Dress Code

BY Kelly Corbett

Wrightsville Beach School parents wore white presenting a united front during the last school year when talks of redistricting surfaced. The sea of white symbolized unity and the parent body successfully persuaded New Hanover County Board of Education members to change their minds.


Whether or not the apparel made an impact one thing Wrightsville Beach School parents know is that appearances can matter. Style definitely makes a splash in the schoolyard on the playground around the track and in the daily drop-off and pick-up lines with some of the best looks reserved for WBS PTA meetings.


We followed eight Wrightsville Beach School parents for a preview of fall fashion from knee-high riding boots and raised hemlines to designer slacks and dress shirts they all share their personal dress code.


Melissa Ellison

PTA president


Whatever her mood is in the morning determines Melissa Ellisons style for the day shown at left. It could be southern to glam.

Honestly its whatever personality I wake up with Ellison says.

Fall is her favorite time of year for fashion with maxi dresses and tall boots ranging from cowboy boots and stiletto boots to rain boots and Uggs.I have them all she says.

Ellison says she loves shopping at Lula Balou and Aqua Fedora because she does not have a whole lot of time to shop and can do it all in one or two places.

She has two older sons and a third-grade daughter Bella who dresses a lot like she does. Ellison describes Bellas style as sassy.


Elizabeth Beacham

PTA vice president


Claiming to have a lack of style Elizabeth Beacham shown at right can be found wearing what feels good. She frequently dons flowy dresses denim jeans yoga pants and maxi dresses and loves to throw on a pair of tennis shoes and go. Big bold necklaces excite her like one with gold spikes.

I like to mix it all Beacham says about her taste in jewelry. I dont like to be too matchy matchy.

Most of the time she shops for her two daughters Gunter who attends kindergarten   and Tyler in second grade.

I care more about what theyre wearing than what Im wearing Beacham says. � For them it comes natural.


Jim & Tammy Ratcliff

PTA members             


A former Gentry House sales consultant who dressed other men Jim Ratcliff likes to go bold with his style like wearing tennis shoes with orange soles.

I feel like Im pretty fashion forward he says. I like to go against the grain. � I like to mismatch a lot.

Day to day Ratcliff wears dress slacks and dress shirts. And on casual Friday he wears a nice pair of jeans.

Tammy Ratcliff says she is not a real fussy dresser. She likes to be comfortable in clothes that fit her petite frame.

I do like a little bit of trend mixed in Ratcliff says.

She draws some of her inspiration from fashion magazines like Lucky and style icons like Olivia Palermo.

The Ratcliffs recently had their closet custom designed by California Closets with separate sections for dresses and shirts rows of shoes and boots and an area for folded jeans.

Married for 21 years the couple that enjoys shopping together recently traveled to New York City on a spree. Two of their five children Chloe-Rose fourth grade and Jude third grade attend WBS.


Amy Caliva

PTA member


Amy Caliva describes her style as a southern influence with a coastal twist. She loves boots bangles and long necklaces.

I like to mix different fabrics like that might not necessarily go together Caliva says.

She does the same with her jewelry combinations often blending silver and gold.

She tends to shop in out-of-town boutiques in Charleston and Raleigh and color coordinates her personal closet and those of her children Niccolo fifth grade and Zoe third grade.


Stuart & Suzy Franck

PTA member and Classroom Mom


Stuart Franck describes his style as southern and classy saying he will wear whatever is clean. In the fall Franck tends to wear jeans flannel khaki pants and button downs.

I usually dress pretty simple Franck says. I get a small side of the closet.

He typically accessorizes with his wedding ring one of a couple of sport watches and brown loafers.

Suzy Franck does not like ironing but she loves fashion and shops the boutiques.

She describes her style as fashionista and bohemian often incorporating classic pieces into her attire. A surfer who is part of a family with an active lifestyle Franck is frequently spotted wearing swimsuits running skirts and workout tanks.

What she wears depends on what shes doing she says. If she is going out in the evening Franck might dress up a pair of jeans or throw on a dress accessorizing with handbags and boots.

I love Tory Burch shoes Franck says.

The Francks sporty sons Brodie 9 and Elijah Lee 6 also enjoy dressing up and going out.


Russell Ebelherr

Spelling Bee Chairman


When working from home Russell Ebelherr usually wears a nice pair of jeans with a comfortable shirt. The single dad who has a fourth-grade daughter Maddie at WBS likes button downs with small prints not solids.

I like some sort of pattern Ebelherr says.

Because of his tall stature most of his suits and shirts are custom made.

He accessorizes with cuff links and loafers or adds a dash of color with his Nike Flex shoes or his daughters lunchbox.