Sunday, December 27, 2009

5 TRENDS I'D LIKE TO SEE IN illustrated by my mom

5. HAIR FALLS: The detachable ponytail beats a BumpIt any day

4. BEADED CHOKERS: It's Pocohantas meets Grace Slick

3. FAKE GLASSES: Don't let the brooding stare fool you, this woman does not need glasses. But that didn't stop her from throwing them on for an emergency beat poetry reading or an art gallery opening. Fake glasses add a whole new dimension to your everyday outfit. It's also a good way to mix-up the type you're attracting.

2. MOROCCAN CAFTANS: I think the picture speaks for itself

1. PET BIRDS: Way better than those creepy, Chanel-tortured toy dogs

JUST THE WAY IT WAS: 1959 folklore

Melissa's mom and dad fell in love in a parallel universe-- aka Europe in the late 50's, early 60's. Based on her description their world applied the same logic found in my deepest nicotine patch dreams.
Exhibit A:
At first glance, Melissa's parents look like any spirited beatnick youngsters who may or may not know how to play the dulcimer. But take a closer look at her mom's shoes. Says Melissa: "the bows would come off and inside each bow was a little tube of lipstick in a colour that was complimentary with the lovely orange/green/yellow hues of the dress.'" THAT'S CRAZY TALK.

Onto Exhibit B:

Here her parents (dad with guitar, mom whispering in his ear) are gathered at a train station with their crew of music-maker pals. But this was no ordinary train station jaunt. They were gathered to bid bon voyage to Melissa's uncle (with the sideburns). He was off to Frankfurt Germany to follow his dream of becoming a famous folksinger. Alas, (and alack) Frankfurt was the 1959 folk equivalent of Nashville's country scene. WOWZA.

Next you're going to to tell me it was a time when mimes were considered sex symbols. Oh.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

...from Reese Moore's gorg early 80's mom.
On a "let's bring back" note: the turtleneck. It's about as mom as you can get. In maternal theory, this clothing item is akin to chicken soup-- it can save your life. My own mammary gave me 4 cotton turtlenecks in varying colors(white, brown and red) to get me through this winter. Although I feel like a Sesame Street Muppet in them, I got to say, warm and comfortable. Thanks mom!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

MOMS IN LOVE: gone photoboothin'

I could stare at this picture of Sophie Howe's gorgeous mom (and dead sexy dad, sorry) for hours. And have. If that ain't love then I don't know what is. A photo booth never lies. And despite all that blissed out, light-headed fuzz, Sophie's mom still managed to pick out a perfectly gamine diamond-patterned Mia Farrow frock. That's what I call multi-tasking.

Tugging on our purse strings

Brooke Berman is a totally famous playwright. But on this site she's just another member of the society of daughters of style icons (SDSI). Here's her mom-age:
"My mother, Marilyn Lucas Berman, was one ridiculously stylish Vuitton-toting, platform-wearing, ponytailed style icon not just in the 70's but later (oh the pictures of the Versace dress she wore for her 40th in the 80's, spiky short hair and crimson lipstick to boot) and in fact throughout her life, schooled as she was, in fashion, by her own very stylish mother, Ida (whose actual Vuitton bags I have inherited and which I wear to my Hollywood meetings with pride). When my mom died, 2 years ago, she owned 7 pairs of leather pants in assorted colors, one for each day of the week. What 65 year old woman needs 7 pairs of leather pants? My mama. Marilyn also took painstakingly good care of her things, so items bought in the 70's were in pristine condition. Triple Libra. Size 6. Flawless. This is my mom in 1973, with me. she is indeed my style icon. and since her death, i've taken to wearing her actual sunglasses (filled with my prescription) and handbags."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

If this blog were the movie Grease...

...and it might be, we're still waiting for the test results-- then Meital Agnatovski's mom would play FRENCHIE.

She was the character with the revolving door of incredibly high and colorful hairstyles. Meital's mom tried it all and pulled it off flawlessly...

from the very high... the very long and accessorized (that's pretty much a brooch for your hair, class) the very pompadoured. Correct if I'm wrong but I don't think that's a hat on her head. the fabulously curled and cone-shaped.

Unlike Frenchie, Meital's gorgeous mom is no beauty school dropout. She's a Barbizon Phi Beta Kappa. Take that Frankie Avalon.

*For a real "Grease" cast-member, check out MMTSI's resident star, the original Patti Simcox.

Show n' Tell

It's another Saturday Night and I ain't got nobody but Cat Stevens and a snowstorm. What a great opportunity to show off some of the groovy accessories I've dragged from my mother's possession of late. I'm sorry Momma (and Eminem and Tipper Gore), but tonight I'm cleaning out mom's closet.

Quick, hold your laptop up to a mirror (or scoot to Home Depot and then install a mirror directly across from your desktop) and read this label from a ribbed nylon shirt my mom got from Saks in the early 80's. That's no false advertising. The form-fitting blouse is very "Working Girl" (however it's not averse to mixing business with pleasure). It's got some sharp shoulder pads and snaps at the crotch. Actually I could do with out that second design element but I'd like to think of it as a time capsule.

Next up: this dreamy cameo ring that passed from my aunt to my mom before I stole it. It's my favorite ring ever. P.S. my camera's not working so I'm using my Mac's PhotoBooth--which ends up looking kind of profile picturesque. Not that I'd know HA! I just looked over someone else's shoulder who used to internet date. So sad for them!

Next up is this awesome lace collar you're supposed to drape around your shoulders and tie like a scarf at your neck. Good news ladies, you don't need to be ordained to wear this collar--though it's only 10 bucks on the internet so it's not really a big hardship you cheap bastards.

Me again. Oh hey, I'm sorry I snapped at you. Can we be friends?
So I prefer to turn the collar into a bib. Got a frock or a blouse that need's baby-fying? There's a scarf for that! It's also machine washable for people who can't help but dribble food when they eat. Now I'm over-sharing.

Warning: the next photo contains crazy eyes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

let's talk belts

This is like one of those posters in freshman year dorm rooms with a black and white photo of a little boy holding one bright red balloon. Only the balloon is a killer three-buckle belt. And black and white is brown and white--with pleats. And never you mind that handsome soldier.

Grandkid Meredith writes:" This is my grandmother Marilyn Jennings Sanders with my Grandfather Tom Sanders in Chicago in 1950. Isn't this outfit awesome? They later divorced so it's really weird seeing them standing together."

So sad. I hope she got to keep the belt--at least every other weekend. That's a divorce joke. People who like Cathy comic strips will get it.

FOUND! My mom's wedding dress picture

Recap for those who'd rather not READ THIS POST: my parents' wedding photographer was toasted and ended up snapping only a few, very dark, very artsy shots of them on their big day in 1970. The man has no idea the repercussions of his stoney baloney: brides across the world were deprived of pictures of my mom's ANGORA SWEATER WEDDING DRESS.
Anyway I managed to dig up one picture of my parents saying their vows in anticipation of an in-yo-face intentional glass stomping. Being Jewish has some serious perks peeps.

You can't really get the whole sense of her dress but here's a glimmer of its snowflakey fluffer-nutter Dr. Zhivago awesomeness.

BONUS FUN FACT: My mom's name is Marilyn and my dad's name is Monroe. no joke. and you thought you had a soulmate. HA!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'd like to tap (with) that

Hannah Asprey's grandmother posing in black and white Oxfords next to the world's smallest man.

Urban Outfitters has the knock off version by Jefferey Campbell

Palm-sized, eerily prescient boy sold separately.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nailed it: that prom dress

Poofy, strapless and nipped at the waist. The holy trinity of prom dress tailoring. The sexy greaser date ain't bad either.I do believe Becca Hudson's parents had a night to remember. Thanks in part to the creative prom theme: night.

Becca Hudson offers up some better background info: "My mom, Veronica, was a Polish immigrant from VERY humble beginnings when she moved to town; my dad was a drag-racing hellcat. This was the mid- to late-fifties, and today they're still married and in love! My mom is still a stubborn gal with strong traditions and sense of dad's now retired, but spends his time building racing bikes."

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Bogota street snapper strikes again!

Remember waaaay back three posts ago, (is it me or were things easier back then?) Erick's mom introduced us to Columbia's harmless psychopath--a street urchin who'd snap pictures of stylish women and then charge them for it. Kind of a genius get rich quick scheme. Dibs, NYC residents!
Anyway Erick's mom wasn't the only swindled model.

Mayra Herrera writes: "When I first saw and read of Erick Cifuentes's mother's pictures I immediately was reminded of a picture of my grandparents. They too are walking down a street in Bogota, Colombia some time in the sixties! I always wondered why they had decided to take a picture in such manner but never thought to ask my dad or my grandparents themselves. After reading your entry I was sure that it must have also been taken in the same fashion. After, finally, asking my dad he repeated the same story of the random man and the receipt. Now, speaking of style, I have to say my grandmother sure knew how to pick a coat. I love how the lovely coat is adorned with large buttons and with leopard print trim on the collar and pockets. If only she still had it...."

Hmm. I wonder where on earth that coat is? I'm looking at you, Bogota photographer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I'm not done with Erick's mom just yet. Observe this outfit: This woman IS Karen Allen (total celeb style icon) in Raiders of the Lost Ark, right down to the Indiana Jones hat. I love a button down shirt tied at the waist. It's one of my signature moves--though I haven't been able to pull it off as successfully as Erick's mom. See this picture for the hazards of knotting a too tight shirt-- unintentional stomach exposure. Color me ashamed.

On another note: I gots to give an entire prop closet to dudes who submit to this blog. Especially ones with E's candor: "Not to get too creepy Freudian but i think seeing pictures like this when I was young really shaped my attraction to women. Put the hottest blond in the world next to a brunette with long hair and in my mind the brunette will always win." Say it, brother.


JUST THE WAY IT WAS: street pics

Introducing JUST THE WAY IT WAS, a new feature on the site that celebrates the bizarre, enviable and downright unbelievable culture of Momville-- circa before we existed.

The first entry is from Erick Cifuentes. His raven-haired Joan Baez-y babe of a mom is in all four of these street shots. Why, you ask? Get this: "These one inch pictures were taken in Bogota, Colombia in the 60's. A man on the street would run up to you and snap your photo then give you a receipt to come buy them later." And that, my friends, is (altogether, live studio audience) JUST THE WAY IT WAS.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The tiara veil: a user's guide

Coleen Ryan Cunningham submitted this killer wedding photo of her mom and pop in 1959. Don't even get me started on their his n' her eye-wear. But let's take a quick lesson in tiara veils from the 50's. Apparently, they were a big deal.

For brides on the hunt for a vinatage tiara veil nowadays, there are a few golden rules.
1) KEEP THEM AWAY FROM CATS. They're super delicate and easy to rip. Most of them were made from silk tulle in the 50's. So if you buy a vintage model it may melt in your hand, not on your head.
2) VIRGINS NEED NOT APPLY. Most vintage tiara veils aren't pure white. You'll have more luck finding them in ivory or a faded yellowish white. So don't expect to be advertising your chastity with one of these tribal headpieces.
3) HANDS OFF COLEEN'S MOM'S STUFF. You can buy your own on the internets for a little more than $100. RubyLane has some good options. Check this one out. And this one.
4) GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. If you do buy one of these veils, I expect an invitation to your wedding. I prefer fish to chicken, if there's a choice.

One word: Bewitching

Madeleine Berenson writes: "This is a picture of my mother, Jeanne, in her parents' yard in Ohio during a visit there in the early fifties, just before she met and married my dad. At the time, she was working in New York City, as a researcher for Time Magazine--one of her early assignments was to cover John F. Kennedy's first senatorial campaign; when we were kids she often talked about how exciting it was to meet him and shake his hand after one of his speeches.

"I am fascinated by this picture of her, because in it she is someone I don't know. She and my father had eight children, and he worked for IBM, which meant we moved every two or four years when I was growing up. As far back as I can remember, she never bought anything for herself--she even dressed in my father's old clothes and cut her own hair. But in this picture, she looks as glamorous as Leslie Caron, brimming with just as much joyous, girlish confidence. She looks like she knows exactly how beautiful she is."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Queen Esther, Muse

My friend Jessica Rotter designs the coolest retro-inspired shirts this side of earth. Where'd she get her inspiration for Rotter and Friends? Well there's Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt and OH THIS LADY

JESS WRITES: "My mom Esther is pretty magical. Even though she dressed me like I was forty years old, when I was actually six (people thought I was the teacher in my kindergarten school picture), SHE never left the house short of glamorous."

"I always loved her look in the 70's which was a true highlight in her life personally as she was living in Tel-Aviv cutting roses, greeting the Red Sea breeze, and listening to Cats Stevens' Foreigner Suite LP on repeat. Mom was Yisrael obsessed and this was a definite high time in her life and style. While my aunt had a poster of hotty Robert Redford up in their shared room, my mother had one of an Israeli soldier crying. Um, woah!"

"Mom says one of her favorite labels she wore head to toe was a line called Crazy Horse, which you can actually find once in a while these days at a Williamsburg Street fair. Today mom is rarely seen without wearing Rotter and Friends these days and I can totally see her rocking the tees while dancing in a Jerusalem club to Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4", which makes me smile."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hot moms and hot rods: part duex

The first moms with cars post was such a moneymaker, I felt contractually obligated to do a followup.

SunShine BenBelkacem writes of her mom's teen angst: This is my gorgeous and stylish mom, Liza, at 17 leaning against a jeep in summer of 1968 in Cannes, France on a family vacation. Her little flowered shift dress is pretty cute but I love the look of utter nonchalance on her face."

Ruby Roberts writes: "This is my super hot mama, Kimalyn, about 1982 and around 21 years old. This is one of my favorite pictures, and may have had a hand in inspiring me to own two VW's in my time. Not to mention the to-die-for red dress."

Hide your lawnmowers, it's a MadWoman

Alexandra Frangos blogged: "When I see this fantastic old photo of my mom, I imagine her in Sterling Cooper's offices, typing at a steel secretary desk, or whispering in the break room about another potential takeover."

Television and this picture have taught us that things were different in the early 60's: hair was higher, dresses were more figure flattering, and there was more wood--really high quality wood. I am transfixed by the wall behind that mom. It is Sting's worst nightmare.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Just add tattoos

And this icon mom, circa 1940's, instantly becomes a rockabilly girl circa now. (See label for warnings). Kimberly Wheatley submitted this picture of heartbreaker mom Edna posing in Florida during the war years.

So I sent poor cute girl on a heroic mission to find a similar dress online. She's returned with her spoils, deserving of a purple heart.

The Connie Dress

The Mystic Seaport Dress

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beachy keen

Ali Kruse writes: "Attached is a picture of my grandma and grandpa at the beach in 1956 (somewhere in NY). My grandma looked stunning at 5'10" in a classic swim suit! She was 16 at the time, my grandpa was a few years older. Can you tell he grew up in Little Italy/Arthur Ave in the Bronx?! They had my dad the following year, and against all odds, were married for 50 years before she passed away last spring. He absolutely adored her."

If there are any swimsuit designers reading the blog, copy this look stat so I can wear it next summer, please and thanks.

It's a suit-off


Andrea S sent in this awesome "Let's Bring Back" submission. She writes: "I am not sure when the three-piece suit went out of favor, but I think they should definitely come back." Her mom and dad compete for the coveted best suit award in 1978. Guess who takes home the gold?

Although it's not their wedding photo, it's not a bad idea for a bride who wants access to pockets on her big day.

Lookalike mom alert: Carrie Mulligan

The London Times made a huge mistake when they ran an article with a headline that called actress Carrie Mulligan the new Audrey Hepburn. Correction: She's the new Eva May Hendrick.
Thanks to Amanda Thomas for alerting us!

FOUND! Dorothy's yearbook picture from Oz High

Moira Price writes: "This is my lovely mother in 1970, at 18, in her high school secretary yearbook picture."

All I want for Christmas is Moira's mom's jumper. I'm a sucker for suspenders but they never seem to fit me right or I just look like I'm a female stand-up comedian from the 80's.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lady in reeeeeed

Message to Erin Klauk's mom: TAKE ME TO YOUR DRESSMAKER. Her mod frock is valley of the doll-icious (see what i did there?)
So I asked Poor Cute Girl blogger Colleen Kluttz--the savviest retro online shopper I know-- to find some knockoffs on the world wide internet! Here's what she found in 3 minutes and 26 seconds:

This little number from ModCloth by the designer Marmalade. It's about $170. (oh I forgot to tell you, you owe me about $200 from the thing I did, with the thing for you)

She also uncovered Norman Bates' mom's rotting carcass in an attic. Coincidentally, wearing a Marc Jacobs dress that's kind of like Erin's mom's. It's going for $349 on ebay. But don't settle until they agree to throw in the mannequin of horror.

UN Translators Needed: POSITION FILLED

Job description: translate this article below about MMTSI in the new issue of the very awesome and very glossy Swiss fashion magazine Edelweiss.
Experience required: Dealing with heads of state or high school level French
Payment: respect, admiration, leftover Halloween candy

UPDATE: Readers Pam Carson and Chryssi Tsoupanarias have taken on the job.

Translation as follows:

Fashion, the world and vice versa
Where we ask, each month, how the continent of fashion shakes the planet

On the other hand, let’s talk about…
…“gypset” and “my mother, style icon”… We’ve got to chat with you before the end of this year, the one during which we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. We’ve also got to talk before the unveiling of hippie chic in spring 2010. Oops, hippie chic? Rewind. We wanted to say “gypset.” This catchword (“gypset” = “gypsy” + “jet set”) appeared in the fashion universe last spring. Coined by the New York journalist Julia Chaplin (who writes for The New York Times, Elle, Vogue, and Wallpaper), it means “an emerging group of creative semi-nomadic people and the bohemian places where they live, from Montauk to Cornouailles, passing by the Rift Valley, in Kenya.” Their family tree? “English Romantic-era poets, Victorian adventurers, the surrealists, the beatniks, the hippies, and ravers.” On the runways? Marant, Marni, Missoni… or Altuzarra. And where does my mother fit in? In the last issue, we talked about the “vintage-me” (vintage-moi) wave, the funny trend of posting photos on the Web of you wearing the worst outfits of decades past. Next? The wave of “vintage my mother.” Who started this trend? The blog, My Mom, The Style Icon – Moms as Fashion Muses*, launched in March by Piper Weiss, a 31-year-old Brooklyn journalist. Where did she get the idea? “I came across two photo albums of my mother when she was 20 years old, around 1969, and I was struck by all the adorable clothes, sexy and trendy boyfriends, exotic places… I scanned the images when my mom was out walking the dog and I created the blog. Now she knows and she adores the site, which took off when I started to receive images of “mother style icons” from around the world,” says Piper. She admits that her mother-muse relationship hasn’t always been idyllic. “We have epic battles on the topic of clothes. I rebelled against her advice by doing exactly the opposite (which drove me to some serious fashion blunders). Then, around the age of 25, I discovered my parents’ old records, 1960s films, Fleetwood Mac, and the flamboyant sense of fashion they had in 1979. Today, I’m thankful to her for her influence. “Gypset” and your mother’s wardrobe, where we can build a future with the past.