In the fashion industry, many people look to New York and Paris as tastemakers. But New York and Paris being fashion capitals doesn’t mean that other cities and regions aren’t stylish, too! Rather than feeling like we need to copy how people dress in other places, maybe we can embrace our own style and region. Let’s dress like Atlantans, Topekans, and Las Vegans!

Below are interviews with four women from across the country—South Florida; northwest Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Los Angeles, California—who proudly embody the style of their city or region.

Susana Fernandez, South Florida

How do you define your personal style, and how did you come to this point in your style journey?

I would say my personal style is classic, elegant, and feminine. I’ve been lucky because I have always identified with that type of style. Growing up, I really did not care whether what I liked was “fashionable,” and I was pretty drawn to the style of the forties and fifties. An early realization was that if I was in the eighties and I still loved the fashions of the fifties, there had to be something to its classic style that was timeless! In fact, that term, “timeless,” especially when applied to fashion, has been a guiding compass. No one wants to see a picture of themselves 30 years from now and say: “What the heck was I thinking?” Ultimately, classic style allows you to grow your closet organically because the pieces will always mix and match with future pieces. In my blog, I feature pieces that I have had since I was a teenager, and they elicit the same admiration as a piece bought yesterday. One thing that helps my outlook is focusing on quality, for which it helps to know about garment construction, fabrics, etc.

How does your city, state, or region influence your style? Has this been a conscious decision?

Absolutely! It’s one thing to have personal style and another to wear pieces that are incongruent with aspects of your region, particularly, weather. As much as I love winter clothes, I live in South Florida, so my winter outfits are very limited! Of course, if it’s winter, I can wear a coat over my shoulders if it’s not too hot (rather than actually wearing it), but weather for me is key. Also, I can “winter-ize” my outfits by simply choosing colors that speak to that season. As for how an actual city influences my style, the best example I can come up with is Palm Beach. I visit Palm Beach all the time and love the vibe of the city. Whenever I visit, I feel that dressing with relaxed, preppy elegance helps me enjoy it better. Just like costumes are important to convey a message in a film, being mindful of the style of a city is important to feel welcomed and part of it. I have traveled (and lived!) in many places, and I would not say that my style has changed, but I can definitely say that what I wear, and how I wear it, does.

What elements of style are specific to your region?

I am lucky that South Florida is very eclectic! It’s a region where everything pretty much goes. Even when we drop to “freezing” temperatures of about 40 degrees, you’ll see people wearing flip-flops AND a scarf. Very quirky! There is obviously South Beach, where skimpy and trendy rules, but travel just a bit north to Bal Harbour, and you’ll see a mix of trendy-chic and ladies-who-lunch styles. Go further north to Palm Beach, and you get a dose of whimsy, with a profusion of preppy colors and prints, and lots of green and pink. I don’t find rain to be a big fashion issue in South Florida, basically because if you don’t like the weather, you can simply wait 5 minutes. Sometimes I joke that instead of the “Sunshine State,” we are the “Liquid Sunshine State,” since we get quite a bit of rain. But since it is copious and tropical, you really should just wait for it to pass. Color is BIG in South Florida (and no one is afraid to use it) and so are prints. I think, overall, we are a happy region, where bad taste and good taste mingle peacefully!

What is your favorite regional piece or regionally-inspired piece?

Mmmm . . . I would have to choose something I wore to an event in New York City, hosted by The Sartorialist, for the launch of one of his books. It was at a gallery. It was New York. The fashion stakes were high, and I wanted to wear something original and unique, yet elegant and feminine. I settled on a vintage Randolph Duke strapless dress that was weather and season appropriate for early fall, but very simple. Then I got an idea! What if I wore the handmade, embroidered shawl that is part of the typical peasant dress of Spain’s northern region, where my family originates? It was made for me when I was seven years old, but once you are given one, it’s meant to be treasured and worn throughout life. Talk about old-fashioned, sustainable fashion! Instead of wearing it in the “correct” peasant way, I wore it backwards. It was a hit! Garance Doré asked me if it was by Prada, and the late designer L’Wren Scott was very intrigued by its origin too. I loved incorporating a historical, national regional piece into an outfit to make it unique!

What advice would you give other people who are trying to find a personal style that reflects a pride of place?

Know your origins. Learn about the origin of clothing, materials, fabrics, embroideries, etc. Become an observer, and be truly interested in what you see. Fashion is such a great conversation starter! Wear what makes you feel you, but be mindful of how that “you” fits in the environment around you. Listen to the vibes of the city, region, country you are in (or visiting), and try to honor it by wearing something that feels at place there. It’s a simple way to honor that place’s personality!

Ita Mori, Los Angeles, California

How do you define your personal style, and how did you come to this point in your style journey?

My style is a mix of classic and modern. I’m influenced a lot by the sixties, seventies, and French fashion. I used to wear only blacks—I thought that was enough. But after my daughter was born my sense of style started to change and evolve, and I started wearing more colors and lot of patterns—the bolder the better.

How does your city, state, or region influence your style? Has this been a conscious decision?

Yes! Living in L.A. definitely makes me feel like I can wear whatever I want and express myself any way I’d like to.

What elements of style are specific to your region?

L.A. style in general can be a bit generic. The style I do see that I really like is the seventies Californian bohemian—scarves, colorful dresses, bell bottom pants, big round sunglasses, wedges, etc.

What is your favorite regional piece or regionally-inspired piece?

My seventies multi-colored mini dress that I found at Goodwill SoCal.

What advice would you give other people who are trying to find a personal style that reflects a pride of place?

My advice is have fun with it. Try different things, and don’t just follow trends.

Jill Marquez, Northwest Ohio

How do you define your personal style, and how did you come to this point in your style journey?

My personal style is a blend of current trends with a modest twist. At a young age I became fascinated with dressing up, and that has never changed! I’ve always considered myself a modest dresser, but it took years to find my own take on that. With the online shopping boom, I was able to discover new and more fashionable options for my modest style. It has taken years to refine my style, but it’s the journey that has brought me to this point. I really enjoy the ever-changing style revolution of fashion with each season and style period. It allows me to find a new way of expressing my creativity and mood each and every day.

How does your city, state, or region influence your style? Has this been a conscious decision?

Northwest Ohio is not the fast paced, high-fashion region of the big city. It’s about comfort and creativity in a softer way. Walking the streets in my little town requires some sensibility rather than glamour on my feet. Although I enjoy high heels, you will more likely find me in trendy OTK (over the knee) boots or wedges that allow me to feel sturdy and confident in this northern agricultural region.

What elements of style are specific to your region?

On any given day you will find camo and overalls on the general population. I take this style and make it my own by finding the trending versions and give it my modest twist. Living in the north also requires layered clothing. A fair portion of my wardrobe is dedicated to outerwear, cardigans, jackets, scarves, and hats. I enjoy the opportunity that living in this region gives me to style different layers for an overall cohesive look and the many variations of mixing and matching each of these layers.

What is your favorite regional piece or regionally-inspired piece?

One of my favorite things about living in the north is being able to wear boots six months out of the year! Not only do they keep me warmer, but they are like the cherry on top for my outfit! I can choose cowboy boots for a laid-back, down-home look or over-the-knee boots (my personal favorite) to add a bit of drama and glamour to my overall look. Boots are the statement piece of any outfit and immediately convey the style I am going for in a very simple way!

What advice would you give other people who are trying to find a personal style that reflects a pride of place?

Just make sure you put your own personal twist on the cultural style of your region. If you live in the South where it’s warm most of the year, find accessories that add a touch of “you” to the minimalistic fashion without adding the layers that are needed for the northern region. You can also reflect the beauty of the area in which you live through color and fabric choice. Living in the north requires heavier fabric and more basic colors during the colder months. I believe beauty and style reside in the details that are meaningful to you and a reflection of the place in which you live.

Reachel Bagley, Salt Lake City, Utah

How do you define your personal style, and how did you come to this point in your style journey?

I would define my style as colorful, playful, feminine, and crisp. As a body type, color, and style analyst, I try to be very discerning about what I will wear and allow into my closet. I love fashion as an art form that is fully realized when it is worn. Clothing is designed to flatter and serve people, not the other way around.

How does your city, state, or region influence your style? Has this been a conscious decision?

62.8 percent of my state identifies as Mormon; I am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Our religion encourages modesty in its members. We are asked to wear clothing that comes to our knees and covers our shoulders. Rather than seeing modesty as a constraint that doesn’t allow me to participate in fashion, I see it as an opportunity for discovery. I love finding unexpected layering options and using the extra lengths to uncover more color combinations, shapes, and points of interest.

What elements of style are specific to your region?

Utah is known for its mountains and snow. Before moving to Utah last year, I lived in Arizona for 14 years—you rarely need more than a light cardigan in the coldest months. I’ve really enjoyed cuddling into turtlenecks, cozy hats, and snow boots. 

What is your favorite regional piece or regionally-inspired piece?

I love my puffer vests. This piece was at first worn almost exclusively by skiers, but it eventually migrated to mainstream fashion. It is ridiculously practical: warm without being bulky, complete with zippered pockets large enough to secure a cell phone. It’s also quite flattering—fulfilling the streamlining role of a third piece as well as any blazer.

What advice would you give other people who are trying to find a personal style that reflects a pride of place?

Fashion is as much about history as it is about the future. Look into the heritage behind your home. Take inspiration from the past, and put your own spin on it. Dressing within the boundaries of a culture brings a new understanding of a region. And bonus, it usually includes a practical function as well.