Mothers’ style choices often dictated by kids

Whether it's borrowing style from a daughter or catering to a house full, children influence what mothers wear.

New research has revealed that women with daughters tend to be more stylish than mothers of sons; a fact partly due to the style advice their daughters offer as they get older. It seems mothers seldom consult their sons on style advice.

“Women who don’t have daughters may become less interested in style as they grow older but having a daughter, who is conscious of her own style, may keep alive her interest in looking great,” comments psychologist Honey Lancaster-James.

There were both sons and daughters in my house when we grew up. I had never really thought about my Mom’s fashion sense or how she dressed when we were kids, so I closed my eyes and tried to visualize my Mom at home and what she was wearing. The only image that seemed to come to mind was an apron. My Mom always seemed to have an apron on.

Aprons were amazing garments. They held everything from cleaning rags to clothes pins and seemed to be a uniform that signified our Mom was a professional homemaker.

Try as I might, I can’t recall my Mom looking like June Cleaver or Loretta Young, wearing pearls or earrings at the dinner table. I don’t remember her in slacks or shorts either. I don’t think I ever saw my Mom in high heels or running shoes, and now this is starting to bother me because  I must have seen her wearing something.

I do recall, the kids’ clothes always came first. I’m sure that was the same in many homes. She would mend her own clothes so we could have grad suits or grad dresses and we all went back to school in new clothes and shoes every fall. I wonder what she was wearing as we trotted off in shiny blue jeans and button-down collars? I guess I was too absorbed in my own fashion sense to even notice.

In 60 years of dressing for the public eye, the Queen has never put on the wrong dress or the wrong shoes and people would only comment if she was wearing something out of place. Maybe it was the same with Mom. Maybe she just always had on the appropriate clothing for whatever she was doing at the time, so we just accepted it.

If we had come home from school one day and found her in tight blue jeans with a blouse knotted around her waist and scampering around in saddle shoes, we would have taken notice alright and we would have said, “Mom, you are not going out looking like that.”

That’s because she had taught us that if our clothes were clean and covered every inch of our skin, we were ready to go out in the public. She made sure our clothes protected us from the sun and kept us warm and dry in the winter, even if  I did take off my hat with the ear flaps as soon as I got around the corner.

Of course with a family of six, there was always the financial concerns that dictated Mom’s wardrobe. Even medicine for the cow would trump a new pair of shoes for Mom. But we never heard  complaints.

Maybe I can’t remember what she always wore, but the important thing was that she was always there.

Happy Mother’s Day. You mothers have earned your special day of recognition. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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