Portrait of a Mother: Runway Model

On December fifteenth I visited the Museum of Modern Art for the first time. MoMA currently has a fashion exhibition featuring clothing as basic as a Champion hoodie to sculptural dresses fit for alien bodies. As my bestie Amelia and I wandered through the maze created by the displays, we pointed out which pieces we would actually wear, mainly cocktail dresses with vintage flairs. I then turned to Amelia and said, “I dress like my mom.” Considering the vigor with which Amelia nodded in agreement, I am honestly shocked she is not currently nursing a severe neck injury.

I am rarely lacking in compliments on my clothing. My friends can count feeding my ego among their talents. Fifty percent of the compliments are given because I am wearing a dress, which is the easiest way to trick people into thinking you are more put together than you actually are. Dresses are basically a sack for your body, requiring minimal effort for maximal elegance. In high school, my beauty routine was to roll out of bed twenty minutes after my alarm went off, shove my glasses onto my face, and pull on the closest dress and mismatched socks. Still half-asleep, I would then stumble from my bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen, having put on a pair of boots somewhere in the middle. By the time I got to school I would be awake and very confused as to why people were acting like Jackie Kennedy had just walked in the door. Oh right, it was because I had put on a dress and people were falling for my façade!

The other fifty percent of compliments are given because Adrienne Brown picked out my clothes. As teenage daughters across America cringe at the thought of admitting their mothers buy their clothes, here I stand, proudly admitting that of the clothes in my closet I have picked out maybe seven pieces. Adrienne has a solid sense of style. That said, when do we, as a society, become embarrassed to have our mothers choose our clothes?

While at MoMA, a class of first graders on a field trip passed by me and Amelia. (Sidenote: the teacher referred to her collection of students not as classmates, but as colleagues, and I thought that was hilarious. The teacher glared at me when I laughed. I have since become more liberal in my use of the term colleague.) Leading the pack of the colleagues was a little girl skipping in silver leggings, a pink sweater, and sparkly shoes. The other six-year-olds, distinctly less fashionable but no less presentable, following this little girl surely did not purchase their outfits. None of them were mismatched or messy, so the conclusion can be drawn that a responsible adult dressed them for their big museum outing. Good decisions had been made by their wranglers! Yet, in about six years, these children would try to rebel against their parents by choosing their own clothes.

I was in sixth grade when I dabbled in fashion rebellion. Bra straps and questionable, silk-screened graphics were involved. However, I soon realized that the clothing I looked best in were pieces my mother chose for me. Of course those clothes looked best; I have the same body type as my mother, and she has been dressing this body for thirty years longer than I have. She knows what looks good on it.

Amelia has already vehemently agreed that I look like my mother. However, for the benefit of you, dear reader, I have included Instagram-style flat lays of outfits my mother and I would typically wear during the week, on the weekend, and on a nice evening out at a party or to dinner. See if you can tell who wore what outfits! Ten points to Gryffindor for the winner.


IMG_0482.jpg(Figures 1 & 2) Weekday Outfits


IMG_0477.jpg(Figures 3 & 4) Weekend Outfits


IMG_0478.jpg(Figures 5 & 6) Going Out Outfits


Figure 1 – Adrienne

Figure 2 – Julianne

Figure 3 – Julianne

Figure 4 – Adrienne

Figure 5 – Julianne

Figure 6 – Adrienne

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