When it comes to the latest trends in women's apparel, there's no better place to shop till you drop than Downtown Chucktown. And if you're searching for the finest threads in Charleston, look no further than Copper Penny - the Lowcountry's go-to shop for anyone that has a passion for fashion.

We have been dressing women in Charleston for over 34 years and offer upscale designer collections curated with a Southern eye. Here, women from around the United States discover sophisticated, effortless beauty for every season. Whether you're looking for a sassy new dress to impress that special someone or the perfect outfit for your next vacation, your options are endless at Copper Penny.

With easy-to-find locations close to Charleston's hottest spots, our curated selection of the newest, most popular women's clothing lines reflects the effortless glamour of Charleston. Whether you're a tidy professional or a fierce trend-setter, our goal is to help you find the perfect look for your own unique style. With designer brands like CK Bradley and Holst & Lee on hand year-round, finding your new look is easy and fun when you visit Copper Penny.

Our clothing lines give ladies a refreshing mix of one-of-a-kind authenticity with real wearability, allowing them to shine with confidence and style all year long. So, go ahead and spoil yourself - you deserve to look like a million bucks!

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Find the Perfect Dress to Impress

Diamonds are pretty and all, but honestly? Dresses are a girl's best friend. Dresses are fun, comfortable, and versatile. At Copper Penny, they're also fashionable and cute. We have a huge selection of women's dresses in Charleston, SC, from stylistic sheath dresses to drop-waist styles that will make your girlfriends jealous.

We offer several styles and shapes from which you can pick. Not sure what style fits best?

It all starts at the waist:

 Boutique Clothing Charleston, SC
 Boutique Dresses Charleston, SC

A-Line Waist

These dresses are made to fit your waist and then gradually flare out towards the hem. A-line dresses are excellent for minimizing thighs, hips, and midsections while pulling the eyes to your bust. This style of dress is a great fit for almost any body type. There's a reason why so many brides settle on A-Line dresses for their big day! With plenty of varieties, this is a kind of dress that you can wear again and again.

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Empire Waist

Like the A-Line style, empire dresses are made to fit through your bust. Rather than creating a distinctly angular shape like the A-Line, the Empire style flows from the bust down. This is another kind of dress that fits many body types. From curvy to apple body shapes, the Empire draws focus to your bust and minimizes everything else. For lovely ladies on the shorter side, this style defines your silhouette, especially if you choose a maxi length dress.

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 Cloths For Women Charleston, SC

Drop Waist

A throwback to the roaring 20's style flapper dresses, Drop Waist dresses look best on lean, athletic bodies that don't have too many curves in the hip area. The key to pulling off a Drop Waist style dress is to ensure that it's not hugging you. This dress is best worn when it is able to hang freely on your body.

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Once you know the kind of waist that fits your body type, it's time to find your shape. A few of our most popular dress shapes include:

Fit & Flare Dresses in Charleston

Any clothing store for women in Charleston, SC, worth its salt, will have plenty of fit & flare dresses for you to try. This common-shaped dress is one of the most popular on the market, mainly because they look great on every woman, regardless of age or shape. A timeless choice, fit & flare dresses fit through the bodice and flare out just below your hip. This helps develop a balanced, slimming silhouette for most women. If you want to accentuate your best assets and hide everything else, ask our experienced fashionistas to show you some the most popular fit & flare dresses at Copper Penny.
Time to start doing your happy dance! Fit & flare dresses have very balanced proportions, making them a true winner for every body type. Women with athletic builds love this dress for the extra curves. Women with apple-shaped bodies love how fit & flare dresses define their waistlines. Because this dress already looks like an hourglass on the hanger, it will be a natural fit for ladies with such a figure.
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 Clothing Stores Charleston, SC
 Fashion Stores Charleston, SC

Shift Dresses in Charleston

Shift dresses are typically rectangular in shape and tend to be comfy and forgiving since they aren't fitted. Also called a column dress, the shift dress is a great choice for polished professionals needing a conservative, fashionable outfit for work.
These dresses look fabulous on women with athletic, lean shapes and women with an apple-like figure. This kind of dress doesn't work well with a belt, so ladies with an hourglass figure may not be able to show off their curves in a shift. Try pairing this dress with a nice pair of heels for a beautiful new look!
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Wrap Dresses in Charleston

Wrap dresses are one of the most popular styles on the market, because they give ladies of most shapes and sizes a flattering, fashionable dress option.
If you have an hourglass, apple, or generally curvy body shape, you're going to love wrap dresses. This style of dress offers a natural waist while placing emphasis on your bust. Wrap dresses give you a balanced silhouette and, with a knee-length fit, are great for any type of color or style, both day and nightwear.
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Timeless Tops for Every Style

Unless you're feeling extra sassy, chances are you're wearing a top at this very moment. Tops are garments that cover the top half of your body. At Copper Penny, we have an endless selection of tops in a wide range of styles - from basic tees to blouses and everything in between. If you're looking for the highest quality women's tops in Charleston, SC, you just hit the jackpot!

With that said, finding the right top for the right occasion is easier said than done. However, at Copper Penny, we make finding the right top fun. Whether you're looking for a top that makes a statement or you need a classic button-down for a subdued style, we've got your back. We only carry the most popular tops from the best brands and designers around the world.

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Here are just of our most popular tops:

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Women's Poplin Tops in Charleston

Sometimes called broadcloth tops, poplins have classic characteristics and are often woven with an over/under weave. This kind of weave gives more substance to your top while also giving you room to breathe. Poplin shirts are typically soft and smooth, and are great for everyday business attire, some formal occasions, and for certain ceremonies. Sweet and feminine, our Bruna poplin eyelet bib top features ruffles at the sleeves and an eyelet lace yoke at the front. Pair your poplin with your favorite pair of shorts or jeans for a contemporary, relaxed look.

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Boutique Charleston, SC

Women's Wrap Tops in Charleston

Great for wearing solo or layered over a camisole or tank top, wrap tops are lightweight, versatile, and great for many different occasions. Wrap tops go well with jeans, maxi dresses, and high-waisted jeans or trousers. Our V-Neck Wrap SLV Top by Jayden is uber-popular at Copper Penny and the perfect choice for dressing down or dressing up. The choice is yours!

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 Boutique Clothing Charleston, SC

Women's Off the Shoulder Tops in Charleston

For a dose of feminine fashion, be sure you add an off-the-shoulder top to your everyday wardrobe. A casual, sexy choice, off-the-shoulder tops have unique necklines that cut across your upper arms and chest, leaving your shoulders bare. The result is a flirty flash of skin, which elongates your neck and gives a relaxed, "daytime casual" look. Our Nola off-the-shoulder top pairs perfectly with shorts or even a flowy skirt and is hand-woven in Spain using Jacquard fabric.

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 Boutique Dresses Charleston, SC

Women's Tank Tops in Charleston

Who doesn't love a good tank top?! Tank tops are lightweight, versatile, and equally great for lounging in the yard or running errands on weekends. Tank tops lend an air of simplicity to your outfit and can be styled in endless ways. Take our Velvet Heart Victory Tank, for instance. This tank is a refreshing update on our classic sleeveless tank top, complete with fray details and a scoop neck. Throw in the fact that it's machine washable, and you have a wardrobe winner.

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Having trouble finding the best top for your size and style? As the most trusted women's clothing boutique in Charleston, SC, Copper Penny has helped women discover new looks in the Lowcountry for more than two decades. We take pride in providing a personalized, boutique experience for our customers. If you have questions, give us a call or swing by one of our locations. We would be happy to give you our professional opinion.

Until then, here's a quick guide you can follow to help you find the right fit for your women's top in Charleston:

How to Find the Right Fit for Your Women's Top

When choosing a women's top for your outfit, you have to consider how comfortable, confident, and beautiful you will feel. The best way to feel your best in an outfit is to make sure it fits correctly. To get started, you'll want to take your measurements. For most women's tops, the best areas to focus on are your hips, waist, and chest.

  • Hip Measurements: Measuring your hips is fairly easy. Take your measuring tape and use it to wrap around the widest area of your hips.
  • Waist Measurements: Take your measuring tape and place it at the very top of your hip bone. Wrap it all the way around your body. Try to keep your measuring tape in line with your belly button. For the most accurate measurements, stand up straight and breathe normally.
  • Chest Measurements: For an accurate chest measurement, take the end of your measuring tape and place it on the fullest area of your bust. From there, wrap the tape around your body, under your armpits, and around the blades of your shoulders. Then, wrap the tape tightly from the back of your body to the front, where you started.
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 Cloths Shop Charleston, SC

Need help measuring? Swing by Copper Penny and ask one of our friendly sales associates to help you out! While you're there, don't forget to check out our huge selection of women's tops in Charleston, SC.

Contact Us

Looking to take your style to the next level? You can also get in touch with a personal stylist directly from our website. With a personal stylist by your side, you can find stunning looks for specific occasions, using comfortable clothing in your favorite colors and cuts. Copper Penny is your one-stop-shop for fashionable, fun, fabulous designer clothing in Charleston. But don't take our word for it – come see for yourself!

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10 Amazing Things To Do In Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina has been making 'best of' travel headlines for years now with no signs of losing steam. This charming historic city packs an unbelievable punch for its small size. From the meticulously preserved antebellum architecture to world-class culinary offerings, a thriving arts scene, historical significance, and its array of beautiful beaches, there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Charleston....

Charleston, South Carolina has been making 'best of' travel headlines for years now with no signs of losing steam. This charming historic city packs an unbelievable punch for its small size. From the meticulously preserved antebellum architecture to world-class culinary offerings, a thriving arts scene, historical significance, and its array of beautiful beaches, there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Charleston.

Charleston is a thriving year-round destination, but with its oppressive heat during the summer, now is an excellent time to think about a Charleston getaway. The off-season enjoys much lighter crowds while temperatures remain fairly mild, and prices and availability are more favorable to visitors as well. Whether a seasoned vet or a Charleston first-timer, here are some great activities to enjoy in the Holy City.

Attend An Oyster Roast

Oyster season in Charleston opens annually on October 1st (when shellfish harvesting is permitted) and runs until the spring. The steadfast rule has always been that oysters are best enjoyed during the 'r' months, so winter is the best time to sample the local oysters that Charleston is famous for.

While there is certainly no shortage of options for oyster consumption in Charleston, head to an oyster roast for an authentically-Charleston experience. Fresh oysters are steamed over hot coals and served family-style at large, communal tables where guests then shuck their own oysters and eat them with saltines, lemon, and hot sauce.

Charleston's Boone Hall Plantation holds the largest oyster festival in the world every January, but small-scale roasts pop up constantly and almost everywhere, from breweries to parks to bars and backyards.

Catch A Wave At Folly Beach

Charleston is surrounded by a series of barrier islands and each of these nearby beach communities has its own unique vibe. Folly Beach has the most eclectic personality of all the Charleston beaches thanks to its vibrant local community and unpretentious atmosphere.

Located only a few miles from downtown Charleston, it is easy to incorporate into the daily itinerary, although one could easily choose to base themselves in Folly Beach instead.

With some of the best waves in the southeast, surfers have long flocked to Folly Beach. Advanced surfers will find the most optimal conditions at the area known as the Washout, but novices can take a surfing lesson with one of the island's reputable schools.

Wetsuits are provided with the cost of lessons during the cooler months conditions are often better than in the summer, too.

Shop 'Til You Drop

Historic downtown Charleston has a longstanding reputation as a retail shopping hub. The peninsula's most iconic shopping area is the picturesque and palmetto-lined King Street. Here shoppers will find popular international brands, unique local boutiques, furniture and home decor stores, a slew of art galleries, and many antiques and collectibles shops too.

Also found on King Street is The Shops at Charleston Place, home to high-end retailers like Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

The historic Charleston City Market is another must-visit downtown shopping attraction (open daily from 9:30 am - 6 pm). On Friday and Saturday nights, it comes to life as a night market too. All the night market artists are selected via an application process for their local and handmade works.

Watch The Sunset From A Sailboat

With so much water surrounding Charleston, a sailboat is a great way to explore the city from a different perspective.

Hourly and daily yacht charters are available at any of the area marinas, and sailing courses are also available through Charleston Sailing School for anyone wishing to acquire their own set of skills on the water.

The colorful homes along the Charleston Battery make for excellent sightseeing from within the Charleston Harbor. Check out some of the uninhabited barrier islands, such as Capers Island, that are only accessible by boat.

Another fun sailing option is to 'dock and dine'; sail over to Isle of Palms or Sullivan's Island and drop anchor at one of the lively waterfront establishments.

Take A Horse-Drawn Carriage History Tour

Head over to Anson Street (next to the historic City Market) to be greeted by a slew of friendly faces of the equine variety. Learn the history of Charleston while perched atop a horse-drawn carriage and enjoy the sights of the city.

The tour guides are certified by the city and are extremely knowledgeable. Visitors will learn new facts with every tour they go on, and explore different areas of downtown as well. The barns are open to the public and patrons and welcome to visit with the gentle giants.

An important note for animal lovers: the carriage companies have large farms outside the city and rotate different horses in and out of pasture each week (they do not live downtown, or work every day). The industry is closely regulated (number of daily tours, cooling times, body temps, etc.), and draft horses and bred and built for this sort of work.

The carriage horses are all former Amish plow horses. Not only is their new job far more humane, but it also saves them from an otherwise unspeakable fate.

Wine And Dine

It's no secret that Charleston's food and beverage scene is world-class. The city has long been a food haven, with drinking and dining a staple of any Charleston vacation.

There is an incredible array of options to suit all tastes and budgets, boasting everything from Michelin-star and James Beard award chefs and restaurants to humble soul food and gritty dive bars. Be sure to come hungry (and thirsty)!

While this entire article could be devoted to the culinary offerings in Charleston, here are a few tried-and-true favorites broken down into four categories.

See Live Music

Charleston has a wonderful music scene, with numerous venues that consistently welcome both emerging artists and famous headliners. Many of the downtown venues are small, allowing for intimate shows where attendees can get up close and personal with the musicians and sometimes even share a drink with them at the bar.

Check out the Music Farm and Charleston Pour House for laid-back vibes and music spanning a variety of genres. The Galliard Center and Charleston Music Hall are elegant venues with incredible acoustics.

For large-scale concerts, there is also the North Charleston Coliseum and Credit One Stadium, which can each host over 10,000 patrons.

Additionally, Charleston is home to some excellent outdoor venues including the Windjammer, Charleston Harbor Resort at Patriot's Point, The Refinery, and Riverfront Park that host many fun shows and festivals in the warmer months.

Go To A Charleston RiverDogs Baseball Game

Anyone visiting Charleston during baseball season (April - October) should be sure to catch a Charleston RiverDogs game. Recently named the Minor League Baseball Team of the Year, the team is co-owned by local celebrity Bill Murray who often pops up at home games.

The stadium is conveniently located downtown and the games offer cheap beer and tons of fun in a family-friendly atmosphere. The games are loved by locals and tourists alike, and everyone is sure to have a great time.

The Charleston RiverDogs also host frequent special events to contribute to the community, from litter clean-ups to animal fundraisers, as well as cultural heritage celebrations, golf events, food festivals, and more.

Brewery Hop

Charleston is home to over 30 breweries, where locals and tourists mingle side by side. The beer scene has grown rapidly over the last decade, with only three breweries in Charleston 10 years ago.

Beer enthusiasts will find a diverse range of offerings, encompassing lagers to stouts to IPAs and everything in between. Some of the Charleston breweries offer full-service dining, while others just have food trucks on-site during certain hours.

With so many breweries to choose from, below are a handful of the favorites to visit, according to locals. Remember not to drink and drive; if no designated driver is available opt for a guided tour with transportation instead.

Walk, Run, Or Bike The Ravenel Bridge

The Ravenel Bridge is becoming to Charleston what the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco. Besides connecting the Charleston peninsula with neighboring Mount Pleasant, crossing the Ravenel Bridge is also a popular recreational activity for locals and tourists alike.

Don't forget to take a few snaps because the views of Charleston Harbor are out of this world!

The Ravenel Bridge features a designated pedestrian lane with a safety barrier from traffic, and it is wide enough to comfortably accommodate both walkers and bikers. The bridge spans 2.5 miles from one end to the other, so keep in mind it is a 5-mile roundtrip journey.

Rather than going back and forth, another great option is to head over to the waterfront bars on Shem Creek and then use Uber or Lyft to return to the peninsula.

A Historic Charleston Home Gets Decked Out for the Holidays by Top Local Tastemakers

While Charleston is known for being home to many iconic landmarks and historic homes, one its most famous properties is the Aiken-Rhett House located at 48 Elizabeth Street. This striking estate is considered to be one of the best-preserved townhouses ...

While Charleston is known for being home to many iconic landmarks and historic homes, one its most famous properties is the Aiken-Rhett House located at 48 Elizabeth Street. This striking estate is considered to be one of the best-preserved townhouses in the nation and J. Grahame Long, Historic Charleston Foundation’s (HCF) director of museums, says it’s an important legacy to the city as the house remains practically unaltered after 200 years. Additionally, it’s one of the few historic homes left in the city that still has its “dependency outbuildings” such as the original kitchen, carriage house and stables, which Long says “dramatically humanizes the inner workings of what was once a grand estate.” By contrast, the outbuildings where the enslaved men and women lived had none of the comforts or grandeur of the main house. Today, visitors can view the Aiken-Rhett slave quarters—which have been virtually untouched since the 1850s and still have the original paint, flooring and fixtures—to better understand the harsh everyday realities of the enslaved Africans who lived and worked there.

While the home was first built in 1820 by a merchant named John Robinson, it became known as the Aiken-Rhett House after the prominent Mr. and Mrs. William Aiken, Jr. inherited the property from Willam’s father in 1827. William and his wife Harriet were responsible for transforming the home into the spectacular manse it’s known as today, modeling the interiors after the Greek Revival style that was becoming the hallmark of American southern architecture at the time, according to Long. The couple completely overhauled the property’s floor plan, which is still intact today, to make it more suitable for large gatherings and grand welcome. This was of the utmost importance for Aiken, as he eventually became the state’s most prominent merchant and the governor of South Carolina and desired a grand home base for entertaining and conducting business.

For the last few years, HCF has celebrated its mission of preservation and the holiday season with Illumination Charleston, a series of events centered around history, architecture, and design, with the Aiken-Rhett House as the centerpiece. It is the site of the event’s opening night party and gets decked out by a carefully curated selection of local designers, artists, and tastemakers for the holiday season.

“Designers and vignettes must compliment the space and pay homage to the delicate history and fragile physical environment in which they will be stated,” says HCF’s Roualeyn de Haas. “With preservation as inspiration, the vignettes are a reinterpretation of a preserved and historical space using contemporary design.”

Not only do they have to keep the historic architecture and interiors in mind, but the selected designers also have to bear in mind that there is no climate control, the house has a decades-old electrical system, and the space hasn’t been restored in decades while outfitting a particular room with high design at the forefront. Thankfully, this home is in great hands, as this year’s list of creatives include: events designer Blake Sams, Stephanie Summerson Hall of Estelle Colored Glass, and interior designer Cortney Bishop.

Aiken-Rhett Holiday 2022 House Tour

While these holiday decorations offer stunning inspiration for the contemporary home, they also feel appropriate for this spectacular 19th-century property. Nearly all of the designers found some sort of inspiration from nature, as the interiors and exterior are decked out with festive greenery, flowers, and seasonal fruits that enliven the grand architecture and period furnishings. Dani Motley of Salt + Stem was responsible for the elegantly festive floral design of the courtyard and entrance of the Aiken-Rhett House, while Blake Sams created a striking yellow and orange floral fete in the dining room—peppered with the finest holiday fruits, such as oranges and persimmons—which also features stemware provided by Stephanie Summerson Hall.

Karson Photography

Several of the creatives responsible for this year’s holiday takeover were also united in their desire to fill the space with various artworks that would bring some contemporary flair to these historic spaces. Bishop brought in abstract art and artisanal decor into the double parlor, while Elizabeth Stuart’s Muffie Faith modernized the courtyard entrance with paintings, florals, and a tablescape complete with cabbageware and mushroom lamps. Artist Chris Wyrick is responsible for the main courtyard’s interior art installation. The teams at McLaurin Parker and Maresca Textiles played up both their zest for nature and art with their decoration of the home's cozy library that brings a touch of comfortable, feminine elegance to this room of retreat.

Historic Charleston Foundation is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and you can learn more about the organization's history of preserving the legacy and landscape of both Charleston and the Lowcountry as a whole at HistoricCharleston.org.

18,000-home Cainhoy plan is a ‘total tragedy’ for endangered bird. Local groups are suing.

This week marks 49 years since President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act. He made the poster child for the law the bald eagle. But among the 160 lesser-known species that became America’s first federally protected endangered species was the red-cockaded woodpecker, a bird once common in Sou...

This week marks 49 years since President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act. He made the poster child for the law the bald eagle. But among the 160 lesser-known species that became America’s first federally protected endangered species was the red-cockaded woodpecker, a bird once common in South Carolina.

In 1973 when Nixon signed the act, there were about 10,000 such woodpeckers and fewer than 1,000 bald eagles left in the Lower 48 states. After nearly a half-century of protection, both the eagles and woodpeckers have made a comeback. But where bald eagles have benefitted from 20th century pollution regulation and have adapted to living on the edges of human development, red-cockaded woodpeckers continue to struggle against modern threats.

A massive 9,000-acre development planned for the Cainhoy peninsula, wedged between Daniel Island and the Francis Marion National Forest, is ground zero for the threats that the species faces: development, climate change and politics.

The city-sized mixed-use development once called Cainhoy Plantation, now Point Hope, received federal permits last spring from the Army Corps of Engineers to destroy over 200 acres of wetland. The permit also allows the “take” — which includes displacement and likely death — of over 100 red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Environmental groups have been voicing concerns about the destructive nature of the development plan, which is in the city of Charleston and Berkeley County. In August, four groups filed a lawsuit in Charleston’s District Court claiming that the plan violates the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, while ignoring better alternatives.

“There are development alternatives we presented, but they didn’t express interest,” said Chris DeScherer, an attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Charleston office. He said the groups are not against development in the region. In consultation with the planning firm Dover, Kohl and Partners, they found development alternatives that accommodated almost the same number of residential homes while minimizing impacts to water quality, wetland birds and the endangered woodpeckers.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Southern Environmental Law Center, Coastal Conservation League, South Carolina Wildlife Federation and Charleston Waterkeeper.

Wetlands provide habitat for waterbirds, like great egrets and wood storks. While not endangered, these birds play a critical role in maintaining healthy marshes. The adjacent longleaf pine forest hosts endangered woodpeckers. Both state and federal agencies use fire management to maintain the integrity of the habitat for the birds. Longleaf pine forest depend on fire to thrive. This woodpecker-focused fire management in the nearby national forest also supports other critical wildlife there, like long-eared bats and frosted salamanders.

State agencies recognize the value of preserving the two habitats adjacent to each other — wetlands and longleaf pine forest — in order to offset the loss of coastal habitats on nearby Daniel Island. In a comment provided to the Army Corps, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources said it “continues to find the best use for this property, based on the ecological functions and unique resources located there, would be conservation.”

Historically, red-cockaded woodpeckers could be found in longleaf pine forests from New Jersey to Texas in numbers well over 1.5 million. Today the number of woodpeckers has reached 14,000. The permitted number of birds that the developers can “take” represents about 1 percent of the bird’s current population.

A critical number of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers can now be displaced near a national forest in the process of building a new 45,000-occupant mixed-use development on the Cainhoy peninsula. By destroying 2,850 acres of longleaf pine trees that the birds depend on for survival, many will likely die. The birds are territorial, and carving out a new tree cavity can take up to two years. Once a woodpecker family is displaced from its tree home, successful relocation is rare.

“The most questionable decision is that no environmental impact statement was conducted,” said Michelle Nowlin, a clinical professor of law at Duke University.

Nowlin, who is not involved in the lawsuit, has worked on previous cases involving the protection of red-cockaded woodpeckers. Upon hearing that no impact statement was conducted, as is required by the National Environmental Policy Act, Nowlin was stunned.

“Oh my God ... the presence of an endangered species ... that is when NEPA should be triggered,” she said. “Then you look at how significant the action is and what are the likely environmental impacts.”

The lack of a formal environmental impact statement for the Cainhoy development and the Francis Marion National Forest is a key argument of the ongoing lawsuit.

Richard Porcher is a local naturalist and former professor at The Citadel. He has written books on the flora and fauna of South Carolina’s forests, including Francis Marion.

Porcher said he has been “fighting” for the recovery of wildlife in the forest for decades. When told about the permit granted to Cainhoy builders that allowed for the deaths of over a hundred woodpeckers, Porcher sighed: “It’s a total tragedy.”

Another argument brought by the lawsuit is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t fully take climate-driven threats into account, as also is required by law. In its opinion to the Army Corps, which ultimately resulted in the permitted “take” of over 100 birds granted to land developers, the site-specific threat of climate-worsening hurricanes to Berkeley County is barely mentioned.

“Francis Marion National Forest’s (red-cockaded woodpeckers) population is very healthy ... but it’s only one good hurricane away from being very unhealthy,” said Tim Evans, director of land conservation at Audubon South Carolina, the state office of the National Audubon Society.

Climate change is one of the issues that Audubon stresses when trying to help the public understand what Berkley County will look like in 30 years. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo destroyed two-thirds of the wookpecker-hosting trees in the national forest. In 1996, a similar hurricane slammed a North Carolina forest, wiping out almost half of the woodpecker-hosting trees with one storm.

Politics at play

Presidential biographer Douglas Brinkley called the Endangered Species Act the “least controversial” legislation of Nixon’s presidency. The bill passed the U.S. Senate by 92-0, and the House, 355-4, before arriving to Nixon’s desk on Dec. 28, 1973. Even the National Rifle Association supported it at the time. But in the 20th century, the act has become highly politicized. How it is applied to red-cockaded woodpecker protection may be no exception.

The Trump administration proposed to delist or downgrading over 40 species — from “endangered” to “threatened” — including the grey wolf and the red-cockaded woodpecker. A species loses protections when its status changes like this. South Carolina’s local Audubon group took a stand against downgrading the red-cockaded woodpecker. Environmental groups and wildlife officials in North Carolina have also come out against the proposed down-listing, claiming it’s too soon.

North Carolina Public Radio reported in 2021 that the Southern Environmental Law Center had obtained documents indicating that the wildlife service internally debated delisting the woodpeckers completely, not just downgrading their ranking on the list to “threatened.” This raised eyebrows over scientific integrity. According to the act, any proposal to change the status of an endangered animal must be scientifically vetted and predetermined population recovery goals must be met.

In South Carolina, red-cockaded woodpecker populations are growing at an annual rate of 4 percent, faster than any other state in the birds’ range. The target growth rate set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the species recovery is 5 percent. According to the Endangered Species Act, an endangered species should not be “delisted” unless it has reached the goals set in its recovery plan.

Taking an animal off the endangered species list is not always a political act. The bald eagle is a prime example.

In 2007, conservation and industry groups alike celebrated the delisting of the bald eagle, marking a remarkable recovery for America’s most famous bird, whose populations now exceeds 300,000. Breeding pairs can even be found in the green spaces of the nation’s capital.

‘Loving the Lowcountry to death’

To some, the death of any endangered species is a tragedy. To others, development in Berkeley County is a good thing that carries environmental trade-offs.

“Berkley County has to really think about why people are moving there ... the beauty, the natural habitat, the coast of South Carolina,” Evans said. “How do you hold onto those things and love those things without destroying them?”

Joe Riley, Charleston’s former mayor, led the annexation of the Cainhoy peninsula into the city’s urban growth boundary in 1996. In the wake of this year’s litigation over the Cainhoy development, Riley defended these actions in a column in The Post and Courier, calling the decadeslong planning for the 9,000-acre property “responsible smart growth.” Riley likened the future development on Cainhoy peninsula as following in the same patterns of sustainable, suburban growth that played out on Daniel Island during his tenure as mayor. Conservationists view the carelessness for local endangered species as something very different.

“People are loving the Lowcountry to death,” Evans said. “We have to get our heads around how we do these things sustainably. ... Saying we’re going to take 11 woodpecker colonies is not how we do things sustainably.”

In the meantime, construction continues for services and roads that will serve the 45,000 new occupants of Point Hope. The transportation corridor at the center of it all, Clement’s Ferry Road, has already been widened in some sections, adding two lanes to alleviate congestion of the 15,000 cars and trucks that traverse it daily. Road construction is ongoing. For now, no construction has reached the sections of forest where the woodpeckers live. But, said Nowlin, it’s only a matter of time.

Nowlin, who worked at the Southern Environmental Law Center prior to her tenure at Duke, has worked on other endangered species cases in which the incidental take permits were ultimately revoked, ruling in favor of environmentalists trying to protect an endangered animal from development. In some cases, the critical habitat had already been destroyed during the long slog of litigation.

“There’s no way to undo that damage once it’s done,” Nowlin said.

The current lawsuit challenging the destruction of wetlands and displacement of woodpeckers on the Cainhoy peninsula won’t be resolved anytime soon. Environmental groups are hoping it will be resolved by the end of 2023, with the courts ruling in their favor, marking a win for red-cockaded woodpeckers and the 50th anniversary of the very bill that saved them.

Charleston interior designers predict 2023 trends will include ‘fifth wall,’ warmer palette

As Charleston ushers in a new year, local interior designers are eyeing trends that will pick up steam in 2023. And they say color schemes or paint choices are the first indications of shifting preferences.Three Charleston-based design professionals spoke with The Post and Courier about how to identify which interior trends are timeless and which could be a passing fad.A focus on the ‘fifth wall’In 2022, designers saw an uptick in clients wanting to view the ceiling as the “fifth wall.” Rather t...

As Charleston ushers in a new year, local interior designers are eyeing trends that will pick up steam in 2023. And they say color schemes or paint choices are the first indications of shifting preferences.

Three Charleston-based design professionals spoke with The Post and Courier about how to identify which interior trends are timeless and which could be a passing fad.

A focus on the ‘fifth wall’

In 2022, designers saw an uptick in clients wanting to view the ceiling as the “fifth wall.” Rather than leaving it a blank white, some chose to paint the ceiling the same color as the wall and trim, paint a mural or even put up wallpaper.

Although the concept has seen interest in the past year and will likely grow in popularity in 2023, it’s not a new idea.

“People have been painting their porch ceilings in Charleston for a long time,” said Karie Calhoun, co-owner and instructor at the Charleston School for Interior Design. “I think that is something that is going to continue. As design continues on, eventually things repeat themselves.”

But anyone with a popcorn ceiling knows that the wall design du jour can quickly date a home. One way to avoid this fate is to start small.

Approximately 40,000 people are expected to show up for the 41st edition of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, a celebration of art and the outdoors that has drawn crowds from near and far since 1983.

“In a smaller space you can have more impact without being overwhelming,” said Rhiannon Esposito, general manager of Fine Rugs of Charleston.

Other options are to focus on neutrals or a monochrome look.

“If your walls are pretty vibrant, accent the ceiling with a lighter color tone or paint it all the same color rather than a going for a green wall and an orange ceiling,” said Christyn Dunning, owner and principal designer at interior design firm, The Guest House Studio.

Warming up the interior

Throughout much of the 2000s, cool color schemes took the lead. Think grays and blues.

But in recent years, design professionals have seen a shift toward warm tones such as creams, reds and oranges.

“We are finally heading out of the gray phase and we are seeing a lot more bright colors in general,” Esposito said, adding that sales of gray and blue rugs have been trending down at Fine Rugs of Charleston.

Using trend forecasting and company data, the color development brand, Pantone, announced its color of the year for 2023 on Dec. 1. Called Viva Magenta, the deep-pink hue is an about-face from the 2022 color of the year which was a shade of periwinkle. And the shift might tell us more about our collective psychological state than just wanting something new, Dunning said.

“With everything that has happened in the past few years with the pandemic and the types of lives that we are living now … people want to be surrounded by things that bring them comfort. They want soft, warm, inviting spaces,” Dunning said.

But Calhoun added that she tells her clients not to focus on trends when deciding what color schemes are best for a home. Other aspects such as lighting and built-ins can dictate what paint colors will look best.

“Pay attention to what is bossing your house around,” she said. “It’s permanent things like cabinet color, flooring and things that aren’t changing.”

Homes look better when the paint complements the undertones of those “bossy” items as Calhoun calls them.

“What I often see is they will have a beige undertone cabinet and then paint their walls a cool-toned grey and it looks horrible,” she said. “I always say to pay attention to the undertones.”

A taste for texture

Although modern homeowners are straying away from the popcorn ceilings of the ’70s, other textures are making their way back into interiors.

Limewash walls took on a new popularity in 2022 evoking the look of a smooth stone.

And plaster made appearances on oven hoods and fireplaces as a way to add depth to a design.

The appeal, Esposito said, came from a desire to be close to nature, especially in Charleston.

“A lot of people are drawn toward nature and being outside,” she said. “It’s about seeing what you would see at a forest or the beach and drawing inspiration from that.”

The trick to applying texture and avoiding the pitfalls of committing to a passing fad is, once again, to start small, Dunning said.

“If you do it in small doses, if you add plaster or texture to your range hood or a few walls it will be timeless thing,” she said. “But if you overdo it, because it is a little trendy right now, I think that in 10 years, if you decided to plaster an entire room, it will look dated and it’s going to be challenging to remove at that point.”

However, she added that gravitating toward warm and cozy interiors with pops of color means that Dunning’s clients are not only spending more time at home but also leaning into their unique personalities. And that’s a mindset that will never go out of style.

“Charleston is one very specific area compared to the rest of the world. For years people wanted their houses to look like what their neighbors’ house looked like,” she said. “Now clients are looking to add more personality to their space and I think we’ll see that trend continue as we see people move from all different places.”

A look back at weather in the Lowcountry in 2022

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — It’s hard to believe that 2022 is almost over, but it’s a good chance to look back at the weather highlights of the year here in the Lowcountry.January 3 was a windy day. There were wind gusts up to 68...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — It’s hard to believe that 2022 is almost over, but it’s a good chance to look back at the weather highlights of the year here in the Lowcountry.

January 3 was a windy day. There were wind gusts up to 68 mph across the Lowcountry.

We had freezing rain across the area on January 21 and 22 that resulted in a thin glaze of ice on objects like cars and plants. There were a few power outages. The Ravenel Bridge was also closed a few times due to melting ice.

There was a line of severe storms April 5 and 6. The thunderstorms produced several tornadoes in Southeast Georgia and parts of the Lowcountry. There was an EF0 near Harleyville and an EF0 near Walterboro. Fortunately, they were weak tornadoes and only caused minimal damage in fairly rural areas.

The big story throughout the spring and early summer was the worsening drought. There wasn’t any relief until late June into early July. There was anywhere from two to ten inches of rain across the area. The drought conditions really started to improve after that heavy rain event.

Hurricane season featured 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. It was a pretty average year. Here in our area, we had impacts from Ian and Nicole.

Ian was a CAT 4 that devastated southwest Florida and then made landfall near Georgetown as a CAT 1 on September 30th. The storm brought 5” of rain to Charleston, flooding, winds up to 74 mph, and power outages.

Nicole passed to our west as a tropical depression on November 10 and 11. It brought one to three inches of rain for most areas as well as coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Coastal flooding was certainly an issue throughout the year. There were 68 coastal flood events, putting 2022 in the No. 2 spot tying with 2020. The highest tide of the year was 8.35’ in the Charleston Harbor during Nicole. It resulted in major coastal flooding.

The warmest temperature was 98 degrees on June 14. The coldest was 18 degrees on December 24. During the Arctic chill in late December, there was a 40-hour period of below-freezing temperatures from 7 p.m. on December 23 until 11 a.m. on December 25.

2023 looks to get off to a warm start!


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