Bien-Mis {adj} – well dressed (people)

My Mother – The Style Icon

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It’s 1978 and the all American Beauty is at large. Nut brown tans, perfect white smiles and big blonde blowdrys. In the same year, my mother is photographed at a party.  It’s my absolute favourite picture of her.  Petite, she stands elfin-like amongst the suited men and over done women.  Her hair in a short expresso coloured crop, understated yet pristine make up and a simple black off the shoulder dress. She looks beautiful and it perfectly embodies her desire to be stylish yet to always look like herself. The ultimate advocate for classics, my Mom doesn’t follow big trends. Instead she know exactly what suits her and chooses to add small updates each season to bring her look up to date.

Her timeless staples always include, a good pair of dark jeans, a trench, a white shirt, Breton stripe or ten and a simple shift.  Yet she looks ever fresh by introducing the subtlest of changes each season; a new cut ,small detail in a fabric or a quirky piece of jewellery.   

I’ve always been a big fan of customizing and altering pieces to fit properly or add an unusual touch.  This is definitely a trait I have inherited from Mom. She would tell me stories of how she and her best friend went every Saturday afternoon of their teens to buy a few yards of material from the local haberdashery market and knock up a dress to go dancing in that night. She remained handy with a needle after she was married and lead to me being introduced to fashion and sewing at a young age.  We would spend hours stitching scraps of material together to make oufits for my Barbies.

Naturally, I became interested in my own clothes (and that of my mothers that I used to try on and eventually borrow as I got older). My first shopping memory is being taken to House of Fraser to buy a winter dress coat.   I always loved Department stores as a child.  After we’d rifled through the haberdashery section for, what seemed like hours, we headed to the children’s clothing department.  The purchase was a navy blue wool A line coat, satin lined with a velour collar and a silver chain inside to hang it up.  Even then I was aware that this was probably the most expensive item my mother had ever bought for me.  I loved it so much I was distraught when I grew out of it and have spent much of my adult life trying to find a similar one.

Instantly hooked, style has remained a big part of my life ever since. And although I may look to magazines and celebrities for some inspiration, Mom will always be my number one icon.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.


Written by makebakeandsew

March 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

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