For many of us, our first encounter with fashion involved our mum. Whether it was the contents of her wardrobe, makeup bag or jewellery box, for many women, our mothers’ choices have made an impact on what we wear today.
The fashion advice she gave us - well meaning, if not always well-received at the time - still resonates as adults. Which got us thinking … The HuffPost UK team got together to discuss style lessons passed on by mum that they still keep in mind when opening the wardrobe each morning.
“My mum has always been my biggest style cheerleader.”
I’m not sure if my mum even knows I have this photograph, but it’s been on my mirror ever since I moved to London. Not only do I love the outfit, from the great green high neck T-shirt to the pale jeans and white trainers, I actually have that exact pair of trainers stored under my bed. Sadly, the soles haven’t been quite as timeless, as they’ve fallen apart a little.
I also just love how happy she looks. My mum has always been my biggest style cheerleader - I can never remember her telling me not to wear anything, even when my sister and I dressed ourselves exclusively in terrible vintage dresses in our mid-teens, she just let us make our own mistakes.
We have always been a house of clothes lovers and she is a big believer in quality over quantity - which has taken me some years to learn properly, but was a lesson worth remembering.
Sophie Gallagher, HuffPost UK Reporter
“Here she is... in a place she wants, wearing what she wants.”
If my mum has taught me anything about style - other than you can never have too many pairs of shoes - it is to do it my way, wear what I want and feel comfortable in. While she has tended to follow trends through the years, she knows what makes her feel good and what doesn’t and this is something I have definitely taken on board when choosing my own outfits.
This ethos is no more apparent than in my parents’ wedding photographs. Eschewing the tradition of donning a white gown and heading to church, my mum opted for a purple skirt-suit and Watford registry office. It’s from an Italian knitwear brand she found in Selfridges, when shopping with her mother-in-law, my beloved Grandma.
I love this photo because not only does she look ridiculously happy, it reminds me of how she did things on her own terms. Here she is, on 17 November 1989, getting married at 34, in a place she wants, wearing what she wants.
Aimee Meade, HuffPost UK Deputy Blogs Editor
“I’m so grateful to have a woman in my life who has taught me to embrace my personality and channel it through my clothes.”
In this picture my mum is serving pumpkin patch realness. The stripes, the corduroy, the tie... it’s a pretty snazzy look. It’s actually a look I have saved in a suitcase under my bed for when I have kids of my own.
Growing up, my mum had an array of eclectic outfits. Patterns galore. Although her passion for prints faded as she went into her teens, and she resorted to black as a staple (the classic Austin aesthetic). Her dalliance with clashing colours and patterns seems to have been hereditary. Open my wardrobe and amongst the sea of muted tones you will find sequins, frills and a dress covered in burgers.
I’m so grateful to have a woman in my life who has taught me to embrace my personality and has allowed me to channel it through my clothes - even through the ridiculous phases - I’m talking giant T-shirts covered in cats, ripped tights and goth boots level ridiculous. Thanks mum.
Jess Austin, HuffPost UK, Blogs Assistant
“She was the epitome of glamour and I wanted to be just like her.”
Growing up, I used to love watching her getting ready for an evening out; the careful application of lipstick followed by lashings of hairspray and a spritz of Chanel Cristalle completely transformed her in my eyes.
She was the epitome of glamour, and I wanted to be just like her. Fast forward to 2018 and my wardrobe is bulging with oversized “night out” shirts I layer over something tighter fitting to emulate this look. Unfortunately my poker straight hair (thanks, Dad) means my efforts to recreate her big, bouncy hair always fail.
Rachel Moss, HuffPost UK Reporter
“I saw this picture and identified with it straight away.”
I love how serene, summer-y and happy my mum looks in this photo. She had a really diverse wardrobe growing up. She wore a lot of bright and bold outfits growing up, which I haven’t adopted (think black leather jumpsuits). However, her more simple, staple outfits definitely feel more me; a simple white tee, a floaty top.
I saw this picture and identified with it straight away. From the stripes, a long wispy skirt in the summer (yes please) and some flat pumps (flat shoes all day err’ day). My mum also wore big chunky jewellery and earrings which I love and still do - some of them I’ll even steal from her jewellery box and wear now.
Amy Packham, HuffPost UK Reporter.
“The real lesson mum passed on was to not put my style or personality in boxes for others.”
Femininity and power always seemed entwined to me growing up. Memories of Ama walking around in saris showing off skin, with flowers in her hair and red lipstick and heels to match was the norm.
This photograph was taken in 1996, a year after I was born and two years after she had been married. But there she is, in a red satin sari no less, looking so put together you can’t imagine a baby screaming in the corner.
The mismatch of classic and quirky jewellery was a lesson passed on to me. Here, she’s seen wearing pearls that may seem traditional, but it’s her pairing with a bejewelled cat brooch, gold bangles and multiple chains gifted from her wedding, that make her, her.
But the next day, she would be seen in a white tea dress and sunglasses with only a smudge of eyeliner and combed brows. The real lesson mum passed on was to not put my style or personality in boxes for others.
Tahmina Begum, HuffPost UK Reporter