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Muse: My Mom


Muses. Brigitte Bardot was one with her full bust and hips, separated in the middle by an impossible teeny tiny waist. Faye Dunaway was another when she wore her sweater, scarf, and beret is the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. And Angelica Huston was another with her strickingly witchy features that have only become more so over time. Although the idea of looking to celebrities to influence ones dress seems like it would be successful, I don’t think it is. I don’t have hips or a bust like Bardot (I don’t have hips or a bust at all). I guarantee I would look more dowdy than tres chic in Dunaway’s beret (my head is kind of an odd shape). And Angelica Huston and I have nothing, absolutely nothing, in common – her features are striking whereas mine are soft. So why would I look to them to influence what I wear? Why wouldn’t I look to someone else, someone who is more similar in body type (and social stature) to me, someone like my mom.



I had this thought last week (it was one of many thoughts – too many in my opinion) when Alessa of FarbenFreude asks me to join a Flickr group that posts photos of family members in their best and sometimes worst garb. After being asked, I dug out and into lots and lots of manila envelopes I have that are stuffed with pictures of my mom from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. As I thumbed through each photograph, admiring how age had turned up its edges as well as given it a yellowish hue, I noticed that mom consistently wore similar clothing as me. She had legs that lasted for miles and often wore shorts, dresses, and skirts that flaunted her stems; so do I. She covered up what she exposed below with tops, blouses, and sleeves that covered her neck, midriff, and arms; I do the same. She had no hips and often placed ruffles, flounces, and shirring at he lower half to give her more of a shape; again, I do the same. Seeing the similarities, I thought how I should look to my mom, not another woman of a different body type, for style guidance. And this makes sense. Many women take years, maybe a decade, to find what works and what doesn’t work for their body type. Why spend all that time when someone has worked out the kinks for you? In a sense, our moms made all the fashion faux paus for us.

What about you? Do you look to your mom, aunt, or cousin for style direction? Vice versa, do you look to your mom, aunt, or cousin as a model of how not to dress? Or can and do you successfully find style guidance in a celebrity like Bardot, Dunaway, or Huston?

Lucky magazine does a great feature on moms as style icons every month on the last page of their magazine. It’s always wonderful to see and read and I suggest you do the same the next time you pick up the magazine.

P.S. – I created a Facebook page for Madalynne (yay!) so if you like, please click here to like it (sorry for the redundancy). I promise you like it (again, sorry for the redundancy).


  1. Reply

    Sewing Princess

    What a beautiful mom you have! I love the picture where she stands on the balcony. My mom and I have different body types but certainly her style is very elegant. She actually gave me one of her 60s dresses and I always wear it with pride.
    Can’t wait to see your finished dress

    • Reply


      I would love to see that 60s dress! Vintage anything is always so amazing, especially when you look on the inside of the garment.

  2. Reply

    Love, Carrie

    I love this post…’s so real……I have an awesome pic of my mom right after she just had me, and you got me thinking about how I just thrifted a jacket almost identical to the one she’s wearing in that photo….crazy cool <3

    • Reply


      Isn’t it funny how we thought our moms were so uncool when we were little but now think they were the coolest things ever. That jacket that your mom has sounds amazing.

  3. Reply


    Great photos! It’s so cool that you and your mom have similar fashion senses and shapes!

  4. Reply


    Well, I love my mom, and I do look up to her, but not for fashion 😉 Great post though! Your mom is darling. I do have a twin sister, and I’ve learned a lot about fashion from her. We can wear the same styles and shapes for sure.

    • Reply


      A twin sister? Oh that must be so much fun to share clothes. And you two must save a ton of money!

      • Reply


        I didn’t own a skirt or dress till she moved away and I had to get my own 😉

  5. Reply


    Wow, I’d never seen that pic of your mom before.. she was gorgeous and a natural beauty… I am proud of you carrying on with such strength grace, always with grace and that syle which you have inherited, with some Mimi thrown into the mix…

    • Reply


      Thanks carrot 🙂

  6. Reply


    Stylishly and well presented poignant theme. Lovely. So many layers. I love my muse women.

    • Reply


      My mom definitely had lots of layers, and not layers of clothing

  7. Reply


    Hi Maddie. I love this post! Your mother is lovely. I have always loved the way my mom dresses and treasure the clothing gifts she gives me, which are always perfect. However, aside from our faces, the similarities stop there. She is 5 inches shorter than I am and very petite, whereas I look after my dad’s family. And while I used to wear his big shirts and cardigans in high school, I won’t be styling my outfits after him now, lol


    • Reply


      I too don’t think you should follow your dads style but I do think that a woman in a man’s shirt is very, very sexy.

  8. Reply


    Brilliant! You are a very introspective individual and mature beyond your years. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. – Jim

    • Reply


      Thanks Jim. Sometimes I’m too introspective, too too many thoughts and thinking going on in my head…

  9. Reply


    love this post. absolutely love it. and hooray for your fb page!

    • Reply


      Hooray for me too!

  10. Reply


    Great photos of your mom! 🙂

  11. Reply


    This is so sweet! To be honest, I’m still figuring out what works for my shape. Most likely because the looks I’m really drawn to simply don’t work for me, and I don’t love super flared, feminine silhouettes.

    • Reply


      I have that same problem- something may be trendy or look good on the model but on me it looks horrendous. More and more, I have been sticking to my staple pieces that I know work.

  12. Reply


    I love those sections in Lucky and I always think of my mom… it’s pretty helpful for me to look at pictures of her because I can see how I will continue to age. We look so much alike and it’s getting more and more obvious as I get older. I’ve got to dig up some pictures of her because she had the grooviest 70s wardrobe.

    • Reply


      Isn’t it odd that we grow to look more ad more like our parents? I literally am a replica of my mom and it freaks me out sometimes. Luckily, she was hideous by any means. So I can’t complain.

  13. Reply

    Andrea Williams

    I totally enjoyed this, Maddie.  You are very witty and have a wonderful way with words…so much like your mother.

  14. Reply


    Maddie, I love your site. You are one talented, young lady.  Love seeing what you make, write, inspire.  Love seeing your Mom here too.   Big hugs and congrats !

  15. Reply


    I used to have a subscription to Lucky, and I always looked at the Style Icon page in the back! It was one of my favorite things to read. I actually look nothing like my mom, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed her sense of style in the ’70s. She kept some of her clothes from that era, thank goodness, so I was able to wear them when I was younger. (She was tiny back then; when I was twelve, I could already fit into her high school clothing…THANKS DAD GENES FOR GIVING ME HEIGHT.) I actually look identical to my maternal grandmother. When I look at photos of her when she is in her 20s, I see my face. It is so strange, but is comforting, in a way. I know she is family. I know she knows how I feel about my height (an awesome feature, but frustrating when trying to find clothing long enough).

  16. Reply

    Megan @ Robintail

    My Grandmother. Her black and white photos are gorgeous – the 50’s and 60’s. The hair styles were so elegant and her clothing – which she drafted herself – perfection!!! My Mum wore gorgeous attire too – given Gran made and designed lots of it! This has been a great article and something I haven’t thought of before – instead of looking at celebrities, we should be finding the style icons in our own family!

  17. Reply

    julie Wilkins

    Love the post about your mom, and she is a very pretty lady. I have noticed too, as one other commented, how the older we get, the more we become our parents. I always laughed at my mom being really stuck on just a couple of colors, and always made things in those couple of colors. When you looked in her closet, it was just a mix of only a few colors. Now I find more and more I am doing the same thing. When I shop for material, I gravitate right straight for just a couple of colors and invariably come home with some of that. But it after a while, you realize that certain colors are what’s really most attractive against your face, no matter what the newest fad color is for the season. So it works. I also noticed as you did, that my mom found what shapes worked for her, and she stuck to those patterns. It was never a problem for her to find something that would look good on her figure, as virtually everything in her closet was made by her and adjusted to fit exactly her figure. Now, I do the same, after years of trying to wear things that I liked but didn’t look good on me, I have come to realize it’s so much more rewarding to put on what you really feel comfortable and confident going out in. Now I don’t have lots of things in my closet that I pass over any more.

    • Reply


      Isn’t it funny how we become our parents? What’s even funnier is how we despise their taste when we’re younger but then grow to like it and eventually live it when we’re older. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  18. Reply

    Holly Crawford

    LOVE. Your Mom is so beautiful. Thinking of you today.

  19. Reply

    Kenneth D. King

    This is such a sweet post! Though I can’t look like my mom (more like my dad), she had a great deal of style. Think Kim Novak in the film “Vertigo”, with the white-blonde hair in a French twist, and tailored grey suits. She did the white blonde hair to hide the grey–and I do that myself now!

  20. Reply


    I ditto that Jim!! Maddie, I am amazed reading about who you are. You are so deep, introspective & wise beyond your years! I am so proud when I read of a woman, at whatever age, defining who she is & accomplishing what she sets out to do, what pleases, Her, for her life. I am sure your mom is looking upon you & very, very proud!
    You go girl!!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you Cheryl, that made my day. I received a rather negative comment this week, actually two, about my writing style that brought me down. Your words made my mood a little brighter.

  21. Reply


    I used to call that head tripping 🙂 That truly slowed down for me as I got older.

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