Wednesday, 29 June 2016

love our style*

I was listening to a Thinking Allowed podcast the other day, and they were talking about  a recent paper entitled 'Shop With Mother' by Katherine Appleford of Kingston university, all about how mothers transmit their attitudes to clothes to their daughters.  There's lots of stuff in there about class (apparently working class people are more 'on trend' than middle class people... and more willing to be seen in sportswear when not actually doing sport).

Not sure what I love most - the Burns
quote or the stompy boots...
It made me think about my Mum, a chiropodist from a Happy Family of chiropodists - her brother, and her mum had both tended to feet for a living (her dad was a nurse). She had a horror of my damaging my feet with high heels and pointy shoes. 

I rebelled once. 

She looked at the offending shoes and said, witheringly, "and you, the chiropodist's daughter", which had a distinct whiff of 'no better than she ought to be'. 

I didn't wear them again.

I don't like high heels now. Now, when I'm old enough to make my own decisions. I think they look silly, and sore. 

My girls are just little, but they have been given play clip-clop shoes (not from me), and loved parading about in them. 

I hated the fact that they were hobbling themselves. I want my girls to be running around and having fun (this may be why the shoes have mysteriously disappeared).
When my children are older, I want them to be out there, grabbing life by the scruff of its neck.  Not crippled wallflowers, waiting to be asked to dance. The shoe thing seems to be transmitting down, with the kids commenting on how Barbie needs some better shoes so she can run about, although I suspect Miss 8 will have a collection of heels (to go with her awesome dresses and swishy hair) when she's older. Perhaps she's taking after my gorgous little sister, who loves a high heel.

My Mum was also of the opinion, when I was a teen, that while it was OK to make a scarf into an incredibly short skirt, and wear it, said skirt should be worn with an underskirt if see-through.  

Clearly, I didn't let that worry me. I thought an underskirt would look silly, so I just tried to ensure my tights didn't have holes in... If only leggings had been invented back then! 

But I didn't only wear inappropriate short skirts. I also raided my mother's wardrobe. She made her own fabulous clothes (see below) and I'd have been mad not to. My Dad tells me that she made herself a more psychedlic skirt, and him a matching jacket in 1967, and when he was DJing at UMIST it flouresced under the UV lights. 

So I adopted my Mum's hippy look (as well as Goth/Cloggy/Grebo/Rocker looks - why stick with one?).

My Mum, in Salt Lake City in 1967. Picture from my Dad. Mum had also made a matching jacket.

Me, and my friend, Nathan, at Glastonbury in 1994.
I'm wearing a jumper my Mum knitted (for herself) from a Kaffe Fassett pattern in 1982, a charity shop hippy skirt, and purple docs (flat heels).
So now I'm a Mum, what ideas am I passing on/inflicting on my girls (apart from the heels thing)?  

Well, I don't like pink, or Disney princesses (the old ones anyway), or leggings worn as trousers.  

I have been over-ruled on all of the above and have given up moaning about it. Besides which, the kids rock pink.

I don't like too-short skirts, or things that say 'princess' or 'cute'.  

Neither do they.

I also don't believe in buying uneccesary things, and my girls are lucky enough to have a big cousin who passes clothes down to them, so the pool they are choosing from (and their clothes are their choice at the end beginning of the day) is not entirely of my own making. That said there's some  beautiful things they won't wear, and so very many pairs of leggings worn as trousers. 

Miss 8 loves classic styles, and a bit of tailoring, and has a little bit of Goth in her from time to time.  The girl can put together an outfit.  She also REALLY loves her boots.

Miss 5 loves a bit of quirky style, she's the one who insisted on mismatched wellies for about a year.

And the boy? He's getting his own sense of style, and it's becoming more important to him. He likes a lot of black, dislikes shorts, and loves a hat. The boy is incredibly cool. 

I like it that the kids won't just wear what I want them to wear. That they can sometimes choose to be my little darklings, but also be bright and glorious. They like it when I'm quirky too, because everyone needs to have something about them, right?

Soon my tall daughter will overtake her cousin and she'll need to get more things first hand (or from charity shops, which we love). Whatever she chooses, it won't be what her little sister wants handed down!

What about you?  Did your Mum offer any sartorial advice?  Can you see your Mum's influence in what you wear?  How are you influencing your children? 

*this is a reworking of a post originally published in June 2013

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