Does Your Mother Still Influence Your Fashion Choices?

FlickrA big part of the reason that I'm writing this blog today is because of my mother.

That's because my mother was born to shop.

My earliest memories are of playing in department stores. As I grew older, Mom and I bonded over frequent trips to the mall and lunches at The Zodiac in Neiman Marcus (still one of my favorite restaurants based solely on the nostalgia factor). Mom happily spent hours watching me trying on various outfits and critiquing how they looked. At the end of the day, we'd come home with arms full of shopping bags and a profound sense of well-being. Screw my C in Chemistry or my backstabbing best friend. I was going to look good, and that was all that mattered.

To this day, I feel lost when I'm shopping without her, and often find myself turning in front of a dressing room mirror, imagining what she would say if she could see me.

And to this day, I hear one of her favorite shopping phrases more often than I'd like ...


"What do you think of this dress?" I'd ask her as a teen after spending four minutes trying to zip it up. Sure, it was tight, but I liked to think of myself as a risk taker.

"Well," my mother would say in a tone tinged with vague melancholy. "If that's how you want to present yourself ..."

Those eight words were the kiss of death. Before my eyes, I transformed in the mirror from high-fashion to hooker. My face turned red and I quickly yanked down the zipper. "Well, I like it," I would mutter, but we both knew it was going in the discard pile.

"If that's how you want to present yourself" was my mom's way of saying she hated it, of course, and it always infuriated me to hear her say it, mostly because even if she was wrong, it didn't matter -- whatever I had on was forever after unwearable, tainted with my mom's doubt. Hideous.

To this day, I still hear her words in my head any time I try on something that's a little too tight. A little too low-cut. A little too daring.

"If that's how you want to present yourself ..."

And to this day, I rip the offending piece off in frustration, feeling once again like a 15-year-old.

I'm wondering now if I'm alone, or if your mother's opinions still influence your clothing choices -- whether you want them to or not.

What did your mom say when she didn't like your outfit? And do you still hear that voice in your head from time to time today?


Image via Amy Guth/Flickr


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