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Lessons from Mimi


We women pioneer intrepid style. Combing through Pinterest, looking to other vogue ladies, and for us seamstresses, sewing our own clothes, we are on an ongoing journey to construct the perfect wardrobe. It’s a concept I call a considered wardrobe and I have written about many, many times. It’s that old-world notion that banishes throwing tops and bottoms together and calling it bohemian ,and embraces planning what you wear and thinking about how it reflects your station in life. Yes, we all have those days where we fail at looking put together, but those are exceptions.

The argument against a considered wardrobe is that we are too busy and too chaotic to consider, let alone compile, an entire wardrobe. But like anything vintage, it can be resolved with modern life. I am proof, or I try to be proof. As I go through this transformation and try to embrace this way of living and dressing, I am turning to a woman who has sauntered through the decades with polished, precise and well-bred taste. Her name is Mimi and she’s my grandma. A widow in her twenties with three children to care for solo, she had to fuse function and fashion. But because she was in the fashion industry – she was a model for Life Magazine and Ladies Home Journal – she never looked like a schlepp.

Just because your outfit ventures into ornate territory doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Sequins, lace and leather can be worn in relatively quotidian occasions. I kid you not.
If you’re going to put your best foot forward, take that step not only in style, but with comfort and practicality. Low heels don’t have to be as passé as an orthopedic. If done right, they can be just as swank as their towering counterparts. Take a cue from Mrs. Obama. She keeps the toes pointy and the fabric and hardware modern. Rhinestones are a great addition too. Trust me, when you make it to the end of the day sans blisters or bruises, your tootsies will thank you. Cuts and nicks are just as much a fashion faux pas as VPLs.
The sexiest trait is not cleavage or a tight ass, but passion. Passionate people make their lives count for something, and that aura is captivating and gets noticed by both men and women. A phone call to Mimi usually involves a diatribe about my stressful day or week, and her retort is always the same, “Well, it’s good that you love what you do.” In my opinion, passion and purpose are ‘sexiness’ personified. Do you know someone who sits around and waste ungodly amounts of time doing nothing? Are they sexy? Not at all. Do something, be somebody, accomplish anything!
Last lesson, always, always, always have an extra tissue and sweater on hand. Why? Because you never know when your nose will run or when you’ll get a chill. You will be surprised how handy this actually is.


  1. Reply


    Maddie this is so sweet! Your passion and love for you family is clear through all of your posts about them.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thanks Claire!

  2. Reply


    Mimi sounds a lot like my favorite aunt. Her advice is timeless – and I love the pictures!

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