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Posts Tagged ‘Mom style’

Pearls go with everything and can go anywhere. They’re not too much and not too little but everything you’d ask for in a piece of jewelry.

Cindy Marshall, retired antique jewelry dealer and my mother.

Mom comes out with these little gems every so often. We were chatting on the phone and I mentioned that I’d been wearing her pearl bracelet that she had passed on to me years ago. I hadn’t worn it much, saving it for special occasions until my recent pull toward pearls inspired me to wear this bracelet every day, just because I like it.

It seems I’m not the only person drawn to pearls lately. Fashion designer Marc Jacobs told Harper’s Bazaar that after years of wanting, he finally bought himself a strand of pearls for Christmas last year. He says that the pearls are like a good luck charm and bring him joy during the pandemic. I recently interviewed a jeweler about trends and pearls are on the list. She told me that young women, influenced by the young British royals, are buying pearls.

I suspect that women are also inspired by another fan of pearls – Vice President Kamala Harris, who has made pearls her signature. Single strands, double strands, layered, mixed with gold and even diamonds, Vice President Harris loves her pearls. (I love that fact that she sports her pearls with her other favorite accessory – Converse sneakers.)

I agree with my mother that pearls are now an every day choice that go with everything. I like pearls with t-shirts. Or layers of pearls peeking out from underneath a blouse. Or a long strand on a lightweight sweater. Pearls are fun to play with and they don’t have to be real; faux pearls can be as lovely and lustrous as the real thing. And by the way, pearl is the birthstone for June.

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My mother once told me that her best friend from her younger days went through a phase of using paper shopping bags as handbags. Not just any old paper bag! No, one from I. Magnin or Saks Fifth Avenue. How intriguing. She could afford to shop at high end department stores, but she couldn’t afford a purse?

I love the irony and I wonder if that was her intention.

Mom thought that perhaps her BF couldn’t afford the expensive purse she wanted. But having good taste, she wasn’t going to settle for less, so, to be quirky or humorous she used the paper bags she got for buying a lipstick or stockings at the the best department stores in Downtown, San Francisco.

Fast forward to now and paper shopping bags are all the rage for reuse. I see it frequently – sturdy bags used for the gym, carting around kids stuff, used as totes to take to work or on a day out. I use some of my bag collection to carry packages to the post office and they’re perfect for packing a lunch.

These days in California and elsewhere (but not NY) customers have to pay for a bag and that’s a good thing for the environment and a good opportunity to reuse some of the shopping bags we already have. Maybe even carry a really nice one as your handbag. Why not?

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Clare Spera and RBG, circa 2010.

Now that my grandmother is gone, I am humbled and comforted when I wear her clothes. These items carry more than just a legacy of sartorial elegance; they are a tangible reminder of the woman underneath the judicial robe and of everything she taught me, from lessons in style to how best to continue to strive toward a “more perfect union.” Her thoughtful wardrobe choices – never an accessory out of place, a story behind every piece of clothing she wore – were but one aspect of her incredible mind and attention to detail.

Clara Spera, reproductive rights litigator at the American Civil Liberties Union.

This quote is taken from the essay, My Bubbie Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Ms. Spera in Harper’s Bazaar, Jan/Feb 2021. In her essay, Ms. Spera talks about the bond she had with her grandmother over clothing and fighting gender inequality.

I have long been fascinated with the idea that more is woven into our clothing than just fiber. There is memory, association, reflection, time, and place. It interests me that an article of clothing can, over time and wear, absorb so much of who we are. I have pieces of clothing that belonged to my mother in various stages of her fashion life. Entwined in each sweater, skirt, dress, coat, are scraps of her life and my childhood – her days as an urban mom at home, her fling with Hippie Style, and those challenging years she was a working mom. I even have clothing that hung in her closet before I was born, which has allowed for imaginings of an even younger woman who attended cocktail parties and wore a suit to shop downtown.

Like Ms. Spera, I take comfort in every piece of my mother’s clothing that I have. They are like time portals for me.

Today, March 15, would have been Ruth Bader Ginsburg 88th birthday.

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The classic 2.55 handbag by Chanel.

I inherited my Chanel 2.55 bag from my mother, who herself had been gifted it. Whenever I wear it I’m wearing her history. I know it sounds like an inflated idea, but our attachments to objects and the paths they’ve all taken are real.

Lucy Chadwick, Gallery Director of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York.

The iconic Chanel 2.55 handbag was named after the date of its creation – February 1955. At the time it had unique features including quilted leather and a chain shoulder strap. Since the original hit the shelves, there have been many interpretations and spins on the original design but like a true classic, it has never gone out of style.

I have a little tan leather clutch bag with a kiss closure that belonged to my mother. I remember it was always kept in her dresser drawer and it didn’t come out to be carried but instead held important little things like her old driver’s licenses. She just recently gave it to me and I have considered using it but, I don’t want to disturb the contents. Now it sits in my dresser drawer.

So, I agree with Ms. Chadwick that objects carry the history of their owners.

Coming up later this week it’s all about handbags on OverDressedforLife. Stay tuned.

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IMG_20200319_143040154When I was growing up, my mother had hanging in her closet a cashmere coat, and sitting on the floor underneath the coat was a pair of black apres ski boots in suede. She would tell me that this was her “emergency outfit.” In case of a fire or an earthquake or some other dramatic event that required a quick exit from home (in the middle of the night), she knew what to grab. The heavy coat was for warmth and protection and the boots were sturdy and waterproof. Both were comforting. It made sense to me.

I thought of mom’s armor outfit last week when I was getting ready to leave the house on essential errands. (California has been under a shelter-in-place command since March 17th.)

What’s my emergency outfit?

Like my mother I go for warmth, protection, and comfort. I chose my back hoodie by Champion. Simple and cozy, I like the hood nestled around my neck and although warm, it’s not heavy or bulky. I also slipped on a pair of black leggings. I don’t wear leggings very often but these are kind of silky, comfortable and easy to move in. For color I added a silk flower brooch and a light blue beret, which, by the way, has antique buttons sewed on along the edge. Simple flat ankle boots in black for easy walking.

Finally, I swiped on red lipstick and put on a pair of snappy sunglasses. I was ready!

It’s interesting to note that if it was just normal day (before COVID-19), I would not have chosen this outfit. Most likely I would have worn a skirt and blazer or perhaps my cape. An ensemble that would have required some effort to wear.

I believe clothing provides more than just covering. It boosts confidence and offers both physical and emotional comfort.

Remember, Keep Calm and Keep Your Distance. 

 

 

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Spooky ladies who lunch. AKA Witchy Mom and Flapper Ghost. c. 2000

When I was nine or ten my mother really got into the spooky spirit and answered the door on Halloween ready to hand out candy dressed as a witch in a caftan and pointy black flats. At the time she was the only mom to dress in costume and all the kids loved it. (This was way back when Halloween still belonged to kids.)

Many years later we started a new tradition of a quiet mother/daughter celebration. We dressed in costume and went out to lunch or dinner. We were the only ones who did this and I added to the festivities by handing out candy to anyone who crossed our path.

My mother says Halloween is her favorite holiday so we continue the lunch tradition sans full costume but we might wear a spooky accessory, like skeleton earrings in silver or a black cat stole. I still hand out candy.

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from us to you!

 

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woa-gabriela-perezetti-main-smallMy whole family used to use this seamstress, Tota, … growing up in Uruguay there were no fancy stores around – the nicest thing you could do was get European fabrics and have things made … We wouldn’t buy a lot but for each important stage of life or big event we’d have something made. There’s a suit from my mother, this olive wool skirtsuit with a blazer that has, like, a military seal and her initials embroidered on the pocket … I always loved the whole outfit, so much so that when we launched the first collection, I had that suit in it. It’s always been a reference to quality materials made to last …

Gabriela Hearst, women’s fashion designer. Quote from Elle magazine, October 2017.

I am a big fan of custom made clothing. I have an expanding wardrobe of fashions made just for me from dresses, to blouses, to a beautiful 1920s inspired coat.

It’s pure pleasure to don perfectly fitted clothing for which you have chosen the design and fabrics. Each piece is unique, well made, and it feels extra good to have supported local seamstresses/designers.

Also, I can relate to Ms. Hearst’s fondness for her mother’s wardrobe. What is it about our mother’s clothing from our childhoods? I too have memories of what my mother wore – specific images that I like to revisit. I even have some of the vintage pieces right out of her closet. Many of them special occasion outfits, but it’s the everyday pieces that I’m drawn to. The ones I saw all the time – the tweed skirts and Oxford shirts; slacks and desert boots. The outfits that identified a mom as my Mom.

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My mom has (jokingly) started calling me “Mom” …  since she now needs a little more attention. So, I say let’s celebrate moms of all kinds.

Happy Mother’s Day from us to you!

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MG_8222_lowA more sophisticated client respects that linen will crease because it is indicative of its premium quality, much like a collector would appreciate the patina on an old vintage watch. 

Guglielmo Miani, CEO Larusmiani

Summer is approaching, get out your linen duds but leave the iron in the cupboard.

I chuckled when I read Mr. Miani’s quote in WWD, as it called to mind what my mother has always said about linen clothing – linen was meant to to be worn wrinkled … you can always tell a linen wrinkle, it has its own pattern.

Wrinkles used to drive me crazy, linen or not. I secretly thought Mom came up with that line because she didn’t like to iron. When I was a kid we had what we called The Ironing Drawer, which was overstuffed to the point of not being able to shut it closed. Among the cloth napkins and boys shirts was a favorite summer dress of mine. I outgrew that dress waiting for it to be ironed.

But now I think that Mom and Mr. Miani have a point; wrinkles are part of the charm of linen.

 

 

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Step into Mom’s Closet for a little early Mother’s Day celebration. https://overdressedforlife.com/moms-closet/mom-wants-buttons-sew-be-it/.

 

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