La Belette Rouge yesterday contemplated the differences between her mother's style and her own as she pondered whether to buy a J. Crew gold linen jacket. Like La Belette, I sometimes wonder, "Are we destined to become our mothers?" Or conversely, are we doomed to perpetually choose our style in opposition to theirs?
My own mother, at least until her post-divorce-gypsy-skirt-and-humongous-squashblossom-necklace phase, eschewed anything flashy, loud, embellished, mismatched or ethnic. "Tasteful" was her watchword, and was personified by Jackie Kennedy throughout the 60's, my growing up years. As a child, I always had a fond eye for the glittery, the beaded, the exotic. "Oh, that's tacky," she'd sniff, and instead buy me the pink tweed dress with a matching jacket, designed to look like a miniature Chanel suit. Once I hit adolescence, we shopped for my clothes in the same stores she frequented and I mostly looked like a fifteen-year-old middle-aged hausfrau in pastels, plaids and navy.
In reaction, I spent my late teens and twenties combing thrift stores for every leopard-printed, gold-laméed, beaded and bedazzled thing I could find. I still dressed like an old lady, but intentionally, ironically. Beginning in my late 30's, my tastes began to transition again, and found myself gravitating back to simple, classic styles, and it was about then that my enduring romance with black began. But as Dorothy Parker said, "A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika," so at times I indulge my inner Dame Edna and mix in a little brocade or beading. Keywords being "a little." The jacket pictured above is best worn with jeans and a white tee, and minimal jewelry. People always ask if it's vintage.
The funny thing is, the same kind of fabrics and styles that my mom would have considered off limits in earlier days, she now enjoys. She loved a shirt with metallic threads and an Asian print that I wore last time we visited, and liked my goofy plastic bead necklace so much I gave it to her. While I've come back around to some of her style maxims (keep it simple, monochromatic, classic), she's also come around to some of mine.