The summer of 1950 was the first time my mum wore a full-length, white bodysuit.
“It was very chic and looked very modern and sophisticated,” says the 60-year-old, who has written a book on her mum’s style.
“My mum wore them when she came to America to work for the US Olympic team.”
She wore them for the 1976 Games in Mexico City, and later for her Olympic triumph in Tokyo, and says they’ve remained in her wardrobe ever since.
“When I was growing up, she was so obsessed with wearing the same thing for every occasion, it was almost a compulsion.”
My mum’s dress in a 1960s version.
“We were all very different, so I didn’t get to experience much of what it was like to be an older person,” she says.
“And there were so many other things that were so important in my life that weren’t around at that time.”
Now she is keen to return to the style of her youth.
“I think my mum and my dad would have loved the style.
I was just so young and so influenced by it, I didn’s and didn’ts,” she explains.
“So I want to wear something that represents my childhood and my grandmothers, and my grandparents.”
In the 1970s, my mother bought her own wardrobe.
It was made from wool and was made of a fabric that was softer and easier to wear than the polyester that her dad used to use.
“That was the biggest influence on me as a child,” she tells FourFourSeconds.
“The softness of the wool, the simplicity of it, the colour, the texture, the pattern and the shape of the fabric.”
She bought it for her own collection, and then she wore it on a regular basis for the rest of her life.
“She used it all her life, it had to do with everything that she did, and it wasn’t even a fashion item,” she remembers.
In 1978, the fashion industry was starting to shift away from the glamour and fashion of the 1920s.
By that time, the American fashion industry had grown up and had developed a reputation for being more sophisticated, and therefore more affordable.
And in a world where the clothes were going to the mall and being sold for as much as $10,000, there was a strong sense of community that the clothing industry had built.
“That’s why people would wear them for years and years,” says my mum.
“You would see people on the street wearing them.”
And my mum also loves the look of it now.
“They have this wonderful, vintage feel to them, and they’ve got this vintage feel about them,” she recalls.
I want to get a vintage-inspired outfit and show off the way I was dressing back then, but I want it to look timeless, so it’s got to look authentic to the way my mum dressed back then.
When it comes to the clothes, my mum is a classicist, and she loves vintage designs.
“If I have a piece of fabric and I’m wearing it in a picture or on a poster, I’ll go, ‘Oh, I really love that!’,” she jokes.
But it’s not just the vintage feel that she loves.
She also likes to show off her mums style when she is in the market.
“As an older woman, you can get a bit old for her.
So I always have to remind myself that it’s about my style, not about her style.”
She says the most important thing is to look at the person, not the clothes.
“Don’t look at them as a commodity, look at her, look how she dresses.
If you think about it, it’s the clothes that define the style, and that’s why they’re so important.”
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