Meeting my mother’s college friends was always an eye-opening experience. I remember sitting around the kitchen table as my mom’s friends shared stories of Joan Terp, the best dressed girl in school. I must admit I find satisfaction in the fact that my mother was somewhat of a style icon in her own arena. According to my sources my mother was a fanatical reader of fashion magazines. She had a love of every thing European. Twiggy and Bridgette Bardot were two of her influences in pursuing the â€œinternational look”.
As a Chicago girl born and raised, my mother was ecstatic when receiving her first job at Marshall Field’s, a popular department store in downtown Chicago. After several years at the perfume counter, she became the leading personal shopper for Field’s. Needless to say, for someone who loves shopping, this job was heaven. Wealthier clientele provided her with the opportunity to purchase clothing she had never really been able to get before. Her guidelines are still appropriate today and have helped me many times in my pursuit of the perfect wardrobe.
So here are some tips from the fashion-pro (and my wonderful mother), Joan Terp Perez:
â€¢ Build a basic wardrobe first. Stay current with seasonal trends â€” remember that you can always make trends age appropriate
â€¢ Accessories are most important in defining personal style (thus, do not skimp on shoes and handbags!!)
â€¢ Closet basics should include (but are not limited to): crisp white button-downs, ballet flats, something animal print, black 3 piece suit
My earliest memory of my mother’s fashion influence came at a very young age. It was a family ritual to spend Saturday morning watching television in bed. My mother’s choice was always CNN’s â€œStyle” hosted by Elsa Klensch. Needless to say, I was exposed to haute couture and Gianni Versace at age four. Our mother-daughter shopping days consisted of our tyrannical overtaking of the neighborhood GAP store. In fact our constant visit to the store earned me the nickname â€œGAP girl”. I was always experimenting with my mother’s clothing, creating new looks, creating questionable looks. My mother surely had no qualms about me playing dress up; however, she was a little angry when I disrupted her â€œhospital corner” organization. Although I never learned the rules of my mom’s style, her clientele was a walking billboard for her creative consultation.
As life moved on, I too grew into my own personal style. Much of my greatest influence came from my mother’s vintage pieces she had passed on. These included Porsche sunglasses, ivory bracelets, and vintage t-shirts. My decision to move to Paris to study Art History after high school was a shock to most of my immediate family; however, of course my mom was a supporter of my move because she had always dreamed of experiencing the European lifestyle and fashion. I recently got the chance to go to Paris fashion week to see the Chanel fashion show at the Grand Palais. Every stylish woman in their black and white boucle suits reminded me of my mother.
I can say that she has taught me well, and I am so excited to pass the Perez family fashion sense onto my children. At the rate we are going, we might amass quite the collection of amazing fashion pieces.
Photos from top to bottom:
â€¢ Joan Terp the 70’s
â€¢ Fabulous Turning 50
â€¢ Same European Style Today