Timeless Classic Style

By Whitley Adkins Hamlin

Timeless Classic Style

It’s almost dinner time for the adults. My littlest son, tanned and all smiles, walks clumsily toward me down the boardwalk. In one hand he brings me my old Ray-Ban sunglasses case from the steps leading to the beach, and in the other, a rainbow Popsicle drips down his arm. He is dressed in wide red and white horizontal stripes across a perfectly broken in tee of which he has, without care, patriotically paired with clean navy and Carolina blue Hawaiian print swim trunks, following his third shower of the day. The warm July sun is beating down, the air is thick and still around me.

I write this latest entry in my style journal from the ocean front porch of our twice a year rental cottage here on Pawleys Island. I’ve just dropped another ice cube in my glass to chill the wine, but it is melting quickly in the sultry air. I’ve stayed in several different places on the Island with both my mom’s family and my dad’s, including many years at the Sea View Inn as a child and later as an adult. I’ve never laid my head in a place at Pawleys that I didn’t love, but Cat’s Paw, just five doors down from the Sea View Inn, has been my family’s place to call home for the majority of my years here as a parent. After dinner we will migrate to the marsh side pier to check our crab pots, The Chapel just to my right. Everything about this place represents a bygone era of timeless classic style, simple and true. Perhaps that’s why we all escape to Pawleys Island. We arrive with arms spread wide to this “island of simple virtues and lack of pretense,” and we never want to leave. Simply put, Pawleys Island is Heaven on Earth.

Timeless Classic Style

Is it the stage in my life? The last five plus years have seemed to be in a constant state of change and transformation. I would not call it an upheaval, but only because it sounds so dramatic. At 37, I’ve been married for almost eight years, my husband and I had one child, lost a second during pregnancy, I experienced a somewhat serious medical condition, and we had a second son at which time I decided to switch the gears of my career into a completely different direction. I began running again, more competitively than ever. Friendships have evolved, if for the better, some still mind-bogglingly. I find myself trying to keep a firm ground in the centrifugal pull of mommy, career girl, church volunteer, wife, friend, housekeeper, chauffeur and daughter. Who the heck am I for me? And that is when I reach for my running shoes. My little happy place is not meant to serve as a metaphor, but is it? Life has seemed to go from simple to complex. What is all of this “stuff?”

Timeless Classic Style

Even during those times when life may seem to spin out of hand, one thing we remain in control of is our style. This is not just fashion speak, though certainly an embodiment for it. Style is a representation of who we are; our heritage, our likes, even our values. We all want to like what we see and be made to feel confident by our mirror’s reflection. Trends come and go, and though some create a temporary sense of excitement, as it pertains to even my own style, I constantly find myself attracted to that which transcends time. Having small children bears a constant chaos and often happy chaos as it may be, more than ever I am drawn toward all things timeless and classic. There is a great ease about these beautiful, brilliant things, a sense of peace and confidence that comes from being adorned by them.

Effortless Parisian style, a three quarter length tan trench cinched at the waist, Katherine Hepburn, tartan plaid, a perfectly tousled chignon, the right amount of skin, oversized tortoise shell sunglasses, Faye Dunaway in Bonnie & Clyde, the color navy, make-up free au naturel skin, impeccable manners and the woman who really doesn’t try very hard but still possesses an unexplained level of attraction toward chivalry, southern refinery and decadence, be it imaginary or real, clever cocktail in hand. Timeless classic is an undefined style which cannot be replicated. Accoutrements of fluff and interest will spark our desire, but we mustn’t lose our firm of who we are to ourselves or for the understanding to that which we are drawn. Just like our Pawleys Island, there will only ever be just one.

Photography by Donna Ternigan • momentsbydonna.com

Timeless Classic Style

About this writer

  • Whitley Adkins Hamlin is a wardrobe stylist specializing in personal, editorial and commercial work, and the author of the fashion blog, the Queen City Style (www.thequeencitystyle.com). The grand daughter and great granddaughter of wardrobe stylists, Whitley has been exposed to, and collected, one of a kind wardrobe pieces since she was a young girl. As a result, Whitley both learned and taught herself the art of cultivating one of a kind looks she passes on to her clients. In her free time, Whitley is an avid runner who loves spending time with her husband and two young boys, cooking and entertaining and redecorating her house until there is nothing left to redecorate (which is never, ha!).

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