makes its way to their hometown friends’ Instagram feeds. Slowly their closet gets overrun by small boutique fashion. They come home from college and now have a new style that might just rub off on their friends.
That’s no guarantee, and surely many still dress the way they did before stepping foot in the southeast, but the cultures are blending. No longer are Southern state schools mostly in state kids. Due to the appeal of “the quintessential college experience,” as well as lucrative scholarships and high potential to succeed with sports, many find the offer too good to refuse. A place once deemed too horrific to ever associate with is rebranding itself, and thus inadvertently advertising its culture through 18-22 year olds.
So what does this all mean? Well, the Southerners will probably feel a mix of vindication as well as confusion on the adaptations of their stylings. As for those outside the South, y’all don’t need to be afraid to go cop that denim corset and pair of Tony Lamas in your Depop searches.