Southern In the City – Meet Clothing Designer and Alabama Native Lauren Leonard

Aug 19 2014

by Whitney Long

I recently spoke with Alabama native Lauren Leonard and would love for you to meet her, too! Our Southern gone Yankee friend is now living in her adopted home of New York City and is the creator the fabulous LEONA clothing line. She was kind enough to tell a little about herself and share some fabulous finds and insider tips for a jaunt to the city.

How long have you lived in NYC?

I have been here for about a year and a half now. I moved from Nashville. We still have our HQ and a store in Nashville, so I am in Nashville quite a bit. I also travel back to Tuscaloosa, AL, my hometown and alma mater (Roll Tide!) during football season and the holidays. I always say I get the best of both worlds! I get to soak in the Southern charm and enjoy the fast paced no nonsense culture of Manhattan.

What do you miss most about living in the City when you are in Nashville and vice versa:

While in NYC, I probably miss the closeness to nature. There is nothing like hopping in your car and within 15 minutes being in a remote area on the lake. Right now, I am really missing fried green tomatoes. While in the South, I miss the pace of the city and the constant influx of the new and now: new exhibitions, new restaurants, new people and new ideas. Honestly, I love both of my homes so deeply, that I never really have the opportunity to miss the other while I am enjoying their splendor.

The only place better than NYC is:

I won’t say better, but Paris is the most beautiful place I have ever seen with my own eyes.

24 hours in the City – three must-do’s:

1. Bergdorf Goodman and lunch at BG Café’. So very New York with views of Central Park.

2. Take a walk down the Highline, along the Hudson, through the Meatpacking district. Stop off at Barbuto for an afternoon snack.

3. See a show! You can’t visit NYC and not make a trip to Broadway. Head to the UES afterwards for a cocktail at Bemelman’s at The Carlyle.

Secret only a local knows:

The taxi stand at LGA on the far end of baggage claim of the American terminal. There is never a line.

Perfect lazy Saturday in the City:

Take a blanket (and the dogs) to Central Park with a bottle of wine and a picnic. Or, just walk. One of the great joys of living in NYC is simply walking and discovering something new each time.

New York Favorites Speed-Round:

Southern Breakfast – I haven’t found one up to my standards yet though my favorite brunch is at The NoMad. I know they exist, but my husband isn’t big on big breakfast. If you are looking for BBQ, Blue Smoke is shockingly good.

Bar and DrinkBemelmans– classic New York experience.

Broadway Show – So many! My most recent visit was Beautiful (the Carole King Story) and as a music lover, I was in heaven!

Museum – The MoMA

Clothing Store – What Goes Around Comes Around (I love good vintage!)

Furniture/Interiors/Antiques StoreLobel Modern in Soho

Whitney Long, co-founder of The Southern C and contributing editor for Southern Living, is always in a New York state of mind. In this series, she gets to live, eat and shop vicariously through her subjects and friends she has met on The Southern C – The Social Network of the South. Her wallet and her husband are most appreciative.

Meet more Southerners in the City:

Caroline Knapp

Alex McLean

Hannah Goff

Mary Dell Harrington

Natalie Broulette

Frances Bailey



Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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