"Fashion isn't interesting when it comes from an uninspired place."

- Christian Louboutin


The Story Behind the Queen City Style

Whitley's Great-Grandmother and Grandmother were her biggest sources of inspiration

Whitley's great-grandmother, Willa Bridges, and grandmother, Martha Whitley, were both buyers at an upscale luxury boutique in Eastern, NC before she was born. Each had their own unique styles.  Willa possessed an aesthetically distinct look, was always immaculately dressed and inhabited a classic sense of style reminiscent of Coco Chanel, while Martha, who Whitley called Nana, consistently experimented with new combinations of elements mixing sequins, sashes, belts and jewels. Willa almost always wore suits and was never without a purse and a brooch, while Nana was known for throwing caution to the wind and greeting everyone with an emphatic “hello dahhhling!” through her bright red lips. 

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As a child, Whitley regularly visited Willa and Nana.  Their town was a humid, flat and dry one with absolutely nothing to do. In her 90's, Willa moved into Nana’s home after breaking her hip from a fall. Willa and Nana's bedrooms were at opposite ends of the house where the bedrooms were located.  Whitley wandered from one closet to the other, piling on their beautiful clothes and using the hallway that connected the two as her practice runway for the impromptu fashion shows she would put on for, with her mother there, three generations of Whitley women.

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Sadly, Willa passed away when Whitley was in high school. Over the years Nana would let Whitley take things home from her visits. Of Nana's four children and eight grandchildren, Whitley was the only who felt the same kinetic pull towards fashion, so she lucked up in terms of inheriting some of their many amazing pieces. Whitley believes the early exposure to these glamorous women and their personal style made fashion a natural pursuit for her.


Following the birth of her second son in 2011, Whitley was moved to write about Willa and Nana in a piece she submitted to Lucky magazine. Published on their back page, the article would become the catalyst for this blog… and everything that has followed. the Queen City Style is both a place for Whitley to channel her creative energy, as well as share the love of great style that was passed down to her.