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).