Black Swamp Jewelry

While wooden jewelry often brings to mind stacked bangles that compliment a bohemian look, Black Swamp is a new jewelry line that brings a more sophisticated aesthetic. Eutawville, South Carolina based furniture designer Katie Thompson takes scraps, or off-cuts, from her handcrafted wood works to create each piece of jewelry. The line is eco-friendly and affordable, with prices ranging from $15 to $50. Pick up your new favorite necklace, bracelet, or earrings via Black Swamp’s online shop. 

“No two pieces are exactly alike. Using a combination of fine craftsmanship and other high quality metal materials I am able to create a line of jewelry that transcends a combination of styles and natural elements.” -Katie Thompson, creator of Black Swamp

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Cavortress at Bonnaroo

If you’re headed out to Tennessee for Bonnaroo, be sure to say hi to my fashion designer/stylist friend Julie Wheat (aka Cavortress) and her pink, black, and silver booth. She’ll be slinging vintage clothes, jewelry, handmade items, even some costumes. Y’all know how I feel about costumes. Julie’s also snapping some street style photos, so check back for some of her favorite Bonnaroo fashion in an upcoming post!

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Menswear Made in the South: Southern Tide

Love to see your southern gentlemen in fine quality apparel? Are you a man that loves the classic southern look? Southern Tide has just what you want. A rapidly growing lifestyle brand, Southern Tide’s line of apparel and accessories boasts exceptional craftsmanship, clean lines, fine quality, and classic design.

Channel Marker Plaid Sport Shirt in Red paired with Southern Tide Jeans

 The company was founded in 2006 by Allen Stephenson and is manufactured in South Carolina. Southern Tide is expanding their brand to include the Southern Tide Vintage Collection.  The collection will include men’s jeans, chinos, and a variety of shirt styles. In addition, Nautical polo shirts and canvas belts have been added to company’s apparel line, as well as new designs and colors to existing items including the quarter zip pullover sweater, RT-7 Pants, boxers and lounge wear.

 Classic Skipjack Polo in Grenadine paired with Channel Marker Flat Front Shorts in Stone, accented with the Skipjack Needlepoint Belt in Navy (Made exclusively for Southern Tide by Smathers and Branson)

Southern Tide’s Vintage Collection is made for a comfortable, worn-in, but durable look and feel. The jeans are hand-crafted to give the customers a true vintage denim look and feel making no two pair alike. These vintage-washed jeans are constructed of 100% cotton, or 99% cotton with one percent stretch. The Vintage Collection also includes chino and oxford vintage shirts that are 100% cotton and are vintage washed.

(L to R) Saltwater Fly Tee (Super Gotcha) in White, Classic Lures Tee in Black, Original Skipjack Tee in Lava  Saltwater Fly Tee (Multi-Fly) in Aqua,  Saltwater Fly Tee (Slinky Deceiver) in Yellow

So if you are a southern gentleman or looking to purchase something special for the southern gentleman in your life you can purchase Southern Tide products in more than 500 fine retailers in more than 42 states across the country, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, as well as on Southern Tide’s online store at

-Brandy Gaspard
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Guest Post: Cavortress

I’m out at sea this week, so while I’m cruisin’ around Mexico I’ve got several lovely ladies taking the blogging reins for me. Let them know how much you like their posts by leaving words of wisdom in the comments. See y’all when I get back and sadly no, my pasty white self won’t be bringing back a tan.

My name is Julie Wheat and I am the owner, founder, and designer at Cavortress that was recently featured in Slow Southern Style’s last guest post, by Katie Kozar Thompson featuring a wedding dress I that designed and created for her.  When Christy offered to have me do a guest post for January, I was totally excited  to share more about Cavortress with SSSreaders.  In fact, Mrs. Kozar Thompson’s dress was our first ( and pssst….we want another bride but we can only handle one a year!).

Cavortress is a Charleston, SC based company known for designing swim and resort wear known for offering ‘conspicuous classics perfect for fun the in the sun’.  This is our first year manufacturing our products that will be available at Hampden Clothing, which has been named by both Town & Country and Coastal Living as one of the top shopping destinations in the South.  Cavortress can also be found at the well known Southern chain Monkee’s , and on our website and at Austin’s SXSW event in March.  Our swim and resort wear features prints that I designed and fabric and hardware imported from Italy.  Not to mention, and all of our products are made in the United States.  Cavortress swim and resort designs are inspired by the number of requests we received from or vintage clothing clients over the years for vintage swimwear.

Excerpt from Cavortress vintage campaign ‘Sugar and Spice’ featured at 2011 SXSW’s STYLE X event. Photoraphy: Cyle Suesz.

More than a decade later, Cavortress vintage has expanded to sell clothing to a number of private clients including Charleston Magazine’s Style Director and brains behind Charleston Fashion Week, Ayoka Lucas; runway coach and former model (for Armani, Vivienne Westwood, and Clairol) Michelle Wood who was

recently seen on MTV’s True Life, as well as a number of radio and television personalities and musicians including second time Grammy nominee Spencer Chamberlain of Tampa’s Underoath and his girlfriend for their attendance at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

Our vintage fashions are also available at a number of independent boutiques in the South (including House of Sage and Rogue Wave Surfshop) throughout the South where we carefully curate monthly ‘mini-collections’ based on the boutique’s clientele. The Cavortress ‘Great American Vintage Collection’ will be
shown at SXSW’s second STYLE X event in Austin, TX March 15 and 16 along side of our swim and resort collection. Shoppers can expect to find hand knits, silks, woven wools, cottons, plaids, leathers, as well as strong American brands like DKNY, Pendleton, and Levi’s, including some that don’t exist anymore like Campus Casuals, I. Magnin, and Bleeker Street. Fashions featured in the Cavortress ‘Great American Vintage Collection’ have been plucked from thrift shops, auctions, and private collections across the country from Sioux City to Palm Beach, Honolulu to Salt Lake, Huntsville to Galveston, and San Francisco to Buffalo. This year vintage jewelry will be included. The 2012 advertising campaign for the ‘Great American Vintage Collection’ is being photographed this month with Tout Talent’s Madeline Cimone. 

In addition to designing swim/resort wear and placing vintage fashions, I most recently worked with TBA Productions and Seamless Pictures on the full length feature horror film, III, as a producer, wardrobe designer/supervisor , and as the effects assistant. Principal filming wrapped in December and the movie is currently in post production. The III team is excited about entertaining purchase offers from a number of studios and distributors. Being new to the film industry, it was thrilling to read a script, meet the actors, and make decisions about how to curate the character looks, not to mention figuring out how to
manufacture practical effects for an impalement, human gutting, and amputation. III unearthed totally new applications of my talents that I look forward to using again soon!

Cavortress working on special effects for Robert Dough, lead actor in III who will also appear in HBO’s East Bound and Down this February.

It has been fabulous to grow as a part of the Southern fashion community in a number of capacities and Cavortress is excited about the future. We hope to meet y’all soon!

Cavortress and quality control manager/husband at Bonnaroo 2011.


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Guest Post: Wedding Cake and Custom Made Cavortress

Today I’m very pleased to share some space on Slow Southern Style with Katie Thompson, a furniture designer based in Charleston, South Carolina and newly wed with an eye for beautiful clothing designed below the Mason-Dixon line. Katie was sweet enough to share with y’all the story behind her custom made wedding gown, the designer who created it, and her beautiful wedding pictures. Enjoy!

Being fortunate enough to have lived in Charleston, SC for five years I was able to meet a lot of very talented people, and local designer Julie Wheat being one of my favorites.  Wheat’s eye for timeless style, amazing fabric and quality makes it hard to resist her designs.  Her aptly named brand Cavortress evokes a sense of strong feminine style with a sweet yet sharp vintage edge.  The Cavortress woman is the life of the party, and has a presence all her own.  Cavortress first caught my attention in Spring 2010 with a dynamic vintage collection, and I’ve been addicted ever since.

(Striking a pose in Cavortress vintage)

My husband and I were engaged last December, and in March I traveled with Wheat to the inaugural Style X at SXSW where Julie was showcasing the new Cavortress swimwear collection.  While driving across the country, our conversations naturally led to fashion, and to what I was going to wear for my impending nuptials.

I told her that I was really struggling to find “that” dress.  All of my life I’ve always done things just a little bit differently than most people – and Julie knew that about me.  And given my profession as a custom furniture designer, I felt that I was going to be hard pressed to find a gown off the rack that I truly loved.

I had previously had the thought of having Wheat make a custom dress for me, but never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be so lucky.  Needless to say I was speechless when Julie said “I could make your dress!”  Dream. Come. True!

Our travels brought us to New Orleans for the first night of our trip, and the next morning we walked around the city.  We discussed shapes, styles, and fabrics for the dress as we perused the flavors of the Big Easy.  I knew I wanted something form fitting with sleeves.  I also wanted to steer away from too much “frilly stuff,” as I liked the look of simple lace and clean silks – a vintage and classic feel, with notes of modern elegance.

One thing that really shows Julie’s natural talent as a designer – she knew my body, style, and look better than I knew myself.  She also truly listened to my ideas not only about the dress, but also about the wedding.  The location, season, and even the reception were all considered for the details of the dress.  Eventually a silk gown with capped sleeves, a bias-cut top, with a sweetheart neckline and a removable train was formed.

(A close up of the sleeves and neckline.)

Fast forward a few weeks, Julie is Los Angeles and sends me some photos of fabrics and trims she had found.  Julie is a connoisseur of deadstock fabrics, and found a “almost-white-but-not-quite” heavy silk that was a pure delight to touch.

Now being a designer specializing in the bespoke, I thought I was very familiar with the amount of time and the meticulous process of building something custom, but I really had no clue when it came to dress making.  With the wedding date set at October 22nd, I must admit that in mid-June I was really beginning to stress out about the wedding, and freaked about the dress not being ready in time.  Thankfully Julie was very understanding and explained how the dress was to be built, and that it was actually better if we waited a little longer.  Most brides tend to lose weight before their wedding, whether from stress or just getting in shape, and the closer to the big day the better, as there would be less of a need for last-minute alterations.

Once we began fittings in the beginning of August, the process flew by.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I spent several long days with Julie as she fitted, measured, sewed, ironed, and built my dress piece by piece.  It was amazing to watch it come together, and to watch Wheat’s incredible abilities.  In a world of mass manufacturing, it is refreshing to see a designer who has fine-tuned the fundamentals of hand-crafting fabulous clothing.

Julie was very open and thoughtful in including me in every detail and decision during the construction of the dress.  This was fantastic as I was able to not only see but feel how the details of the dress fit me.  From the hem to the sleeves, to even the placement of the trim, I was able to be very involved and that took a lot of the stress out of the process.

The dress was completed towards the end of September, and a few weeks later, the door swings open in the church and there is Joseph at the altar.  I’m wearing the most beautiful dress I’ve ever owned, and it’s truly MY dress.  My husband tells me he loves the fact that I’m not “common,” and the dress truly fit my personality, as no one had ever seen a dress quite like that before.  

I was incredibly comfortable and confident in the dress – I danced my ass off and hugged and kissed friends and family all night with ease.  I was also thrilled that Julie was able to watch the dress go down the aisle.

I am truly grateful to have had this experience, and especially to Julie for making it possible.  Her professionalism and knowledge pushed me to consider things about the dress I never would of thought of.  It was perfect.  It was truly one-of-a-kind, fit for a Cavortress, and I couldn’t of been happier with it.

Cavortress will be showcasing at Style X at SXSW again in March 2012, and can be found at

Photo Credit: Ben Williams
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Guest Post: A Trip To South Carolina

Slow Southern Style is going to be featuring a few guest bloggers each Monday to liven the place up and get some fresh voices on a variety of subjects. This week kicks it off with one of my favorite sweet Southern gals, Lindsay of Penny Loves Charlie whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person this past year when she came to visit New Orleans.

Hi y’all, I’m Lindsey from Penny Loves Charlie, and I am so excited to be guest posting for Christy today!  Since Christy writes about local NOLA people and happenings, I decided to do the same, except “local” for me is Columbia, South Carolina.  My husband and I live and work in downtown, so I thought I’d show y’all some of our favorite hangouts on Columbia’s Main Street.

My very favorite place is the Columbia Museum of Art.  Right now, it has a super cool Rembrandt exhibit, but it also has some really great Southern art as well as other big names like Monet and Boticelli.

Just down the block from the museum is the brand new Mast General Store.  It has tons of old-school games and toys (like Wooly Willy) and old fashioned barrel candy, which I cannot get enough of.

After we stocked up on black jelly beans and Bits-O-Honey at Mast, we headed over to The Rooftop bar at the Sheraton hotel.  It’s high up enough so that there’s a breeze even on the hottest evenings, and if you can get a table near the ledge, you’ll have a great view of downtown, including the State House.

When you’re walking around in the crazy, stifling Columbia heat, comfort is key.  I really loved this outfit because it kept me covered for the crazy air conditioning in the museum and in Mast, but it was still cool enough for sitting outside at the bar.

Thank you so much to Christy for having me!  If any of y’all ever come through Columbia, let me know.  Christy was my first blog-friend meet up, I’d love to do another one some time.  And in the meantime, stop by Penny Loves Charlie to say hello.
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