Your Mom Used to Be Cooler Than You
By BEATRICE STRNAD
Your Mom used to be cooler than you. Sorry to break your millennial heart, but back in your mom’s day, clothes were way cooler than what’s hanging on the racks now. Ever wonder why vintage shopping and style does so well these days? Well, when our mothers were at their hippest, the times were a-changing for women (see: The Feminine Mystique, Title IV, Equal Pay Act and Gloria Steinem). Fashion reflected a breakaway from the housewife mold ascribed to their mothers (aka our grandmothers). In other words, our mothers were style pioneers who brought the spirit of revolution, counterculture and women’s rights into their closets, changing fashion for decades to come. Thanks, moms!
While we may not be as cool as our moms were, we can definitely find some inspiration from their closets. In fact, many of the things they used to wear are trendy this spring and summer. So this Mother’s Day, thank your mom for being a great fashion role model and keep your mom-jean jokes to yourself! Here’s a look at what your mom’s generation has got to offer.
Jean … Everything
OK, moms may not have the best reputation when it comes to jeans, but these ladies made jeans cool. No, but really, we wouldn’t be wearing jeans today if our moms didn’t popularize the pants (and shorts, and jackets, and all things denim). They also were the first to get creative with their jeans — embroidering, destructing, bleaching, painting, cutting and cuffing their denim before you could buy those looks in stores.
My aunt added a flower, ripped and frayed these shorts back in the day. These would probably run you $60 at Urban Outfitters today.
Before you blame American Apparel for the overabundance of midriff, our mothers were the first to dare wear tops above their beltlines (despite giving us grief about our midriff). Though our generation clearly owns the crop top with low-rise jeans look (hence the grief), our mothers’ higher, more appropriate waistlines are what fashion runways have called upon for crop-top pairing this spring and summer.
If you even think our gen’s “boyfriend” jeans and button-ups stand a chance against our mother’s menswear-inspired closet, kindly search “Diane Keaton” in the browser of your choice. Ties, masculine-looking suits, oversized button-ups and shoulder pads were worn by our mothers without the implication that they borrowed from their boyfriends’ closet. So, channel your inner Keaton to emulate the runway-inspired looks for suits, button-ups and pants.
The retro bows, scarves and headband looks that fuel Pinterest boards today have our mothers to thank. And, basically everything Coachella hair wishes it could be came from our moms. Yes, all the feathered and flowery hair accessories music festivals are teeming with today were brought about by our mothers expressing their Native American sympathies and peace-loving, anti-war sentiments.
While we may attribute pastel in abundance to ’90s pop stars, it was Mamie Eisenhower (34th First Lady), not Britney Spears, who brought pale pink hues into style (the color was actually dubbed “Mamie” pink). Subtle pinks were all over the latest fashion runways, as were pastels, but if you ask your mom, she’s likely to say, oh yeah, that’s what we’d wear to look preppy and cute.
Mamie was followed by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (aka Jackie O). She took fashion by storm and is responsible for popularizing the oversized glasses look in the ’60s. So while we may associate oversized glasses with celebs trying to hide their famous faces, once again, our mom’s generation did it first. And all those super circular or square frames models donned on the runways were also looks Jackie O brought about.
All the Skirt Trends
Maxis, minis, tulle, tea length, printed — you name it! The skirts that are going to be trending this spring and summer were worn by mama dearest and her friends. Our mothers also wore skirts in ways we don’t, such as with slips (can’t knock ’em till you try ’em). Sometimes they even had tubes sewn into the hems that they could inflate for added fullness (yep, their skirt technology was way cooler).
I personally greatly questioned my ability to wear these when I saw them sashaying down the runway, but hey, if our moms could rock wide-leg trousers and make them cool (and they did), we can put aside our skintight jeans and leggings-as-pants for at least a day and give them a chance … right?
Do you think that cork wedge heels were a ’90s thing? Think again. Cork wedge and other platform heels are retro. So we can add them to our growing list of trends millennials think we started but didn’t.
Image via 1989Vintage
According to fashion mags and many a runway, you should wear embroidered anything this spring and summer. It doesn’t take a fashion historian to tell you our moms already wore embroidered everything. They even did the embroidery themselves.
Now that you have some insight into why our moms
were so much cooler than we are, let us know which vintage style you’ll be
rocking this spring and summer @TheStyleGlossy.
Strnad is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in a
variety of publications that cover topics such as beauty, fashion, technology
and literature. She
writes frequently for The Style Glossy.