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Southern Charm

By Melanie Moffett
In Bayou Fashion
Aug 28th, 2017
0 Comments
557 Views

It’s not hard to spot a Steel Magnolia when you see one – graceful and stylish – these seven ladies exemplify what it means to have Southern charm.

photography by Martin G Meyers

 

Ashley Watkins-Ambrew

BL) HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

AA) I would say I’m sophisticated sexy. I like to be elegant, but lean more towards a conservative look when the event calls for it.

BL) WHAT IS ONE STAPLE YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE IN THEIR CLOSET?

AA) A pair of really great black pumps. I always keep a pair in my car. You can throw them on with anything and make it look great – from a cocktail dress to a pair a jeans – a pair of black pumps are an essential piece of any woman’s wardrobe.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A TRADEMARK ACCESSORY OR LOOK?

AA) Scarves. I own over 100 scarves. I know that sounds a bit exessive, but scarves can really help pull an outfit together. Whether it’s cashmere or linen, scarves can change with the season and they serve multipurposes. You can wrap up in a cozy scarf on an airplane, snuggle up in one at a football game or add one to a simple tee and jeans for a look that is pulled together.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A FASHION INSPIRATION?

AA) Iman. Not only is she a pioneer in fashion and ethnic cosmetics, she is also known for her philanthropic endeavors. Her style is simple and effortless.

BL) TELL US WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT?

AA) I love my job at Louisiana Hospice and Palliative Care. I feel like it puts me in a position to help patients, caregivers and loved ones during times of great need. Knowing that I can help improve the quality of someone’s life is very rewarding.

Melissa Durrett

BL) TELL US ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

MD) It’s changed so much over the years. I was a nurse for 10 years so for the longest time, I wore scrubs. When I started helping my husband at his law firm, I started incorporating pieces in my wardrobe that were a little edgy, but classic.

BL) WHAT WILL YOU NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT?

MD) Mascara and lip glow. I love Dior Addict Lip Glow because it is a universal balm that brings out the natural color in your lip.

BL)WHAT IS A STAPLE THAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE IN HER CLOSET?

MD) A good blazer. You can dress it up, wear it out, and it can also be layered with a casual outfit for a relaxed look.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A TRADEMARK ACCESSORY OR LOOK?

MD) I have a few necklaces that I’ve bought at EDIT by LBP in Baton Rouge. A statement necklace is definitely my go-to accessory.

BL) WHO IS YOUR FASHION INSPIRATION?

MD) My best friend and college roommate, Ashley Peré. She always looks amazing. She can take something so simple and look like a million bucks.

BL) TELL US WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT?

MD) I’ve been involved with the United Way for years now. I feel like they’re an organization that reaches out to our whole community. There are so many children in our community in need and as an OB nurse and NICU nurse – I’ve seen first hand the impact that an outreach program can make in the lives of those in need.  We are also really involved in the development and growth of Downtown Ruston.

Ashley Ellis

BL) TELL US ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

AE) My hair is defining for me. I’ve always embraced my curls and with that, I’ve had to learn to build my wardrobe around it. I can’t wear bold prints – or else, it can be the ‘80s all over again. I am in education, too. So, I have to look professional, but try to balance that with things that I like to wear.

BL) DO YOU TEND TO LEAN TOWARD TRENDS?

AE) I definitely like to embrace current trends in my accessories. You can add a punch of color with a fringe earring or a tassel statement necklace to a neutral outfit and make it fun.

BL) WHAT IS A STAPLE THAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE IN HER CLOSET?

AE) A quality leather jacket. A real leather jacket will last for seasons and you can layer it with anything. Pair it with snakeskin pumps, a LBD, casual tee or denim and it looks great.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A TRADEMARK ACCESSORY OR LOOK?

AE) Large earrings to go with my big hair. For a while I never wore them, and then there was an earring explosion.

BL) WHO IS YOUR FASHION INSPIRATION? AE) My mom was always very fashionable. I remember going back-to-school shopping and she would take me to Signatures, The Indigo Company and other boutiques, and those memories really stand out.

BL) WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

AE) Education. We have to educate our children to make a difference. I love to see the progression of where a child starts and then where they end. It’s gratifying and I feel like I’ve made an impact when I can see a child reach their potential. We’ve go to focus on curriculum and educating our youth so that one day they will be community advocates.

Heather Land

BL) WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

HL) While I’ve lived in this area forever, I haven’t made an effort to be a part of the community until recently. But, I have found myself having great, unexpected conversations with other dreamers – locals who have committed themselves to our area with great passion. And in turn, in various ways, I am finding myself privileged to work alongside them – whether it be with my camera-in-hand or just my creative spirit chatting possibilities. And though my part is so tiny by comparison, I am crazy grateful for it.

BL) WHAT IS A STAPLE THAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE IN HER CLOSET?

HL) The perfect denim shirt. I get a new denim shirt every year. It’s a classic staple that every woman can wear.

BL) WHAT IS YOUR FASHION INSPIRATION?

HL) I don’t really have one. I believe in dressing comfortably. I think women who dress comfortably are confident. It’s not neccessarily what you are wearing as much as how you carry yourself. My mom always told me that I could wear a paper bag and make it look good <insert eye roll> and I never believed her. But, maybe she was on to something.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A TRADEMARK ACCESSORY OR LOOK?

MD) I have old band t-shirts that are legitimately old and belonged to my husband. I love pairing them with a blazer and a pair of Chucks.

BL) WHAT WILL YOU NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT?

HL) Chapstick. It’s my one beauty essential. I feel like women are at their most beautiful, when they appear natural.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A STYLE ICON?

HL) Not really. At this stage in my life, I’m loving my own style – which is whatever I can throw together and feel confident in (even if it’s over and over). I feel more comfortable as me than ever before and don’t have the pressure to dress in any particular way.

Susan Ewing

BL) DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

SE) I very rarely wear patterns. I’ve always been drawn to solids and neutral colors. I am most comfortable in a tennis skirt.

BL) DO YOU LEAN TOWARD TRENDS THAT ARE POPULAR?

SE) I like to have a trendy item in my closet and the ladies at The Fashion of Ruston always help guide me on how to incorporate a trend without overdoing it.

BL) WHAT IS A STAPLE THAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD OWN?

SE) A long cardigan. It’s generally a flattering look for women of every size. Layering pieces can really bring an outfit together and can help transition through the seasons.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A TRADEMARK ACCESSORY?

SE) Scarves. I don’t wear a lot of pattern but I’ll add color and a print to an outfit with a scarf. We just got back from Paris and I racked up at the Hermès  store.

BL) WHO IS YOUR FASHION INSPIRATION? SE) Audrey Hepburn. She’s the queen of flawless style. My favorite outfit is a turtle neck, ankle jeans and loafers. I always tell my two girls, “You always want to look effortless, even if it is very calculated.”

BL) WHAT IS A STAPLE YOU WON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT?

SE) Hand cream. I go back and forth between Caudalie and L’Occitane. Everyone teases me about it but my hands stay dry and it’s the one thing I have to have daily.

BL) WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

SE) I love the United Way and volunteer to read to 2nd graders through their program READ.LEARN.SUCCEED. It’s a community based initiative that helps children read more proficiently, inspire their love of reading and in return, increases their chances of graduating from high school.

Tiffany Rutland

BL) DO YOU TEND TO LEAN TOWARD CURRENT TRENDS?

TR) I like to sneak trends in my wardrobe. I’ll wear a leopard print flat with a skinny jean and t-shirt but I wouldn’t wear head-to-toe leopard print.

BL) QUANTITY OR QUALITY?

TR) I love to shop a sale and I love bargains. If I have an occasion that I need to dress up for, I’ll invest in a good quality piece. And I believe that you should invest in a great pair of black pants, a nice blazer and silk shirt. But, if I’m looking for a trend to add to my wardrobe, I’ll shop at TJ Maxx.

BL) WHAT IS A STAPLE EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE?

TR) I think everyone should have a good pair of jeans. I buy what looks good, I don’t really have a certain brand that I endorse. But, I love Curvy Slim jeans by Levi’s.

BL) BAGS OR SHOES?

TR) Shoes. It’s a lot of work changing bags. I’ll buy a neutral bag that will carry me through several seasons. It’s a lot easier to change shoes everyday – not as easy to change bags. I have two little boys: Henry is 5 and Ryan is 1, so right now my purse is generally stuffed in a diaper bag. I definitely think that your style changes with your kids.

BL) WHAT ITEM WILL YOU NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT?

TR) Germ-X. Hands down, it’s the one thing I will not leave home without.

BL) WORST FASHION MEMORY?

TR) MC Hammer pants. They were navy blue with flaps that would button in front.

BL) WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

TR) I volunteer with the United Way. I love this organization because we help everyone – we help D.A.R.T., assist people who’ve had house fires and children in need, through the schools and partnering with outreach programs. I also love being a pharmacist. I feel like I can help guide people and let them know if they can get something over-the-counter or if they do need to see a doctor. If I can help improve the quality of someone’s life, that’s rewarding.

Janelle Snellings 

BL) DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE.

JS) My look is simple and classic. I love a crisp white shirt with dark denim jeans and great accessories.

BL) WHAT IS A STAPLE EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE IN HER CLOSET?

JS) A good dress. I had an aunt that told me “Never go out in a dress and look odd.” Every woman should have a dress in her closet that she can wear to multiple functions and look fabulous and be comfortable in.

BL) BAGS OR SHOES?

JS) I have more of avariety of bags. I usually only buy one shoe per season because I invest in quality footwear. I always buy real leather because it conforms to your foot. I want a shoe that I can walk in and stand in for at least two hours. So, by bag collection is a little superior to my shoe collection.

BL) WHAT IS YOUR TRADEMARK ACCESSORY OR LOOK?

JS) Anything ruched or ruffled makes me happy.

BL) WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT?

JS) Lipstick. I really love SeneGence LipSense. It doesn’t dry out your lips and the color lasts.

BL) DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DESIGNER?

JS) I adore Balmain. But, I definitely patronize local boutiques. If I have an event to go to and need something quick, I can pop in to any of our area retailers and pick up something fashionable and know that I’m supporting our community and local business owners.

BL) WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

JS) I’m passionate about my children and the children in our community. I have three kids:  Sallie Jayne, Georgia and Quinn. When I’m not with them, I like to invest my efforts with community non-profits like the United Way and CASA.