Try as I might I couldn't find the photograph in the many family photo albums my mother keeps. In it she's standing next to a shinny Valiant -- she says it was red -- she is wearing what looks like a lovely Chanel ensemble. It's not Chanel. She says she picked it up at a second hand charity shop and had had it tailored. That's my first memory of style. A black and white photograph of my mother -- in her early 20s -- leaning on a beautiful car and beaming lovingly at the photographer, my father.
My style icon, a woman who could pull off androgynous looks before they were a thing the same woman who's mostly kept the same hair for as long as I have known her; a short afro. My mother's style speaks of three things: elegance, comfort and is a little daring.
I had the most stylish dolls on the block. My mother and I would spend afternoons after school sewing tiny pants and tiny jackets for my dolls. While most of my friends were concerned with combing their dolls' long hair, mine had cropped bobs. My mum always says:
DRESS FOR THE OCCASSION:
This always means two things: dress for the place/event you are going to and reflect how you feel about it. What some might call over-dressed is usually our way of showing our enthusiasm.
Most fashion activists, style icons and design legends have also called this knowing what you want to say. I've found that what I want to say with my clothes is constantly changing as I grow. I'm not always moved by trends or feel obligated to join in. Just because Vogue says it's the bomb that doesn't make a ridiculous trend any less ridiculous.But if I'm feeling ridiculous, then that trend was made for me.
ALWAYS BRING SOMETHING INTO FASHION
That's how clothes morph from fashion, to style. She's also taught me that it's the woman in the dress and never the dress. Think of those features on celebrity gossip magazines and pop culture in general "Who Wore it Better?"
A price tag does not make you stylish. More than anything, style is a journey of self discovery. Yesterday As I lay on my stomach on my parent's Sealy bed as my mother and I browsed album after album she cringed more than once at her style choices, which I found just fabulous and brave and of course, vintage.
So to my style icon, best friend and most importantly mother, I want to say Happy Mother's Day.
Cheers to the weekend!