I happen to be blessed with a very glamorous mother, who comes from a long line of glamorous women. Many times while growing up, as I was getting ready to go out, my mom would say “what about lipstick, dear” or “aren’t you going to add an accessory with that dress?”
Thanks to her tutelage I was trained in the ways of glamour. I watched her apply her make up and style her hair, gaining my own skills as she demonstrated. Though I had an unfortunate period in middle school of trying to look exactly like her, short layered hair and all…
…eventually I grew into my own sense of style which is just that: my own.
I know my experience is not shared by many other women. Training in the art of style is not very common. More often, a mother will impose her own sense of style on her daughter. With the best of intentions of course, yet not recognizing that her daughter is her own person, and needs to discover her own sense of style.
When we consult with clients, often their style choices are just an echo of what they were taught growing up, and what they saw. It doesn’t actually match their personality or work well on their body type. We help them move from styles of the past to reflecting the truth of who they are today, their own unique individuality.
Another common scenario is no training at all. A girl grows up without any idea of how to apply make up, style her hair, or thrive in the art of dressing. She’s left to fend for herself and acquire the skills somehow on her own.
My mother-in-law, Carla grew up on a ranch in a rural farming community. Her mother, a stylish and tidy woman, always took care of the basics. A comb through the hair and fresh application of lipstick each day. Carla adopted this habit which worked fine enough in her younger days. But as she aged, she discovered that more than a quick comb-through and fresh lipstick would be needed to present polished and refined style.
Well beyond midlife, Carla learned how to apply more make up and style her changing hair. Her ongoing education has allowed her to maintain a beautifully stylish and chic look well into her 70’s.
I am grateful to have such a beautiful mother and mother-in-law, not only on the outside but on the inside, most importantly. They taught me that beauty starts on the inside, but can be celebrated and expressed on the outside as well. I learned to celebrate the art of personal style and to relish in beauty.
As personal stylists, we often step into the role that one’s mother may not have been able to, of training and educating our clients –women and men–to present their best image.
Style is truly an art. An art that one must learn to fully enjoy the benefits.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I honor both of my “moms” who have taught me so much. I’ve had training from some of the best!
As you reflect on your upbringing, what was your experience with your mother or primary caregiver? Did you receive training in the art of style? If so did you adopt their style or not? If yes, does it fit who you are today? Or have you had to figure it out on your own?
My favorite line from a John Mayer song says “Girls become lovers who turn into mothers, so mothers be good to your daughters too.”
As a mother myself I am mindful to be good to my daughter and teach her what I know about style, while at the same time not imposing my own style upon her, but letting her discover who she is first and how she wants to look.