The Art of Posing


My mother was perhaps the biggest style influence in my life.

I’m sure most women would credit their mothers for having some influence in their sartorial choices, but my mother’s influence on my style goes a bit deeper. You see, my mother was not just a very stylish woman, she was also a very beautiful one. And not only that, she also knew how to pose. I have hundreds of photographs of her, and she looks amazing in every single one of them. Of course, it is possible, even likely, that she simply destroyed the photos that did not meet her expectations…

style quotes

Still, growing up in the shadow of such an elegant creature left its mark: as a clumsy teenager I relied on my wits rather than my looks as a means to impress people, and it took starting this blog for me to feel less awkward in front of the camera. I cannot say that I feel comfortable in front of the camera; after over a year of blogging I still feel extremely self-conscious, but I’m learning. However, my husband usually takes about a hundred or so photos of me for each blog post, and maybe 10% of them are somewhat OK, and I select 3-6 of the best for the blog…

vintage fashion photo

My mother, on the other hand, would simply pose, and look perfect. Every time. I saw it with my own eyes: one photo, maximum 2, and there were never any awkward expressions or odd movements. Just her, quickly arranging herself, looking picture perfect, as if she stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine.

fashion quotes

Of course, she did work as a model, briefly, in the early 60s. Although back then, at least in that small town, ‘modelling’ usually meant local fashion shows and beauty pageants rather than photo shoots… Still, she must have learned a thing or two about presenting herself in the best possible light, so to speak.

But I think it was also something innate; there was something about her that made the camera love her. And she easily overshadowed her twin sister (also a very stylish and beautiful woman, and a part-time model) in every photo of the two of them together. Or maybe that’s just how sibling rivalry manifests itself…

fashion quotes

It was not just that the camera loved my mother; she loved the camera, too. In fact, it was as if she had a sudden personality change when she stepped in front of the camera: she was confident, radiant, assertive. She was none of those things in ‘real life’. She belittled her own career (a business owner and a hairdresser) and suffered from low self-esteem. Yet, I’ve never seen anyone more confident and sure of herself when there was a camera in the room. Or when it came to putting together an (effortlessly chic) outfit, and she did that without a single designer piece in sight…

vintage fashion

I thought putting her old modelling shots together with some of my favourite style quotes would be a fitting tribute to this amazing woman whose style I seem to emulate more and more the older I get. I can see her influence in my own way of putting together outfits using the basics and a limited range of shapes and colours. I only wish I would have inherited some of her ability to feel at ease in front of the camera, too…

Who’s your style icon?


PHOTO CREDITS: All photos from my mother’s photo album, early 1960s

For more posts on my mother’s style, go to Style Icon

Linking up with:

Not Dead YetElegantly Dressed and StylishGaray TreasuresHigh Latitude StyleSydney Fashion HunterThe Pleated PoppyStyle ElixirGet Your Pretty OnHappiness at Mid-LifeA Labour of LifeDoused in PinkCurly Crafty MomFashion Should Be FunRachel the HatSincerely Jenna MarieMore Pieces of MeColor and GraceNot Dressed As Lamb


  1. The Stylopedia
    11 September 2015 / 6:59 am

    What a lovely post with beautiful photos. Your mother is a master of posing! I also find posing awkward, as a means to an end, rather than something I enjoy. My grandmother was/is VERY stylish; she's the one who launched my love of style.

    • Tiina L
      12 September 2015 / 11:05 am

      Thanks! Yes, my mother was a master of posing, she always looked perfect in photos. And she was very stylish, but in a very casual, easy-going way, and I can see her influence in my own sense of style.

  2. Patti
    11 September 2015 / 12:31 pm

    What a wonderful post – your mother (and you) are indeed graceful women. xo

    • Tiina L
      12 September 2015 / 11:05 am

      Thank you, Patti, that is so sweet of you to say that.

  3. Petite Silver Vixen
    11 September 2015 / 1:13 pm

    A heart-warming celebration of your Mum. She really does have the pose down to a tee! She looks very un-self concious in front of the camera. And I completely understand about taking 100s of photos to only then use about 6 and often thinking those 6 aren't that good! As to style icons… um… I'm not sure I have any as such. I draw from many different sources. I do now know where my love of print and colour comes from – my own Mum. When we were re-organising her wardrobe together a few months ago I realised how much print and colour she had and I thought – yup, I am my mother's daughter and I was definitely proud of that!

    • Tiina L
      12 September 2015 / 11:10 am

      Thanks. And these photos were all taken when she was an unexperienced model in her early 20s… She looked amazing and much younger than her age in her 40s and 50s, too… It's great that we can be influenced by the amazingly stylish women in our families, sort of benefit from their skill and experience., don't you think?

  4. Shybiker
    11 September 2015 / 1:30 pm

    Wow! Your mother was a beauty. And poses… I can't tell you how closely I've studied this subject and how deeply I care about it. As a child, I was forced to adopt male postures and movements, against my will. Now that I have a modicum of freedom, I'm trying to learn feminine poses, especially for my blog photos. It's very hard. What feels natural to cis-gals like you is artificial and contorted to me. But I keep struggling with it.

    • Tiina L
      12 September 2015 / 11:13 am

      Yep, to this day the first thing anyone who knew her says is 'she was very beautiful' (the second thing is 'and so stylish')… Trust me, it wasn't always easy being a skinny teenager with a crazy hair and a mother who looked like a supermodel…

  5. Suzanne Carillo
    11 September 2015 / 2:13 pm

    What fun photos to have of your mother. I wish I had more photos of my Mom when she was young She was so beautiful. I don't really have a style icon although I do find that Marilyn Monroe's style is timeless and suits my body type. bisousSuzanne

    • Tiina L
      12 September 2015 / 11:17 am

      I think these are some sort of test photos, from when she was a model. I have a few of these, and some newspaper clippings of beauty pageants. Yes, Marilyn's style is timeless. Although I've always been partial to Audrey. In spite of being shaped more like Marilyn…

  6. Marea Dotz
    11 September 2015 / 3:29 pm

    My mother influenced me, too, and still does. I spent the last two weeks with her in a rehab in Kansas City. She is 92 and not doing so well, but she sent me on a mission: To buy her some colorful button-down shirts. It cheered both her and me up. During the 60's, she was a Jackie Kennedy-Onassis Twin, wearing short shifts and matching pillbox hats. Your post is a wonderful, warmly felt tribute to your mother. We are both lucky.

    • Tiina L
      12 September 2015 / 11:18 am

      What a wonderful story! And it gives us such a positive outlook on future: once a stylish woman, always a stylish woman…

  7. No Fear of Fashion
    11 September 2015 / 5:29 pm

    Yes some people are so photogenic. I have friends who are the same. I think it is a combination of having a face and limbs according to the golden ratio and something unidentifiable.I have learned how to pose a lot better through blogging. And I don't get nervous anymore when a camera is pointed at me. Quite the contrary. Mind you, I am blogging nearly three years now. As for the number of photos you need… oh yes, I need a hundred or so too for a blogpost.Greetje

    • Tiina L
      12 September 2015 / 11:21 am

      Oh yes, some people are photogenic!! It is so annoying… I have tons of photos of me and my mother, her looking perfect as always, and me with a funny face or hair in my mouth or stumbling over my feet…

  8. Carrie
    12 September 2015 / 1:28 pm

    Your mother was beautiful! She really did know how to pose in front of the camera. I always feel I am doing the same poses and I am terrible at the looking away, serious or thinking to myself poses! I need to work on those more…

    • Tiina L
      13 September 2015 / 3:29 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I always I'm doing the same poses, too, but if it works…

  9. Connie
    14 September 2015 / 12:16 am

    You truly are very good at posing. I've always noticed that. So I see you learned from your mother. I hate having my photo taken. For my blog I usually take about 3 or 4 photos and then get so fed up that I just choose one or two and that's the end of it. I take this as a poise and patience lesson from beautiful you and your pretty mom. My style icon? I don't have one. Maybe that's part of my problem.

    • Tiina L
      14 September 2015 / 11:30 am

      Thanks, Connie. But I'm not good, not really. We just take a huge number of photos (over a hundred), so some of them are bound to be somewhat decent…

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