Fashion Mantras for Moms
Ever grabbed a designer dress out of your mom’s closet? Tossed on one of her cashmere sweaters? Or borrowed a treasured Chanel handbag? Chances are many of us do occasionally share in some of our mother’s more stylish moments, but the reality of it is that more often than not, we each have our own sense of fashion that is very different than the older generation. Remember those days of matching “mother-daughter” dresses? Yes, we were too young to protest!
But as today’s fashion rules blur more and more, the distinction between the ways moms and daughters dress also can get a little hazy. And that’s a good thing. Nobody wants to look “old” no matter what our age. However, there are still some fashion mistakes that many moms make. Here are just a few “mom mantras” to keep in mind when you get dressed every morning (and even if you’re not a mom…):
—You don’t have to have a perfect body. Forget the photos of the models in your favorite magazine. And you might as well forget the size you were 20 years ago. Dress for the body you have now. Chances are your daughter’s jeans will not fit you, and if they do, great. Don’t even think about baring it all in her bikini top and denim mini. The same goes for her super-tight T-shirts or super-high sandals. We’ve all learned a few things about comfort by now. Remember the key is to know what looks best on your unique shape and use that to your advantage.
—It’s not about the budget. Let’s hope you know by now that money can’t buy style. Instead, it’s more about how you put together your clothes than what you paid for them. And there are plenty of stores and websites now that offer less expensive alternatives to designer prices. Combining “high-end” pieces with budget buys is a great way to make your wardrobe go further and is a very modern way to dress.
—Keep up with the trends. No, you don’t have to embrace neon-cropped tops or feathered mini skirts to keep up with the latest looks. But it is important to give your wardrobe some fresh touches. It’s easy to do without going overboard. Take some cues from the young people around you — buy a pair of brightly colored pants to wear with your traditional cardigan sweaters and tank tops; indulge in floral prints by donning a maxi dress for your next pool party. Colorful accessories are great ways to bring some youthful style into your life.
—Don’t get stuck in a time warp. (See above!) If you’ve worn your hair the same way you did in high school, it’s time to update. Ditto for makeup. There are plenty of beauty experts available to help steer you into a new you. A new shade of nail polish can do wonders.
—Remember there are some new rules. No, your shoes and handbags do not have to match anymore. You can wear white anytime of year. Pantyhose are an option, not a must. But please don’t wear them with open-toe shoes. Mixing two or even three different prints is also chic. So is mixing colors that clash. And you can wear black to a wedding.
—And then there are the fashion faux pas that are true for moms and their daughters: wet, see-through clothes, too short shorts, orange fake tans and all things visible: thongs, lip liner, panty lines. And oh, yes, don’t forget Moms, the muffin tops and the “mom” jeans, of course.
Image: This season, the brightly-colored pants and jeans like these from Banana Republic’s “Mad Men” collection are easily incorporated into a stylish wardrobe for both Moms and their daughters. (www.bananarepublic.com)
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.