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Style > Fashion

Generational Style: Shopping Your Mom’s Closet

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Curve fast fashion madness and bond with your mom through this life-changing tip. 

With the recent thrifting craze and revival of 90s trends, it’s no wonder we’re all scouring for sustainable miniskirts and second-hand leather boots. And if you’ve been on Pinterest or TikTok, you’ve definitely seen those classic photos of 90s supermodels- think Alaïa dresses and chestnut lipstick. Well, what if I told you your mom’s closet might just be the solution to your “I have nothing to wear” complaints? 

When thinking of what fashion icon has been most influential to me, my mind immediately goes to my mom. Okay, maybe my mom isn’t equal to the likes of Naomi Campbell or Brigitte Bardot, but still, you get the gist. When I was younger, my mom dressed me in knitted sweater dresses, knee-high boots, and sparkly, sheer tights. The principal of my Kindergarten used to refer to me as the “best-dressed” kid in the school. So, my mom has always been a huge influence when it comes to my sense of style. Even as I grew up, I loved looking at old pictures of her and asking what pieces she rocked in high school.  

It seems I’m not the only one who views their mom this way, since so many celebrity kids have shouted out their mothers for their iconic sense of style. Widely proclaimed “it girl” Lily Rose Depp never misses a chance to credit her mom, Vanessa Paradis, for her fashion choices, stating she would try on Chanel heels in her mom’s closet when she was still in diapers. But trust me, your mom doesn’t need to be a Chanel Ambassador for you to find stylish pieces in her wardrobe. 

Lily Rose Depp– a lifelong Chanel muse

Before I left Vegas for college, I asked my mom if I could borrow a padded coat to beat the Philly rain. Instead, what I found in her closet was better than any thrift store or fast fashion retailer. I sifted through miniskirts galore, ribbed jackets, heeled leather boots- even a Prada coat! What was more fascinating to see is how all these trends from my mom’s youth had revived themselves in 2022. I remember my mom telling me she used to dress in bloomers and tights for school; and soon enough, I saw tons of pictures on Pinterest demonstrating cute ways to wear bloomers. We’ve even seen brands, like Mirror Palais, debut bloomers in their Spring/Summer 2023 collections.  

Model and Photographer, Grace Liu, for Mirror Palais SS23, Photographer: Walter Wolfgang

The best part of raiding your mom’s wardrobe is being able to connect to her through fashion and do so in a sustainable way. Long gone are the days of trekking through malls and fighting with your mom about what’s “in” and “out.” Every trend today seems to be a revitalized version of what our parents were wearing when they were younger. To top it all off, sustainability is a huge factor in shopping right now, so recycling clothes goes a long way. Not everyone has access to their mom’s closet in a similar way that I do, but even small accessories like jewelry, hair clips, and scarves can make a huge statement. Finding the right sizing of clothes is always a challenge, so reworking any fabrics, buttons, or patches from those vintage clothes is also a great idea.  

I find there is a lot of beauty in adorning the same pieces your mother did at your age. In the past, fashion has been a major method of expression- specifically for women- and continues to be a key component of how we view others, as well as ourselves. Being over 2,000 miles away from my city can take a toll on me, but throwing on the same sweater my mom wore when she was also eighteen makes me feel just a little closer to home.  

shopping your mom\'s closet
Original photo by Rylee Mahnesmith

My mom in the early 2000s with a fitted black dress and minimalistic silver jewelry.

Rylee is a Senior Editor at Her Campus Temple University, editing articles for the Opinion section and still writing her own for publication. Prior to this, she was a Staff Writer for the Fashion and Beauty section of Her Campus Temple. Outside of Her Campus, Rylee works as a Peer Mentor for Temple University's Housing and Residential Life, where she assists residents with all things related to academics, mental wellness, student conduct, and social life. Rylee is also the co-President and Editor-In-Chief of Lunar Journal- Temple University's first and only intersectional feminist literary magazine. She is a member of Alpha Alpha Alpha, the national academic honor society, recognizing high achieving first-generation college students. Alongside these endeavors, Rylee is in her second year of completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English under Temple's College of Liberal Arts and Honors College Program. In her free time, Rylee enjoys writing poetry, maladaptive daydreaming, reading romance novels, buying small trinkets, watching episodes of Moomin, visiting her hometown of Las Vegas, and cuddling her orange tabby cat, Couscous.