In the past, when I’ve thought about some of my style influences, women, like: Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Lauren London and Rihanna, immediately cross my mind. Each of these women have a great sense of style, and I’d love to raid their closets on any given day! But, recently, I started to assess my personal style and values and ask myself a few questions:
“In my life, who has influenced my personal style and eye for fashion?” “Why do certain clothing styles, patterns and accessories appeal to me?” “What lifestyle factors contribute to my personal style?” “How did I develop my approach towards shopping?”
After giving these questions some thought, I realized that my late grandmother, Virgie, and my mom, are two of my greatest style influences. My grandmother has influenced many of the things that catch my eye, and my mom has strongly influenced my style values in my approach towards shopping and building my wardrobe.
My earliest memories of my grandmother introducing me to fashion and beauty are: learning where a woman should spray perfume on her body (her go-to scents? “White Diamonds” by Elizabeth Taylor and “Youth-Dew” by Estee Lauder), how-to apply red lipstick and roller set hair, and always “look sharp” before leaving out the door. Always, I was drawn to how my grandmother carried herself and expressed her personal style. She was sophisticated, graceful and embodied confidence. On top of that, she had a signature style - a honey-colored pixie cut, pink tinted glasses, red or pink lipstick, and most of the time, she wore gold accessories. Every now and then, she’d wear pearls.
In comparison to my grandmother’s style, my mom’s personal style is more subtle. What has influenced me the most when it comes to my mom’s style is her resourcefulness. She’s helped me develop my “fly on a budget” mentality. Back then, and even today, my mom made sure that I knew how-to: raid the clearance racks for great fashion finds, transition my looks from day-to-night, maximize my wardrobe so that it looks like I’m wearing different outfits, try DIY fashion projects, shop at thrift stores and places like Walmart, Target, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. When it comes to the beauty, my mom instills in me to embrace my natural beauty. She isn’t a fan of makeup, but she passed down the use of two beauty essentials to me: lip liner and eye liner.
Between my grandmother and my mom, my personal style is the happy medium. I enjoy looking and feeling great, shopping smart and racking up on a good sale. But, I’ll indulge in splurging on those high-quality or must-have items if I feel that it’s necessary. I love mixing different types of brands, and I find myself greatly inspired by the 90’s era. As I mature, I find that my personal style continues to evolve, but what I learned from these two women never leaves me.
I think it’s a good thing to reference your favorite celebrity or public figure as a source of inspiration. But, I believe it’s important for many of us to acknowledge and give credit to the people in our everyday lives who inspire and influence us the most.