Best-dressed* Georgia lawmakers of 2023

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

It’s every #gapol’s favorite time of year: best-dressed* lawmakers of the 2023 legislative session!

In an effort to head off the outraged emails, tweets, DMs and texts this year: Many of the honorees were fan favorites from both last year and this year. Sadly, a few I hoped to place on this year’s list did not come back to the Capitol. (I will let y’all speculate.)

(And yes, you can take your pick from a laundry list of more important things that have occurred this year.)

However, I promise you I was asked at least once a day about who would be on the best-dressed list or when it would be released, so it’s clear we all welcomed an opportunity to bring some silliness to the 40 days of the legislative session.

Throughout the year, I’ve asked for nominations, been sent photos of legislators whose peers thought they should be included and even began to field some recommendations from colleagues.

This is the fourth time has compiled this list, launching it in 2019 but deciding that 2020 wasn’t a year we should spend time discussing fashion. So before you send me angry emails that your favorite wasn’t on the list, I ask (beg?) that you check out the honorees from 2022, 2021 and 2019 first. With 236 lawmakers in the building, I can’t justify having repeat appearances yet. It’s coming soon, though.

Standing disclaimer time: Everything I know about fashion I learned from shows such as “Project Runway” and “America’s Next Top Model.” I do not claim to be an expert.

If you know me, you know that on any given day you can catch me looking like a disheveled mess.

Most of the lawmakers I spoke with said they felt it was important to present themselves to the world in the best possible light. Many said while they felt one’s appearance shouldn’t matter, there are many who will judge a person at first glance.

For the men on the list, it’s difficult to get too creative. Most wear dark tailored suits but play around with patterned ties, pocket squares and socks. The women have a little more leeway to have fun, but it usually came down to fit, tailoring and color to make the list. This is completely subjective and boils down to what I think is fashionable. Do with that information what you will.

And with that, I give you the picks for the 2023 best-dressed* state lawmakers, in alphabetical order:

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Sen. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia

Occupation: Minister and nonprofit professional

Fashion inspiration: “Usually I’m thinking about what type of day I would like to have. If it’s rainy, I usually wear bright colors to do the opposite of the mood. So it just depends on how I’m feeling or how I prefer to feel.”

Favorite fashion tip: “Be creative. And color is magic.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Rep. Teri Anulewicz, D-Smyrna

Occupation: Former government affairs consultant

Fashion inspiration: “Something I think about a lot is that when Diane Keaton played the mom in (the 1991 film) ‘Father of the Bride,’ she was a year younger than I am now. So I feel like I just want to dress in a way that I feel good and I try to dress very intentionally. And I view picking out my clothes as self-care. ... As a middle-age lady, sometimes you can be a little bit invisible. So I like to dress intentionally so that I have a presence beyond just what I bring with my mind.”

Favorite fashion tip: “I love Rent the Runway. ... I follow a couple of people on Instagram, but only one or two and only women who have the same body type that I do, and it’s pushed me a little bit outside of my comfort zone by trying different things (and) trying different combinations. And I believe that in this building, you cannot compromise on shoes.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

House Minority Leader James Beverly, D-Macon

Occupation: Eye doctor

Fashion inspiration: “Happiness. Like, ‘These socks, I feel good about those.’ I like colors, I like patterns and I like brightness. And I love bowties because they represent freedom.”

Favorite fashion tip: “Have confidence in whatever you’re going to wear. Comfortable confidence. Be comfortable with it and be confident that you made the right selection for yourself.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Sen. Shelly Echols, R-Alto

Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting chairwoman

Occupation: Business owner

Fashion inspiration: “I always just try to make sure I’m dressed professionally and conservatively, especially down here. ... My husband and my college (age) daughter, they help make sure that everything is appropriate. My husband is definitely the best dressed of the two of us.”

Favorite fashion tip: “Get it approved by your 19-year-old daughter. I just don’t want to embarrass her, so I’ve sent her selfies many days and said, ‘Is this OK?’ And she’ll tell me what to change.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Rep. Scott Hilton, R-Peachtree Corners

Occupation: Banker

Fashion inspiration: “I think about looking the part. Politicians and public servants have a certain look to them. But most importantly, I take great pride in representing my district and having that reflected in what I wear. I think is important.”

Favorite fashion tip: “I keep it simple. I like just whites and blues and then a sharp tie. Pay attention to detail. And have everything pressed and cleaned and ironed and and ready to go.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Rep. Soo Hong, R-Lawrenceville

Occupation: Attorney

Fashion inspiration: “Classy, professional but with the feminine flair. I try to not just wear suits that are just black and blue. I think it’s important to look and feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. The type of clothes that I wear make me feel not only professional, but also like a strong woman.”

Favorite fashion tip: “I like having pieces that are always going to be in fashion. My closet’s full of classy pieces that 10 years from now you know are still going to be in fashion.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Sen. Nabilah Islam, D-Lawrenceville

Occupation: Consultant

Fashion inspiration: “I like to be laid-back (and) professional. I like a basic tee with a professional jacket. I think what I wear reflects my personality.”

Favorite fashion tip: “I like simple with a pop of color, whether it’s a red lipstick or a fun blazer.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Rep. Tyler Paul Smith, R-Bremen

House Judiciary Non-civil Committee chairman

Occupation: Attorney

Fashion inspiration: “My inspiration comes from both my mother and my grandmother. They were both seamstresses. ... In my 20s it was more of a loud and power tie type of dress, but now I trend a little more conservative.”

Favorite fashion tip: “Always, always, always, though, whether it’s a full suit or a blazer, you have to have a pocket square. Without a pocket square, I feel completely naked. ... I always recommend that anybody that has a full suit on, you need that pocket square. It makes it elegant.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Sen. Rick Williams, R-Milledgeville

Senate Retirement Committee chairman

Occupation: Funeral director

Fashion inspiration: “I think about looking professional and neat, and that’s it, pretty much. Yeah, that’s it. And make sure that my shoes are polished and that my wife will approve.”

Favorite fashion tip: “I’m usually wearing a white shirt, but I do enjoy different ties and different themed ties. ... I have ties with koala bears and foxes and dinosaurs and other animals, and my grandchildren get a kick out of the different ties.”

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

State Rep. Inga Willis, D-Atlanta

Occupation: Entrepreneur and creative executive

Fashion inspiration: “My fashion influences began with my father, who masters the details (and), also, the put-together women in my family, and extends to women who exude timeless eras: Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, (and) Diana Ross in ‘Mahogany.’ ”

Favorite fashion tip: “For me, it’s the color blend and the feel. And I’m very intentional about who’s inspiring me for the season. So I look at the era and the fabrics. It’s like a collage.”

*Disclaimer: No algorithms were used in creating this list.

Previous best-dressed* legislators:

2022: Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell; then-Sen. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek (now serves in House); Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn; Rep. El-Mahdi Holly, D-Stockbridge; Sen. Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro; Sen. Kim Jackson, D-Pine Lake; then-Rep. Josh McLaurin, D-Atlanta (now serves in Senate); Rep. Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee; Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula; and Rep. Erica Thomas, D-Mableton.

2021: Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome; Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming; Rep. Matthew Gambill, R-Cartersville; Sen. Sonya Halpern, D-Atlanta; Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur; Rep. Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville; Sen. Nikki Merritt, D-Grayson; Rep. Bee Nguyen, D-Atlanta; Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough; and Rep. Matthew Wilson, D-Brookhaven.

2019: Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta; Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville; Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton; Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens; Sen. Harold Jones, D-Augusta; Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta; Sen. John Kennedy, R-Macon; Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta; Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville; Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, D-Dawson; and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.