My first discussion with my mother about clothing was my desire to have a dark purple crushed velvet maxi skirt that buttoned down the front. I wanted to wear it open to show off my legs and the matching shorts underneath, like the model in the Montgomery Ward’s catalog. I was in kindergarten. Needless to say, I did not get my way, but my mother did order the coordinating lavender ruffled neck blouse. She even styled my hair in a high bun like the model. I did not get the crushed velvet skirt, but neither did she crush my 5-year-old fashion dreams. My mother never made me feel that my desire for fashion was frivolous. She added a dash of reality without crushing my confidence in my choices. 

We are all fashion examples, whether good or bad. Do you recognize yourself in these characterizations? What type of mother are you? Fashion-forward Fran, Patty Penny Pincher, Sharon the fashion shunner or Vicarious Vicky?

Fashion-forward Fran shops for herself in the junior department or fast fashion boutiques right alongside her daughter. Isn’t it fun to be twinners? Fran’s message to her daughter is fun clothes are only found in cheap trendy shops. To look young, you have to dress like a teenager, right? Sorry, Fran! You may fit into the clothes in the junior section, but no amount of hair dye and Botox can hide your maturity. Learn the art of shopping quality brands for fashions that fit and flatter a woman in her prime. 

Patty Penny Pincher believes cheapest is best. Patty never teaches her daughter about quality fabrics or garment construction. The result is an overflowing closet full of bargain pieces, but never having the appropriate outfit for the next upcoming event or social occasion. Patty, find quality foundation pieces that create the basis for a wardrobe that can take you from the boat to the boardroom. Investing in quality clothing actually saves you money. It eliminates stress shopping and blowing the monthly budget right before an event.

Sharon the fashion shunner ignores fashion altogether as frivolous and distracting, thus her daughters do not see the importance of finding styles and colors that flatter their complexion and body type. Result: Women who feel uncomfortable in anything but workout clothes, and shy away from any event where they may have to dress like an adult (wedding, funeral, cruise, gala and so on). Sharon, a little self-care is a good thing. Teach your daughters how to look their personal best when it counts. You deserve it, and they deserve it.

Vicarious Vicky lives through her daughter by buying/allowing her to wear flesh-revealing prom dresses because Vicky couldn’t or didn’t wear them when she was a teen. Vicky thinks beauty is only found in youth and sensuality. She encourages her daughter to wear skimpy outfits and have fun, because being a mom is a total drag. Vicky, focus on finding clothing that flatters the figure you have today. Teach your daughter that beauty is not fleeting. It comes from within a woman who is confident in who she has become. 

Final tip: A woman’s style is still in discovery mode as a teenager. Give her a clothing budget allowance and teach her how to recognize quality clothing that flatters her. Allow her the freedom in her teens and 20s to discover her own personal style. It may not be what you had in mind for her, but rest assured, she is the shining star you raised and she will be true to herself.

As a personal wardrobe consultant and owner of Alpharetta-based Fashion With Flair,  Lori Wynne helps people look their best. Connect with her at

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