Monday, November 7, 2016

Draper James: Targeting the New Southern Woman

Today I'm wearing my first purchase from Draper James, the brainchild of actress Reese Witherspoon. The website (and a few retail stores -- though none in Atlanta), sell clothing and accessories focused on the modern Southern woman. I could easily see most of the items on the website available in department stores like Belk or chain stores like Anthropologie.

The designs here are ready to go: to the playground, to the office, to a football game (there's even a tailgate section!), to drinks after work with girlfriends. You don't see a lot of black, but you do see fun prints and classic styles with some catchy Southern phrases mixed in.

For example, Totes Y'all adorns a cute tote bag, and "Hello Sugar" appears on some red plaid mugs perfect for holding coffee on Christmas morning. You get the picture. Living in Atlanta, I'm probably well within the target demo for the Draper James brand, so I have been wanting to try out a piece for myself.

I nabbed this cute floral fit and flare dress during a recent sale, which is the only way I would buy something. (I did not build up my wardrobe by buying dresses at full price.) Although most everything is adorable, many of the items are fairly expensive, with dresses retailing for upwards of $300. (I scored this dress for about 70% off.) With the prices so high, I expected a lot from this little summer dress, but I was a tad disappointed: The dress wasn't lined, and ran a little big. It did, however, have pockets, and the material was lightweight, perfect for a hot summer day in the South.

But overall, I am pleased with my first Draper James dress.

What I like about the designs from Draper James is that they aren't childish like many other brands aimed at Southern women. For example, can you really pull off the shift dresses and neon color palette of Lilly Pulitzer past your 20s? Southern women are bright, successful and fashionistas in their own right, whether they're toting kids to school or presenting a new idea at work. It's nice to have a brand that treats Southern women as more than eye candy. (Don't forget that Reese Witherspoon is in her early 40s, too, right around my age.)

Dress: Draper James Floral Seersucker Sweetheart Fit and Flare Dress

Here is Reese Witherspoon wearing the dress in her popular Instagram feed. It's currently sold out, but check out this other floral dress from the brand (though it's not currently on sale). Fun fact: I actually met Reese Witherspoon back in 2002 during a junket for Sweet Home Alabama. During my last year in college and for a few years afterward, I was a writer and editor for INsite Magazine. That was a long time ago, though!

The dress was also seen on a recent episode of New Girl. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) wore it in the James Wonder episode (Season 6, Episode 8).

Pumps: Stuart Weitzman Capsize Metallic Cap Toe Pumps

We set the clocks back an hour this weekend, which usually -- to me, anyway -- signals the official start of the Fall/Winter season. I know this dress is better suited for summer, but it's still in the 70s here in Atlanta, so I'm wearing these types of dresses while I can!