Through this exercise writing about my mother’s influence on my sense of style (addiction to all things fashion) I have come to the realization…I was doomed since birth. I never thought of my mother as a clothes horse, rather a woman who prefers quality over quantity, the French method of dressing. Yet, last week in her own words she admitted â€œI make no apologies, I’m a clothes horse.â€? (This from the woman who gets rid of everything including my favorite flats which she tossed in the incinerator one day while I was at school). To this day my mother is still the same glam dame she has always been.
My mother is most assuredly the most influential and constant fashion inspiration in my life. While I knew all about Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana, I also greatly admired Deborah Harry, the Go-Go’s and Molly Ringwald. However, my mother’s closet and the clothes she had carefully stored in the attic were fascinating to me.
My maternal grandfather was a buyer for a department store. My mom’s family didn’t have much money, yet my grandfather would bring home cashmere sweaters for his daughters and always made sure his wife and children were dressed well.
As soon as my mother turned 22, graduated college and married (all in the same month), she was on a mission to continue wearing good clothes, just more of them. In fact, my mother’s first job as a teacher paid $5,000 year, most of which she spent on clothes. One of her splurges was a $500 alligator bag (in the 60’s this was quite expensive) that she still has to this day.
While interviewing my mother for my Mother’s Day dedication I found out a few things I didn’t know or remember.
1. As a very little girl I loved carrying a â€œpocketpuss.â€? Mom said she had no trouble getting me in dresses or anything frilly. I was a girlie girl.
2. My mother would dress my brother and I alike in matching Florence Eisman outfits. We are two and a half years apart and look nothing alike. I hated it apparently. Some things never change. I despise looking like everyone else. I always need to add my own twist.
3. My grandmother (Mom’s mom) took pattern making classes and made her own clothes at a designer level using only the best quality materials. I still have a few sweaters she knitted that I cherish.
Mom also reminded me that for a long time I couldn’t stand the way she dressed and I am pretty sure she hated my apparel choices as well. I did have a phase where I rebelled (mod, punk, new wave), but little does she know or care to remember, I was always on the fashion forefront (even if in my own mind) and was â€˜best-dressed’ in my high school senior poll.
My first â€˜summer’ job I worked at a hip boutique in my hometown and I knew all the designers in the magazines and my mother’s closet…Halston, Chloe, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Chanel and Scazzi. Nothing gave me a high like acquiring a new coveted addition to my wardrobe and all my money went back into the store where I worked.
My mother must have greatly influenced me, because as much as I hate to admit it, I now love her clothes, am great at cleaning out a closet and am an admitted clothes junkie. Thanks Mom!
1. My mother, me & my baby brother just a few years ago (ahem)
2. Mom and I at a wedding
3. My parents
4. Mom so 80’s fab!
5. Mom looking stylish
6. Happy as can be exiting Chanel in Monaco