I remember being 3 and begging to have my toenails painted bright red like my mother’s.
She conceded and I was so happy to have bright red nails like her, that I was careful to not chip it as I ran around and played.
I think I just remember seeing how bold and red her nails were and I wanted so much to be like her.
Grown-up, sophisticated, elegant, well-dressed and beautiful.
Still do, sometimes.
She is so carefree but is very critical of her body now versus what it used to be which makes me a little sad.
For fashion, it clicked when I was 7 I think.
I remember very clearly picking this batwing sky blue sweater out of my mother’s closet, and pairing it with my favourite red cord pants and bright white shoes stained with pink paint from goodness knows what.
I then eagerly went to my mother to beg her to braid my hair in a long plait, and accessorized that with little colourful metal clips.
To top off the entire look, I remember wearing some bright pink mittens.
I went to go show my mother the entire look and she proudly exclaimed something along the lines of:
How creative and pretty you are to pair all of those items together, with such strong bold colour mixing.
On and off, when I would pick things out of his closet to wear and mix with my own things, she would look at me and say fondly out of the blue with no prompting:
How did I ever end up with such a beautiful daughter?
A lot of what she said, still brings up a lot of emotion and nostalgia for me, and I remember every compliment she paid me because it always lifts my spirits up when I am down.
It clicked for me that the way I dressed, mattered to not just me, but others as it seemed to bring them joy or at least a smile.
I think it happened then because my mother was so uninhibited about encouraging me to clash colours, wear wild bold things, old things of hers, and to just be a young, fresh kid with no style rules or any kind of shame in seeing how I dressed.
She was telling me indirectly:
You can wear whatever you want as long as you own it.
…and that’s how I go through life today with my outfits and choices.
Not all of them work, but I’m happy, regardless.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
The entire series can be found here: Women in Clothes Style & Fashion Survey