My Mother Was My Personal Stylist and It Wasn't Terrible

Defining my personal style is something that is important to me. Some people can argue that an interest in fashion is superficial, but I view it more as an art of expression and individuality. I take my personal style very seriously and have a sort of “fashion code” that I live by. Some examples of my rules are as follows:

  1. I rarely, if ever, wear jeans.
  2. Bright colors and patterns are my friends.
  3. Sparkle and glitter go with any ensemble.
  4. The bigger the earrings the better.
  5. You can never have too many accessories.
  6. Shoes can make or break an outfit.

With all of my “fashion musts,” I am very hesitant to relinquish control over my clothes. However, after reading several Buzzfeed features about parents acting as stylists for their children, I thought that this challenge may be the perfect way to experience what it is like to give up control. So, with trepidation, I let my mother be my stylist over winter break!

Now a word about my mother: when it comes to fashion we are complete opposites. She tends to dress in neutral colors (think black, navy, and brown). She prefers wearing pants over dresses, and goes for simple, understated jewelry. As a teacher, she prefers comfortable footwear to the trendy (and sometimes painful) shoes I adore.

For this challenge we established some rules:

  1. She picked out all components of my outfits: clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, but could not alter my hair and makeup.
  2. I had to wear what she picked out with no complaints.
  3. I could not give her help or influence her in any way, shape, or form (although she asked me for my input many times!)
  4. After picking each outfit, she would provide me with a rationale about why she picked it out and at the end of the day, I would give my feedback and rate the outfit

Here we go:

Day 1:

Outing: Running errands before Christmas

Her Rationale: “I like the color and the material. It’s also something you haven’t worn before.”

My feelings: I liked this selection. It had enough of my signature sparkle, while easing me into trends my mother likes, like turtlenecks and neutral colors. I will say that as the challenge progressed, I liked this outfit less than I did at the start.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Day 2:

Outing: Holiday celebration with family

Her Rationale: “The print looks sort of holiday-like, and I know that this is as festive as you will dress. It also looks warm and comfortable for a day of travel.”

My feelings: I liked this one. I thought it was a good mix of dressy for a family dinner, but also casual for car travel. I thought she did a good job of combining colors (pink scarf and green shoes) that were reflected in the pattern. I felt comfortable, as this felt like a toned down version of what I would usually wear.

Overall rating: 4/5

Day 3

Outing: Volunteering in an elementary school followed by dinner with friends

Her rationale: “This looks very professional for working in the classroom, but it also looks like something you would wear if you went out. The wool sweater and skirt will also keep you warm.”

My feelings: This one did keep me warm on a day when the high temperature was about 20°. I liked the colors and even though they were more muted than what I typically wear, I thought they worked. She actually styled this differently than I do (I typically wear a navy sweater as opposed to a gray sweater), and I liked her way better.

Overall rating: 5/5 (not just my opinion, but also the opinions of people I saw throughout the day! Good job, mother!!!)

Day 4:

Outing: Another day of volunteering in an elementary school followed by dinner with friends

Her rationale: “I like this color on you.”

My feelings: While I liked this one, it was not my favorite. I liked that she took a fashion risk by adding a scarf to mix prints. Something about the outfit just felt off though. Maybe it was that Day 3’s outfit was so good, nothing could top it!

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Day 5:

Outing: Shopping and visiting my grandmother

Her rationale: “I think you need to learn to dress more casually. This is a good stepping stone.”

My feelings: While I prefer dresses, this outfit was actually pretty good. At least she didn’t try to make me wear jeans. This outfit was great for a rainy day and I felt very “urban chic” with my coat and booties. This was comfortable for a day with a fair amount of time spent both in the car and walking around stores. Again, I enjoyed how she picked small colors in the print of the tunic, and accented them with carefully chosen accessories. This outfit actually became one of my favorites.

Overall rating: 5/5

Final Thoughts: Relinquishing control of my personal style was not as bad as I thought it would be. I think my mother did a good job of mixing up my style, while still leaving elements that I like in the selected clothes. While I wouldn’t do this all the time, I would be open to having my mother act as my stylist in the future.