Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mom’s Day & a Bit of Throwback, I Think?

Over the years, I never thought that my mom and I shared a “sense of style.” We seemed to always agree on the clothes that I designed and she made throughout my early years – but I never attached that to us having the same overall style. A little aside – there was one major altercation over a bikini I wanted and she refused to make! I made it myself. Although, as my much older and wiser self, looking back, it was pretty damn small for the 60s! But I was hell-bent to wear it!) 

This different style thinking must have been founded in the way she dressed in the 60s and later – nothing outstanding; but always exquisitely tailored and crafted and designed around her body shape and size. Once or twice a year, she and I would make a special day of it and go shopping in Pasadena. We always went to the same dress shop named Helen’s on Lake Avenue (I think that was the name) where she would try on a few beautiful suits and treat herself to one. On Pasadena days we strolled the sidewalks and window shopped the other small stores and then enjoyed a swish lunch at some local restaurant. I remember those times well, as it was one of the few times we shopped for finished clothing – the majority of our shopping outings were for fabric! Other than those suits and underpinnings, if my recollection is right, all of her clothes were self-made.

When I discovered these old pix taken in the 40s, it hit me that I am definitely influenced by her “younger woman” sense of style. Taken in the early 1940s in SoCal where she was born and raised, I see a side of my mom that I didn’t know existed – happy young woman with style, not flashy or flirty, but great style. No jewelry and no makeup. During those younger days, she was already making all of her clothes. If timing is correct, these might be the years that prefaced her stint as sample girl for her cousin and my roundabout aunt, Jeanne DuRain, a fashion designer who is most well known in vintage circles for her mother-daughter designs that came out of her Los Angeles studio. Looking back, I love that my mom set her personal style during those early years – with very little money yet making it work. I am so proud of all she accomplished in what were some very complicating times.

So, on this Mom’s Day, even though she is no longer here, her gifts to me linger. I am so very grateful for those gifts; and, with these recently discovered treasures, I can happily add style as one of them. My mom was a strong and determined woman who held a remarkable amount of love in her heart. She was and will always be loved.