Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Style ideas from my parents

I have had a lovely and touching response to my recent blog about my mother, both on Blogger and on Facebook. One thing I didn't mention about her, although I hinted at it with the line "she was different from me in many ways" is that she really wasn't terribly into fashion. Conversely, my father (about whom I wrote last year) was very much a clotheshorse.

Since I have made a career of clothing, I guess I lean toward my father in that way, but both my parents influenced me greatly in my own style. Since I feel I am a bit unusual having parents that were of such a different era, I thought I'd share with you some of the style secrets of the Wilds household, some from my mother, some from my father, some both.

1. Invest in a few good things, rather than many inexpensive things.

2. Emphasize what is best about your appearance even if doing so runs counter to current trends.

Mama always tended to highlight her waist

3. Have some jewelry that matches your eyes.

My mother's sapphire blue ring, made "to match her eyes" by a grateful
man that my grandfather had assisted in finding work

4. Wear classic takes on current trends.

5. Tartans are good.

Papa in a tartan shirt

6. Honor the people who give you clothing or accessories by wearing their gifts when you meet with them.

7. Dresses/skirts are more comfortable and flattering than pants.

Mama with their beloved dog Cappy

8. Find a favorite fragrance and stick with it, likewise lip color. My mother's signatures were Woodhue Cologne by Faberge and Cherries in the Snow lipstick by Revlon. Timeless they are indeed, with both still available (Woodhue reissued at The Vermont Country Store and Cherries at most any drugstore).

9. Learn to take care of things yourself, including cleaning, mending and ironing. Enjoy these tasks as an investment in yourself and your loved ones.

Mama ironing

10. Natural fibers are greatly to be preferred to man-made.

My parents in sweaters

11. To get just what you want, learn to sew (knit, crochet) your own clothing.

My mother's Singer Featherweight machine...one of my most cherished possessions.

12. Get to know fabrics so you can make good decisions about what you like to wear, how to clean the fabric and what it is like to sew. (I can recommend The All About series, All About Wool, All About Silk and All About Cotton. Although pricey, these are an invaluable starting place for understanding basic fabrics. These books include fabric swatches...a huge bonus!)

13. Always have a cleaned and pressed white shirt ready to go.

My father in a perfectly pressed white shirt

14. Wear gloves.

15. Have things altered or tailored to suit you (or learn to do it yourself), don't just accept shoddy fit.

16. "Handsome" clothing can be more flattering to a woman than something ultra-feminine and frilly.

Mama in a trenchcoat

17. Learn interesting ways to tie scarves. (Find some suggestions here.)

18. Even for casual occasions, dress with style.

Papa at a picnic...

...and with my brother at the beach

19. Dress appropriately, but individualistically. Don't be afraid to express yourself.

Papa in white, ca. 1930

20. 2nd hand clothing can be your best bet for quality, style and affordability. (I certainly took that advice to heart!)


Darla: Retro Ways said...

Such a cute post and a great list.

admin said...

This is such a great post--I've been
meaning to comment on it since it was

denisebrain said...

Glad you liked it Kimberly...and Darla.