Whether we like it or not, much of our style is influenced by our mothers. I know mine is! I find myself turning into my mother in a number of different ways, enough to write at least a hundred other blog posts, but for this one, in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, I want to focus on the thing my mom loved second only to me, style, fashion, clothes, accessories, all…of…it.
My mom, Karen, rocking the mixed prints
My mom’s name was Karen, and she was a total clothes horse. She didn’t get rid of anything. She needed the Kondo method big time, but I loved her for her hoarding ways. She had high rise corduroy pants from the 70’s, long sundresses she made for herself in the early 80’s, and so many pairs of shoes. I loved digging through her closet and trying on all her old clothes.
Apparently, a love for jumpsuits is in my genes
Karen was a matchy-match sort of person. She had a drawer full of slips that she would match to her dress. She ascribed to weird fashion rules, like your shoe shouldn’t be lighter than your hemline, unless you were wearing white sneakers, then it was okay. Karen always wore jewelry, but nothing flashy, and lipstick, but always in a neutral shade. She got her nails done religiously every two weeks. She owned a copy of Dress for Success. She was a redhead and had her colors done once; she was labeled a spring. Karen loved navy, and when she was young, loved a good jumpsuit. Her weekend uniform was jeans, white sneakers, and a striped t-shirt.
In Mexico with all the matchy match navy goodness
We loved going shopping together. It was sport for us, combing the clearance racks for something interesting, closing down the malls. The first math I learned was how to calculate percentage off sales prices.
My love for scarves must be genetic too.
We clashed over clothes too. I went through a number of phases in high school, punk rock, rockabilly, wanting to buy clothes from (gasp) Abercrombie & Fitch. My mom would be the one mom at Hot Topic buying me Mary Jane creepers for Christmas. She was supportive, but only if it fell under her rules, not too sexy, not too many accessories, everything had to match. She held her tongue sometimes, but other times she wouldn’t let me wear something, and we would fight about it, and 50% of the time I would realize she was right. As an adult, I realize she was right more like 90% of the time, but sartorial mistakes are part of growing up and figuring out personal style, and she needed to let me make them.
Karen Liller was never afraid of color.
I’m about to turn 32 at the end of the month. My mom is no longer with me, but I see her in the mirror and in my fashion choices. My personal style is pretty distinct, classic, not too sexy, I like simple shapes and accessories. My weekend uniform is jeans, white sneakers, and a striped t-shirt. I love navy…and black. My husband just asked me why I have so many pairs of shoes. I make my living designing a good jumpsuit. I get my nails done every two weeks.
Everyone who knows me well has seen me make this face
People ask me how I got into fashion, and I always tell them it’s been a huge part of my whole life. It was such a huge part of who Karen was. How could I grow up in that environment and not absorb some of her steez? I can honestly say, I got it from my mama.
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