I used to sit and watch my mum getting ready; she would freshly blow out her hair every morning, pencil her brows, shove on thrift store five quid army trousers, roll up the legs and slide her foot into a clog, a biker boot or a sling back. Mum has effortless grace. She is resourceful and smart in the way she expresses herself, through clothes, interiors, drawing, photography, even food. To her, every medium is a form of artistic expression and her thirst for beauty is infectious. She is the reason I do the job I do now (creative director). She has the ‘eye’ – and then some.
Sometimes I find myself adding a collar to an outfit, a belt over a dress and I’ll think, stop! Strip it back, keep it uniform and purposeful – no mess. "Never over-gild the lily”, she would say. You got sharp tailored pants on? Then you just need a crisp shirt and a swipe of lippy. Let simplicity do the shouting. STEP AWAY FROM THE HEADBAND.
Mum’s resourcefulness is what I love most about her style. She never threw money at fashion, we just didn’t have it, and so we would wander the halls of fashion museums and she’d run home and alter or drag out an old jacket and cut the sleeves off, ta dah! Like magic. She has this ancient pinstripe jacket that I remember her wearing when I was a child, and when DKNY rocked out the look last year, she scoured through the wardrobe, landed on the cheeky pinstripe and voila, with COS slides and slick hair, she was DKNY Spring/Summer 16 Public School debut in one authentic instant.
What did she teach me? To be relevant. So what, you look overdressed – at least you made an effort and arrived with purpose. To be remembered, never be caught off guard, game face, eyebrows on, shoulders back.
So I have my style and my confidence to thank her for. She’s that perfect balance of disarming softness and sharp confidence. Mostly I’m thankful for the day she rocked up to my school wearing a skintight pencil skirt and a vintage rock tee to bollock my teacher for pulling me out and using me as an example of ‘how to not dress’ because I was wearing a long punk pleated version of the school skirt, an army jacket with a painting of an African woman on the back and an enormous spike in my left ear. My mother politely asked them if the school was especially against self expression and creativity? And kindly asked them to turn their attention to the hundreds of clones wearing arse-cheek skimming skirts. Sigh... I’ll never be as cool as you mum.