Thursday, January 28, 2016

Our First Role Model

For most of us, our mothers are our first role model. For everything including fashion. Was that the case for you?

It was for me -- which was hard 'cause I was considered a boy. Everyone, including my mother, discouraged me from emulating her. But I tried. And tried.

Eventually I realized that path was closed; I wasn't allowed to be openly like her. I did, however, pretend to be a girl in the privacy of my bathroom; I used a bath-towel as a makeshift skirt.

Lately, as I've been re-claiming a female-identity, I find connections to my mother that are surprising. For example, I vividly remember how my mother's arms had freckles. Lots and lots of freckles. I thought that was unusual -- until I started shaving hair off my arms and was shocked to see that I too have freckles on my arms. I never saw them under the hair. I suspect I have many genetic similarities with my mom.

In terms of fashion, my mother always wore sleeveless blouses. It was her signature look. Recently, I spotted a blouse of the exact style my mom used to wear. For nostalgia, I bought it.

I probably should mention that my mom died in 1990 at age 54. All I have left of her are memories and photographs. Here is one taken forty years ago. Note the blouse.

Out of affection for my mom, I'm wearing a similar blouse now. I'm not going to say more 'cause, if I do, I'll burst out in tears.

Did your mother influence the way you dress?


  1. Oh my gosh! Your Mom looks so much like my Aunt Lynne. It's weird. I need to see if I can find a photo the next time I'm in BC visiting my parents.

    It is such a shame that you lost her at such an early age.

    I often think of my Mom's wicked style when she was younger. She gave up on all things style long ago. Such a shame. Oh how I *wish* I had some of my most remembered outfits of hers from the 70's. I do have several dresses from when she was 16 that I am able to wear after getting them let out a bit. I really cherish those dresses and my Mom is delighted seeing me in them.

    I'm SO HAPPY they didn't throw them out.


  2. It's sad you lost your Mom so young. And yes, we're all influenced by our mothers in some way, style wise. My mother was a gorgeous, shapely brunette (Italian descent) who could really rock a 60's fitted dress. I don't dress that way, but I do let my curls out, like she did. xox


  3. So sorry to learn your mother passed away so young. I can understand your pain a bit I think: my mother also died at 54 (actually just a week before her 55th birthday). And yes, my mother definitely influenced my style. She was extremely beautiful and very stylish, and I always felt I could never match up, so I didn't even try. So, my style is sort of a mix of emulating her and rebelling against her.

    1. "emulating...and rebelling" is the hallmark of childhood growth, as we both adopt and reject our parents' teachings in search of our own preferences.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear your mum passed away at such a premature age! It's not fair. She looks lovely and how nice you found that pretty shirt to remind you of her. My mum has rather hippy style- I like it!!x

  5. You have your Mom's sweet face. I learned a lot from my Mom about how not to dress. It was my Grandmother that most influenced my style. I lost my Dad when he had just turned 53. Now there was a man with style!

  6. Wow you resemble your mom so much. How sad she passed at a pretty young age as well. You must miss her. Those sleeveless tops were the rage then-- my grammy used to wear them all the time too!

  7. Sad to hear she had to die so young. I am sure you miss her and I send you all my good thoughts.
    When I was a teenager I was always embarrassed how my mum dressed, but now I really like it and also use the clothes she doesn't want anymore!


  8. i loved your story behind this. now that my dad is gone, i'm finding out how much like him i am.

  9. You two have the same smile!
    My parents were boho hippies and always dressed wildly. I rebelled for awhile in the 80s with a modern (at that time) punk rock look, but I have cycled back around to a more eclectic look, verging on that hippie vibe of my parents. Funny how that goes...

  10. This is so very moving Ally! I see the similarities, she has a pretty, open and kind face. i am sorry you did not have more time with her.
    Style is something that I always felt was intrinsic and clear, Role models didn't exist for me , except to confirm that I liked certain things. They also served to inspire.
    I did not read magazines often as a girl, nut I suppose my mother's and my grandmother's style did influence me. My mom's style was playful and fun, my grandma's style was very elegant. They were both beautiful and not too taken with themselves, considering their beauty. That is a style lesson to learn and honor!
    xx, Elle

  11. Oh Ally, what a deeply touching post. You might have been able to keep the tears at bay, but at least a couple tumbled out for me. Thank you for sharing more about your beautiful mom with us, including that you secretly had her freckled arms for years without knowing it.

    Have a terrific last weekend of January,
    ♥ Jessica

  12. This is so impacting and beautiful. I love that you bought a piece which reminds you of your mother. The colours are beautiful too. You look so much like her.

  13. Aw, you look so much like her! Love this little bit of your history. I have freckled arms too, but that's like my dad.

  14. You look so much like her. I actually just wrote a post about my own mom. I think for me, my parents were role models in a way that let me take what I liked from both of them and merge it into my own thing. My mom had a very different style from me, but she knew what I liked and encouraged me. My dad? Well, he did and still does wear a lot of black.

  15. As we grow older we tend to see that we are more like our parents, either physically or how we act, certain words we say...
    In my case, I am not sure who influenced me but I do tend to remember certain garments my mother use to wear that I wish were around now.

  16. Ah poor thing. I can understand (never fully but I try) that you miss your mom and miss that you couldn't communicate with her as Ally.
    You look good in that blouse though.

  17. I love that you did this. I love that she had a signature look. And I love that you found the perfect blouse to honor and celebrate her. Kinda makes me want to get out some of my mama's clothes and wear them. Every now and then, I do, but only certain things.

    My beautiful mama was the reason I fell in love with makeup at an early age, even though it wasn't even an obsession for her the way it is for me (when I'm feeling up to it, that is). She would just do it routinely to get ready for work every day. I can remember sitting in the bathroom with her and watching her apply her makeup and roll her hair. I thought (and still do) she was the most beautiful woman in the world. I wish she knew at the time just how very beautiful she truly was.

    Your mama has just a hint of slyness in that sweet smile. I bet she was spunky in her own special way!