My mother was the most infuriating kind of woman there is. You know the type of woman I’m talking about: she always looks absolutely impeccable. With each hair in place, minimal make-up, she always manages to look effortlessly elegant in that I-just-threw-something-on kind of way… It used to drive me mad, but it also intrigued me.
Some women seem to have an innate sense of style: they know exactly what suits them and are not tempted by passing trends. And, more importantly, they know how to make quite ordinary clothes look classy and fabulous. The most annoying, and amazing, thing is that they make it all look so easy.
There were no designer clothes, no bag / shoe collections, no fashion spending sprees. My mother had a very small wardrobe and few accessories. I remember her buying a new outfit maybe once or twice a year, then styling it in new ways, again and again, year after year.
She also had a sewing machine, and used it to make the type of clothes she couldn’t find in shops (the 70s evening dresses, hostess dresses etc.)
Oh, and she also knew how to pose. But then again, she used to be a model, for a very brief time in the early 60s… Still, I have never seen even one photograph of her looking anything but perfect. It’s just infuriating… if there is one thing I wish I’d inherited from her it’s that: looking good in photos. And her innate sense of effortless elegance, of course.
|left: late 1960s; right: early 1980s
Her style was always very classic, with a nod to trends. She liked her clothes simple, low-maintenance and comfortable. There was never anything contrived or fussy or try-too-hard about them. It was wash-and-wear clothing that was just as easy and effortlessly elegant as it looked like.
I gravitate towards her style sensibilities, more so as I get older. I find I can learn from her mix of classic and trendy and adapt it into my own, more quirky, style. I don’t know, is effortless elegance something one can learn? All I know is it’s something worth studying, so I hope you look forward to seeing more posts on her style…
Who is your style icon, and how have they influenced your style?
For more posts in this series, go to Style Icon
DEDICATION: in loving memory of Ritva L (1 Jan 1942 – 25 Dec 1996)