POPSUGAR Celebrity

Mom Genes: What Our Mothers Taught Us About Style

May 10 2015 - 6:30am

If there's one thing our moms have taught us — besides the importance of eating our vegetables, saying "please," and sitting up straight — it's how to find our own sense of style. From birth, these ladies have been there for our most fashionable highs and our lowest sartorial lows. From dressing us up in adorably girlie dresses to consoling us through those awkward phases in middle school, behind every chic woman, there's a chic mom.

With Mother's Day [1] coming up, it's time to take a stroll down memory lane alongside those stylish moms. With personal family snaps from real women across the nation, we present an epic roundup of the fashionable wisdom they've imparted over the years. Paving the way for us in rad '70s wares, shoulder pads, and bikini tops, just keep reading to get in on the Mother's Day love [2].

"This photo of my mom and sister exemplifies her golden California style. Even kicking back around the house in jeans, a white tee, and hair up can be chic — just don't forget to complete the look with a simple gold necklace!"

Kelly Schwarze

"This photo of my mom and me is one of my favorites. I love her big sunglasses and stylish one-piece. When I was little, my sister and I used to tease my mom for wearing those big sunglasses. We called them 'bug eyes'— kids can be so mean! But now my sunglasses are even bigger than hers. It just goes to show, you shouldn't listen to other people's opinions when it come to style. You should embrace your own."

Stephanie Wong 

"I think the best style advice my mom taught me was to invest in timeless pieces and don't be afraid to accessorize like crazy!"

Emily Bibb

"Early on my mom imparted her belief that sticking to classic styles that flatter your body — rather than trends that you may regret — will always serve you well. Take a peek in both of our closets and you can see it's a philosophy we both follow!"

Rebecca Gruber

"When in doubt, wear a slip, and avoid Spanx [3] at all costs."

Nancy Einhart 

"My mom has always had a love affair with jewelry, and she taught me, from a very young age, to accessorize with abandon. Because of her – and by the looks of this picture, my dad, too – I can be fully dressed and feel naked if I don't have on a chunky bracelet, a smattering of chain necklaces, or a pair of dangly earrings."

Kate Schweitzer

"My mom (pictured at left with my grandmother) is the champion of my confidence above all else. From her, I learned that it's not about the dress — it's about the woman in the dress. If you've got the confidence, your outfit is a great complement. If you don't, it hardly matters what you're wearing. Above all, always stay true to yourself — in fashion and in life."

Hannah Weil McKinley

"'Red's your color.' My takeaway is that you should figure out what works for you and stick with it!"

Annie Gabillet

"We Miller ladies have nothing against dressing down – come see us at Sunday brunch, and you'll know what I mean – but my mom instilled in me the desire to 'dress for the occasion.' To this day, I prefer skirts to pants, flinch at the idea of wearing jeans to a formal restaurant, and a trip to a Broadway show calls for a special-occasion outfit."

Randy Miller

"My mom has always been about wearing what you're comfortable in – and wearing comfy shoes you can walk in. And if you find something that's fun and makes you happy, you should wear it for you — it doesn't matter what other people think."

Tara Block

"The most valuable fashion advice that my mom gave me was to never be afraid to express my individual style. She let me dress myself from a young age and supported even my most outrageous fashion phases — JNCO jeans, Birkenstock [4] clogs, velvet overalls . . . Once she let my sister wear a tutu with red cowboy boots to preschool. Now some of my closet's most treasured pieces are from her old wardrobe — as I type this, I'm wearing a shirt she wore all throughout her 20s!"

Grace Hitchcock

"My mom's best style advice is to be thoughtful of the pieces of clothing you keep – you never know what will come back in style . . . and they almost always do. Thankfully, my mom has followed her own advice, and I've been lucky enough to score a few vintage accessories and clothing items from her over the years."

Melissa Pinpin

"Save your pennies, and invest in good bag and quality jewelry because it can dress up just about any outfit. And, her collection of purses and jewelry totally reflects this!"

Michele Foley

"My mom told me to always invest in the basics — a good Burberry [5] trench, a great pair of heels, and a classic white button-up."

Allison McNamara

"My mom's style has always been about comfort and resourcefulness with a dash of glamour, and while I'm more about the comfort side of things during the day, I still try to bring out the glamour and elegance I remember from her '80s dinner-party years when I go out at night. Sequins and drapey fabrics are still always a yes for me — just maybe without those sky-high shoulder pads!"

Leta Shy

"My mom grew up making a lot of her own clothes, so she can always spot something that isn't well-made. One shopping rule that has stuck with me over the years: never buy in item if it doesn't line up at the seams."

Stacy Hersher

"My mom taught me how special handmade clothing can be. My grandmother sewed all of my mother's clothes — including her prom and wedding [6] dresses, and although I am only a novice, it's inspired me to sew. My mom's crocheted bikini, seen here, was also a handmade item that she still has and my sister has worn — because handmade stuff holds up!"

Shannon Vestal

"My mom has always taught me that the way you dress can directly affect your mood. She used to come straight from work to my basketball games in high school all dressed up in the chicest outfits. My friends changed the words to the song 'Stacy’s Mom' to 'Caitlin’s Mom' because they joked that she was more stylish than me and 'had it goin' on.' She always puts so much thought into the way she dresses and it shines through in her confidence."

Caitlin Hacker

"The wisest thing my mom's ever passed along in relation to fashion is the notion that we're only getting older. Your 50-year-old self would chide 20-something you for skipping the chance to wear that cropped tee or cute floral miniskirt. More likely than not, your thighs are never going to be thinner, your waist smaller, or your arms quite as toned as when you're in the first few decades of your life. Bottom line: stop lamenting the most minor of flaws and start having fun with your clothes. That Summer piece you're just not quite sure about? Wear it! The future you is already applauding."

Leah Melby

"My mom has always been one to choose quality over quantity. Of course, being the fast fashion, trend-loving college student I was back in the day, I simply ignored her. As I've gotten older, her sound advice is ringing truer than ever: buying less and investing in better pieces have become my new style mantra."

Chi Diem Chau

"My mom taught me about color, and I know when to use it and when not to."

Lisa Sugar

"My great-grandmother Mary (pictured left) wore a skirt every day of her life! To her, skirts – especially when paired with coordinating jackets – were part of her signature look. 'Dress for your body type, and you'll always feel your best,' she'd say. For her, that meant skirts in every color, fabric, and style. My grandmother Joan (pictured right) taught me you're never fully dressed without a few killer accessories . . . or five. While her sky-high heels are a thing of the past, you can still spot this amazing 90-year-old lady clad in a stylish scarf, chic pin, and her go-to rosy-red lipstick."

Jaime Richards

"Mom's been setting a sartorial example since before I was born, and I especially love her fun outfits from the '70s. The biggest style lesson she's taught me is a quote via Yves Saint Laurent [7]: 'Fashions fade, style is eternal.'"

Lisette Mejia

"To this day, my mom always emphasizes the importance of buying timeless pieces that complement your body type. It took me a while to heed her advice, but now that I'm older, I realize the items that survive every spring cleaning purge are classic colors and cuts. Those are the clothes I always feel my best in!" 

Jenna Gill

"My mom has taught me a number of valuable fashion lessons over the years, but there are two that really stand out. One: always be true to yourself and never be afraid of going against the sartorial grain. Two: if you love something, buy it in every color — our matching rompers could imply every size, too."

Mandi Villa

"My mom is the epitome of California cool, as you can see from this 1990s throwback. Fads may come and go, but if there's one thing she's taught me it's that simplicity goes far — oh, and killer shades don't hurt, either."

Molly McGlynn

"My mother did not necessarily give me any fashion tips, but she has always been wise when it comes to shopping. First, always hit up the clearance and sale sections first. Second, invest in a good pair of jeans. It is hard to find a pair that fits you perfectly, so when you find one, you better get it!"

Leah Rocketto

"'You could make that for a lot less money!' My mom taught me to sew as soon as I was big enough to sit behind the sewing machine, and she still bemoans how expensive things are. I'm pretty sure the dress in the picture was at least customized if not entirely handmade, and she even made her own wedding [8] dress. I'm not as dedicated as she was at my age, but I do try to sew when I can. She also taught me never to pay full price for anything if I can help it, and to always, always make an effort when it comes to a costume . . . but never buy anything if you can DIY [9], of course."

Gemma Cartwright

"My nana believes the best accessory you'll ever have is your smile . . . So you better take really good care of your teeth!"

Emily Bibb

"Wear whatever makes you feel inspired that day."

Mayra Pacheco

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