I'm very tall but not coordinated, so sports weren't my strong suit growing up," says artist Dorothy Shain with a laugh. "Art was where I always felt confident. It was my happy place." The 28-year-old South Carolina native has since transformed her high school hobby into a full-time career, churning out whimsical mixed-media works from her West Greenville studio. Dorothy is big on collaborations too: She has designed silk scarves for Dallas-based City Boots, a fabric-and-pillow collection with Lacefield Designs in Atlanta (pictured above), and a line of swimwear with Anthropologie that debuted in the spring. "I haven't even been pursuing art full-time for five years, but my network, especially in the South, is a huge reason I'm able to do what I do. I'm lucky to have that. People have been so supportive, and that's a Southern thing," she says.
My Personal Look
"I see my style as another avenue to venture down artistically. Just like art speaks to you, I love fashion pieces that speak to me, whether they're super funky or have a color pairing that I might not think to put together myself."
More from Southern Living
Venezia Dress in Lisca Blue…..$175; rollerrabbit.com
Grant Flats in Natural…..$100; dolcevita.com
Fulani Gold Earrings…..$48; ibumovement.com
The Accessories I Wear Every Day
"I like to have a story attached to the jewelry I wear—people always ask about my rings. One of them was my grandmother's, and it's a Tennessee pearl (they're really hard to find now). The other is a cuff link of my granddad's that I turned into a ring. I stole that idea from a friend. In the South, so much centers around your family and where you grew up, so it's special to have little things like that to connect you with your roots."
My Style Icon
"My sister. She is 10 years older than I am, but we're as thick as thieves. She often lets me shop her closet, so she's the best type of sister to have."
What I Always Steal from My Mom
"I'm a huge fan of scarves. I get that from my mom. She's worn them her whole life, and I always dig through her drawers when I'm at home to see what she has. Her style is timeless, and her scarf collection is off the wall. She'll ask me, "Where did this go?" and I'll tell her, "Well, I needed to borrow that!""
My In-Studio Uniform
"I live in my workout clothes. I tried dressing cute in my studio for a while, and I ruined everything. Now, I have to be casual when I'm working. I can't think straight unless I'm in comfortable clothes because I'm constantly having to move around or haul things or climb on a ladder."
My Around- Town Go-To Look
"Even when I'm outside the studio, I still want to be comfortable. I hate wearing high heels, so I like finding a cool brand of kicks that I can pair with cute dresses or maxi skirts. I also love mixing ripped, distressed jeans with a feminine top or silk tank and my favorite jewelry."
The Modern shirt in Cream/Navy, $88; kule.com
Jeans, her own
Platform Tennis Sneaker, $89; nordstrom.com
Dorothy Shain for City Boots Silk Scarf, $150; cityboots.com
Emerson Marlowe Drawstring in Tan, $368; dooney.com
The Style Rule I Always Break
"When I was growing up, I was told I shouldn't put navy and black together. I think that rule is absurd. Whenever I pair them in my paintings or in my outfits now, I always think to myself, "Boom! That's for whoever told me I shouldn't do that.""
The Summer Fashion Staples I Can't Live Without
"I tend to choose easy, throw-on-and-go dresses, because then I don't have to think about putting together an entire outfit. I also like Soludos wedges, a good pair of flip-flops, and things you can put over your swimwear to walk around town."
The Simple Pleasures of the Season
"I really enjoy eating outside. I think there's something special about having a drink on a patio or being by the beach. And the smell when someone's boiling shrimp—I love it! I also like walking around and exploring local farmers' markets on the weekends. The one in Greenville is incredible, so I'll grab a coffee and wander through."
WATCH: The South's Friendliest Cities
1. M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers
2. Augusta Twenty
3. Trattoria Giorgio
4. Art & Light Gallery
5. The Village Grind
6. Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery
7. We Took to the Woods
8. The Community Tap
9. Sidewall Pizza Company
Dorothy's Quick Picks
Strawberries or Peaches
Lace-Up or Slide-On
Cup or Cone
Ocean or Lake
Bicycle or Roller Skates
Bold Nails or Pastel Polish
One-Piece or Bikini
Magnolias or Hydrangeas
Rickrack or Pom-Poms
"The people who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world are the ones who actually do."