Just like tiny fingerprints, every baby is one-of-a-kind. And although your toddler’s closet may be filled with mass-market brands and hand-me-downs, sometimes we can’t resist that special piece that is just as unique as the baby who wears it. That’s why I am completely head-over-heels for Southern Yankee’s adorable onesies and dresses that incorporate vintage linens into their design.
Jennifer Angerame founded the Southern Yankee line, a Dallas native (Southern) who made her way to Wilton via New York City (Yankee) and includes baby onesies, toddler and girls dresses to size 6, baby blankets, baby-wipe holders covered in vintage linens, and adorned with vintage trims, and burp cloths and bib sets (these have become my go-to baby and shower gifts).
Angerame learned the art of stitchery from her mother and grandmother while she was growing up and her love of fashion and design led her to a career in Perry Ellis’ branding empire before she became a mom herself. Ready to take on motherhood full-time, she and her young family left the concrete jungle for the leafy suburbs of Wilton.
Her line was started not out of a desire to begin a new business, but like many great ideas, out of necessity. Angerame explained that when her daughter was just a few months old, she and her family were invited to a garden party one summer. As the day of the party approached, the temperature and humidity rose – it was simply too hot to dress an infant in anything other than a diaper and a t-shirt…but that wasn’t in keeping with the host’s more formal theme. Then, a stack of vintage hankies caught her eye, and Angerame created what was to become her signature piece – a onesie with a delicate skirt crafted from vintage linens. The dress was a hit at the party, and before she knew it, she had another baby – a growing custom clothing business named Southern Yankee.
“No two items are the same, and that’s what makes it special,” she said. She hand selects linens for her garments from her enormous collection and will even create special one-of-a-kind items on request using linens that her clients provide – men’s ties become appliques and dress belts, and embroidery on vintage bed-linens adorns skirts and blouses. It’s a way of passing down a family heirloom in a practical way and “upcycling” it to be used again…and again!
Angerame says that she finds her vintage linens through tag sales both here and back home in Texas. People also find her – when an acquaintance’s mother, a former teacher, passed away, she found hundreds of antique handkerchiefs that she had received from her students and passed them along to Angerame.
For all its exclusivity and creativity, the price point for Southern Yankee is stunningly reasonable – baby dresses starting at only $25 and girls dresses at about $44 – an amazing deal for beautifully made, one-of-a-kind clothing that can be saved as an heirloom.
” One mom told me that she framed the dress, and now it hangs in her daughter’s room,” Angerame said. Priceless.
Currently, Southern Yankee is available through the Southern Yankee website, locally at the new Frock and Frill clothing boutique on Route 7 in Wilton (next to Naked Greens), and at the Blue Star Bazaar at the SoNo Marketplace in South Norwalk, and AllyBallyBee in Ridgefield.
Photo Credit: Moments by Andrea