Time after time, we hear from mothers and daughters that shopping and sharing fashion tips are their favorite way to bond. We must admit: we are definitely not trendsetters, but we do share similar styles! This week, we take a closer look at how our personal styles are impacted by our mother-daughter-grand-daughter relationships.
Last year when I connected with a grammar school pal on Facebook, she commented, “I remember you had the nicest clothes!” My mother was very fashion-conscious and took my sister and me shopping at the finest stores. Every year, before school started we would take a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue and shop ‘til we dropped. “Matching” was really important to my mom, and I recall her changing her pocketbook every morning so that it would match her outfit for the day. Her interest in fashion influenced me in my younger years, but as I got older, I cared less and less about my dress.
While I try and dress nicely when I go out, you can find me in workout clothes or jeans most days. And sneakers and comfy (unattractive) sandals are my favorite shoes. I’m not a big shopper and buy as much as I can online. Also, I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes – buying things on sale is a must! My closet is filled with clothes, many of which I’ve held on to for years, yet I tend to wear a select few of my favorites.
I’d classify my fashion style as tailored – clean lines and solid colors are what I prefer. I used to wear bright colors when I was younger, but now I think I look best in neutrals – khaki, black, navy, white.
When Jenna was young, she didn’t care much for clothes. She certainly wasn’t the type of girly girl who loved wearing dresses and bows. I typically shopped for her in GAP and dressed her in leggings and coordinating T-shirts. Somewhere along the way, Jen became more interested in clothes and like most teenagers, enjoyed spending hours with her friends at the mall. She still likes to shop and has quite a large collection of clothes in her closet.
I like Jenna’s fashion style: She tends to wear skinny pants and loose, flowy tops, and she likes to wear fun dresses in the summer. I usually see her in flats and flip flops, but when she dresses up, she can rock high heels. Being 5’ 7” to my 5’ 4” – she towers over me!
We don’t shop together often, but when we do it’s a lot of fun. I’ve given up, though, trying to guess what she likes: 9 times out of 10, if I pull something from a rack that I think she’d look good in, she will wrinkle up her nose and give me that “Oh, Mom!” look.
One thing I’m notorious for buying Jenna is shoes, and Aerosoles is our store. If it weren’t for me, I don’t think she would set foot (no pun intended) in that store. I’m always concerned with the fit and quality of her shoes, and have been successful in convincing her to buy shoes with good support for walking and work. It reminds me of my shopping trips with my mother – when I would find a pair of shoes that fit me well, she would often persuade me to buy them in more than one color. What comes around goes around!
When I think about the major fashion influences in my life, two immediately come to mind: my paternal grandmother Elaine and my mom. My grandmother was the perfect example of elegance and style; while she loved bright colors and bold jewelry, she always looked classy, timeless and fit for the occasion. Whether it was a golf game or a fancy function, she had the perfect outfit.
As a little girl, I remember her dragging me to the mall and forcing me to try on different outfits for the first day of school and family functions. While I often complained along the way, I always looked forward to returning back to her house, greeting my grandfather with all my new goodies and putting on a fashion show for him. He usually watched with a smile and always ended the fashion show by saying “Enjoy!”
As I grew up, I learned to appreciate my grandmother’s generous shopping outings; she always picked out items I would have never chosen for myself – and many of her selections ended up being my go-to outfits! Ever since she has been ill, I deeply miss those shopping days. There is a part of me that knows I will never look as fashionable without her input.
On the other hand, I picked up many of my mom’s shopping habits along the way. I almost never purchase clothes unless they are on sale, I love buying basics and if it were up to me, I’d live in workout clothes. Perfect example: today when I got home, I had a box waiting with three pairs of Aerosole shoes…which were all 50% off for an end-of-summer sale, of course!
But what I love most is ‘flip flopping’ between these two mindsets. I totally believe in investing in a quality purse, business suit or classic dress if I know I will get good use out of it. (For example: I LOVE my Lo & Sons O.G. bag – and did I mention it’s 30% off right now?). At the same time, I will wait patiently until my favorite, plain pair of GAP skinny pants go on sale and buy them in four colors.
Almost every time I see my mom, she comments and says, “When did you get that?! It’s so cute – but you have so many clothes!” The truth is that I don’t really have that many nice outfits – she just doesn’t see me enough to know what’s in my day-to-day wardrobe. Nonetheless, I treasure the few times a year we hit the stores together even though we tend to leave empty handed unless we feel like we “needed something”. Shopping for us is time to get away, clear our minds and simply enjoy being together. We might not be the trendiest mother-daughter duo out there – but we have fun trying!