Many of today’s trends are throwbacks to the times when our mothers were growing up so why not go shopping in the most unlikely of places … your mother’s closet!
Fortunately for me, and perhaps my wallet as well, my mother used to be a fashion designer. She is also, pardon the pun, a “closet” hoarder… while she hasn’t been buried alive yet, if she keeps up it, ohhh boy, we are going to have problems in my house. Over the years, my mother has stowed away an insane amount of her favorite pieces/random things from her wardrobe (a trait she picked up from my grandmother who is also a secret hoarder and the next stop on my closet shopping tour). I, being the nosy, loving, daughter, have a favorite past time of looking through her clothes from yesteryear (items which are distributed throughout not only my house, but my grandmother’s as well) and appropriating to myself her old things which, now are amazing vintage pieces.
When I was younger, my mom used to show me all of her favorite possessions, which included items with crazy prints, weird shapes, matching sets, and, yikes, SHOULDER PADS (one trend I will never understand or like). Not the savvy vintage shopper when I was young, I shunned these pieces, questioning my mother’s fashion sense for having ever worn these items in the first place. Now. however, I see her closet as fertile buying opportunity, a place where I can add to my collection items that offer a unique take on today’s trends. The best part is that they are available to me alone (and perhaps the few people who kept them from years ago). What I realized was that today, in order to create looks which are wearable and trendy, you need to look past what is on the hanger and update your looks through tailoring, customizing, and styling.
I know not everyone has a mother who likes to hoard her most favorite designs and clothing purchases, even those that she wore years ago. Still, why not take a shot at shopping in your mother’s closet? While you may come up zeroes, there is a chance you will be able to match today’s trends without putting a serious crimp on your bank account!!
Check below for some tips on how to shop in your mom’s closet and also check out my Spring/Summer 2011 finds in Gracielas’s (my mom’s) closet!
1. Look past shoulder pads! They can be removed if you aren’t a fan of them.
Brights: When I first saw this silk tee, I was overwhelmed by its color, its oversized look and (there we go again) its shoulder pads. After removing the shoulder pads and pairing them with a cute belt and jeans, I created an adorable bright spring/summer look!
Lady-like lace: This adorable lace insert blouse originally had shoulder pads and was supposed to be worn as a high-neckline with the buttons down the back. One thing I hate almost as much as shoulder pads are high-necklines! In order to create a more modern feel and a look I would actually feel comfortable in, I wore the blouse with the buttons down the front and I removed the shoulder pads.
2 Always mix and match! My mom had a lot of outfits that consisted of a matching top and bottom. Update this look by keeping these two items as far away from each other as possible. Instead of wearing together, wear them one at a time with more updated pieces.
Denim on Denim: While denim on denim is trendy this Spring/Summer, this denim blouse and denim midi-wrap skirt are way too much together. In order to create a stylish denim on denim look, make sure your denim on top and bottom are two different shades like this updated look I created!
3. Customize and make it your own! If these items have been stuffed in your mom’s closet for the last decade chances are she won’t mind if you alter them to fit you better. In addition to altering the fit, making small customized changes such as changing the buttons or getting rid of a collar can update the look.
Polka Dots: The appliquéd white collar and cuffs made this red polka dot dress look like it was from Minnie Mouse’s closet rather than my mothers. To tone down the look and update it, I got rid of both the collar and the cuffs.
4 Mix the old with the new! Create an updated look with your mom’s vintage items by pairing the old items with new one’s from your own wardrobe.
White Out: These white lace bloomers/romper were my mother’s final project for one of her design classes in fashion design school. She paired the romper with a ridiculous long white flowy midi-skirt and a bright ribbon belt. To update the look, I paired the romper with this white skirt for a trendy white and lacey Spring/Summer look!
5 Classic pieces always remain classics. Simple classic pieces will remain stylish no matter what decade you are wearing them in.
Oversized Blazer: This navy linen blazer is a classic piece that I am sure my mom got a lot of use out of. You can easily dress this blazer up and down. Pair it with a dress and heels for going out at night or jeans and a t-shirt for a more casual day look.
In case you can’t find these trends in your Mom’s closet check the links below to buy items inspired by my mother’s closet!
Madewell Perfect Chambray Shirt, $68
Polka Dot Dress:
Topshop Spotted Scallop Collar Dress, $66
White Lace Romper:
Kimchi Blue Lace Romper, $59
Aqua Linen Blazer, $88
Splendid Linen Maxi Skirt, $114
– SARA STERNBERG