My earliest childhood memories are of watching my Mum getting ready for a night out. I would lie captivated along with my elder sister upon my parents bed and watch with curiosity and complete satisfaction as my Mum would skilfully apply soft layers of make up upon her young face. I would ask too many questions- ‘What’s this for?’ ‘Can I have that?’ as I poked statement earrings through my unpierced lobes, fumbling around in oversized stiletto heels, swamped in her fancy clothes. I can still smell the musk perfume of the silk scarves I would wrap myself in, fashioning an array of elaborate garments from the soft, expensive material. I have always found my mum undeniably glamorous and exquisitely elegant, her personal style has always been subtle, classic and incredibly chic, she has mastered the art of putting things together, knowing exactly which colour palette complements her skin tone and hair colour, choosing silhouettes that flatter her shape and skim her curves.
Fashion has played a huge part in my upbringing and my younger years were spent learning to knit scarfs and jumpers with my Sups, making barbie clothes to trade with my friends or dressing up elaborately to perform self written plays and musicals with my sisters. My teenage years seen me experiment with various styles, delving in to past subcultures, trawling high street stores, charity shops and markets to mirror my favourite looks. I quickly melted comfortably into my own and developed a unique taste I’ve continually nursed for the years since. I am considerably conscious of fashion and put thought into my personal image, I would describe my style as androgynous however feminine, punk but classic, eclectic nevertheless coordinated, fun yet dark, ultimately I dress for my mood and not always for practical function.
My love for fashion is a common companion I share with all my immediate family, from my Dad right through all of my four sisters. It would have been difficult to keep this passion from my daughter Ruby and she has grown to mimic my enthusiasm that self expression through clothes can bring. Now aged 9, Ruby is in transition, growing up, she is beginning to explore her own tastes further and limits my input when choosing what she should wear. Although I try to give Ruby the freedom and responsibility of dressing herself, I find myself continually dictating what she should wear, therefore diminishing her freedom of self expression.
As an experiment, I wondered what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot. For one week I decided to let Ruby dress me, she had full control of my wardrobe and chose my outfits for work and pleasure…
I think my Mum’s styles is cool most of the time but sometimes she can look too cool, it’s hard to describe but I would say she looks cool, good and cute. I like when Mum wears jumpsuits, I think they suit her. Sometimes I look at Mum and think ‘what are you wearing?’ She can dress real crazy and wear things that don’t match, like pink and red together.
My style is comfortable, I like to wear dresses and jeans. I think Taylor Swift has a good look, I would like to dress like her. The idea of dressing my mum is fun, my friend Jackson told me to make her wear mismatched shoes- one flat and one heeled but I’m not going to do that, I want to make her look nice. She recently shaved her head and at first I thought she wouldn’t have the courage to do it and I was shocked but I think she looks cool now, her hair is always nice and she is good at doing other peoples hair, she suits her job.
My mum has modelled in my Auntie Hayley’s fashion show and I think she looks weird and funny because she is so serious but I’m not embarrassed by it, I’m proud.
My mum has to wear black for work, so today I have chosen a black jumpsuit with frill detail. It’s cold outside so I have added a striped long sleeved top underneath. The shoes are comfortable because she has to stand all day, my mum likes earrings so I have chosen big silver hoops.
I like this long black dress, I think it’s cool. I have chosen another dress for underneath because you can see through the holes. I have went for a choker today because Mum wore earrings yesterday and the zip on these boots match the ring in the choker.
This jumper reminds me of tinsel, I have matched it with these black trouser because my Mum doesn’t have black leggings which were my first choice. I like these peace symbol earrings.
Today my Mum is doing a photoshoot, she will have fire coming from her hands so I want her to look spooky. I have chosen this long black dress and hat so she looks like a witch. The red shirt matches the red laces in her Dr Marten boots.
School is off for in-service day and my Mum is off work so no more black! I have matched this pink fluffy jumper with long pink earrings. The denim shorts make my mum look young and I like these leopard prints boots. My Mum felt embarrassed wearing the earrings.
Back to work, today I chose a long mesh dress with a black dress underneath, I thought this leopard print shirt would keep Mum warm. The big hoop earrings are her favourite.
We are going to visit friends so I want my Mum to be comfortable. She likes these jeans, I like the pink T shirt and the tartan shirt is comfy, the silver Kicker boots are cool too.
I had lots of fun dressing my mum this week, her clothes are nice but it made me think she wears too much black. If I could choose I would make her wear different colours to work and I would grow her hair very, very long.
On reflection, the ease of allowing others to decide what you wear was a pleasant relief, not having to put thought into it or to trawl through the wardrobe to find matching garments was uplifting and satisfying. I was moved by the thought Ruby put into her task, she didn’t just think about what she likes, she considered my personality too and how I would feel whilst wearing her choices. Ruby has given me the realisation that clothes aren’t only a reflection of my personality, they serve as a practical function but are also there to have fun too! From now on I will care less about how I look but more about how the clothes make me feel. I will give Ruby more creative freedom within her own wardrobe, allow her to feel the confidence that looking good brings and to allow her to realise that what you wear doesn’t make you the person you are, you do that yourself!
Long live the VEF and someone call the FASHUUUN Police QUEEN!