Why Becoming Your Mom is Not Such a Horrible Thing

I dove into my mother's closet this Thanksgiving break and found out our style overlaps quite a bit. Here, how to adapt her clothes to your taste.
Publish date:
December 3, 2014

As you all know from my DIY Thanksgiving Beauty Treatments story, my family can’t get enough of Black Friday. This year was no different. We decided to skip the ridiculous Thanksgiving Day store openings and commenced our shopping at the more-appropriate midnight start. It’s not called Black Thursday people!

I’m from Richmond, Virginia, and my parents and I hit up all the major spots: the Williamsburg Prime Outlets, Short Pump Mall, a few electronic aisles at HHGregg, Target, and Best Buy for a new smart TV, and even Mattress Discounters to replace their 13-year-old bed.

Honestly, it was a major bust. Besides my parent’s mattress and TV purchase, I spent merely $40 on a few items from H&M and Urban Outfitters. It’s always nice to get new clothes, but I missed out on sleep for nothing. Since I didn’t want to wait in line for the H&M scratch-off discount coupons, there was nothing special about the sales featured. I was better off waiting for Cyber Monday.

After thinking about it though, I was happy to have avoided spending an unnecessary amount of money. Instead, I decided to play editor and re-examine my closet. And then my mom asked me to do the same with hers. We made a day of it, coming to the conclusion that our taste in clothes is actually pretty similar. Not to sound snobby, but I found it strange on so many levels as my mom refuses to keep tabs on the latest trends and designers.

I was excited to finally admire and relate to my mom’s fashion sense. It's beyond the idea of granny panties and an Uggs collection complete with every color fur imaginable (No offense! We all have those days!).

Turning into her may not be my biggest nightmare. Her closet opened my eyes to just how much she embraces her personal style of prints and pastels. Also, in running the Divine Faith Learning Center, her daycare for around 20 kids, she usually sports cozy boots and puffy vests.

Older women are underrated in fashion. The fact is the majority of designers’ clients are women closer to your mom’s age. Sure, your favorite model or celebrity may be strutting the looks, but moms are the ones actually swiping their credit cards. Think about this next time you go shopping with your mother.

Onto the not so daughter-friendly stores that automatically come to mind: New York & Company, The Limited, and Ann Taylor. I used to bolt if my mom tried to drag me into one of these. But now, at 22 years old, they seem like the better options after the junior redundancy at my local mall: Abercrombie, American Eagle, Aeropostale, and Hollister.

The Chico’s collection actually has more sophisticated, quality holiday party alternatives than the borderline teenage looks of LC Lauren Conrad at Kohl’s or Forever 21. For those of you looking to further your future, The Limited and Ann Taylor are my go-to destinations for professional clothing. I’m also currently eyeing a cape jacket at New York & Company -- their outerwear is on point.

I’m not telling you to consistently coordinate matching outfits with your mom. It’s clear that your wants and needs will be different. My mom is running around with kids all day in the suburbs while I’m attempting to tackle New York City at one of the most well-known fashion publications. However, there is still room for overlap. Even though I’m compelled to look at life like a runway, methodically planning every article of clothing for work, I've learned to value the practical elegance that comes with age. We all have to grow up at some point! Check out how I re-created a few of my mom’s go-to looks!

1. Not going to lie, this may not be the best example. My mom actually looks great with the denim alone, but if you have a mom-like conservative, long-sleeved dress weighing you down like this shirtdress from Old Navy, fight fire with fire! I layered a mustard H&M sweater on top. It complements the dress, giving it shape and modernizing the look. I also swapped in my wine-colored heeled booties from Shoe Dazzle. My mom’s Frye boots are great, but you all know I need my heels!

2. Work-out ready doesn’t necessarily mean a messy bun and sweats. Even though this is a practical choice at the daycare for my mom, athletic gear is a lifestyle and has become an acceptable casual choice. With a quick gloss and liner, you should be good to go! Though I’ll most likely be wearing this to the gym, the Adidas leggings paired with a chunky sweater and designer bag could definitely work.

3. Repeat after me, leggings are not pants. Thankfully my mom’s obnoxiously green vest from Old Navy covers all necessary parts. Forget below-the-knee boots and try my pair of thigh highs from Just Fab. The high length balances the proportions of your body and gives the illusion of pants while adding protection from the cold. I finished it off with my mom’s overlooked Michael Kors draped, open-front cardigan from Neiman Marcus.

Not only did I feel great diving into my mom’s closet, I loved how it brought us closer together. Living away from home has really made me appreciate my family so I value every opportunity to reconnect, and I’m beyond thankful that I was able to share one of the biggest aspects of my life with my mom; my personal style.