Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Family business

Day 3 of the blog tour and we arrive at Another Day to Dress Up. You might remember blogger Megan as Modcloth's blogger of the moment. She's one of those people who makes vintage look easy. I'm medium to full-blown obsessed with everything in her etsy store, especially this. So now it's all becoming clear where she gets it. She's a fourth generation style icon. See her great grandmother, an original flapper, above.

And her grandma.

And her mom (center)

It's just in Megan's blood.

Check out more photos from her family archive here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mom's fine china

It's day two of My Mom Style Icon's weeklong blog tour (first stop was Kendi Everyday), and we just struck gold. Jen Lula of the blog jen loves kev posted a few amazing photos of her mom along with a giveaway post. Let's talk about her mom's Steampunk lace dress and Baltimore record nerd glasses on her mom. Don't even breath a word about the fact that she's on a plate.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Prom dress, paid forward

For prom season, submission that exhibits what being mom style icon is all about:

"Here is a picture of my Mom (Elizabeth Lanahan-Dodd) in 1960 in a prom dress that she made. It was a gorgeous pink satin material,there was pink netting at the top off the shoulders and small silk flowers placed around the dress ever so delicately. Her picture reminds me of the Hollywood starlets waiting around before the start of the Oscars.

Later when my Mom and Dad were raising the family they always put us kids first. Along comes my 6th grade production of The Nutcracker and I was the Sugar Plum Fairy. All the kids in the play had to have parents provide the costumes. My mom made the ultimate sacrifice, she cut up her beautiful prom dress into a smaller ballerina costume for me. I will never ever come close to repaying her for what she did for me. Not to mention my siblings constantly ripping me for 'Oh if it wasn't for The Sugar Plum Fairy needing a costume, we would still have Mom's vintage prom dress!'"

Happy mother's day Mrs. Lanahan-Dodd!

Prom king and queen of my heart

You can't look at this photo and tell me Ali Kruse's parents weren't the most popular couple in school. Catherine and Richard met in English class their junior year of high school in 1974. Ali's mom Catherine says: "Rich had long hair and came to my house to pick me up in a very loud green Mustang Fastback (1967, I think), with the word "Mischief" printed on the side. You can imagine what my parents thought of him."

Holy crap. This is my favorite piece of information ever submitted to the blog.

She continues: "Of course we both thought each other looked very cool. We fit in with all our friends. And yes, I did make my dress."

Catherine fashioned the belt and halter portion out of window curtains and kept her dress long.

"You can't see it from the picture but I had the highest platform wooded sandals I could find."

They didn't stop her from hitting the dance floor: "I was voted "Best Dancer" in our class."

Things haven't much changed since prom, 1975, according daughter Ali: "My mom looks exactly like she did 35 years ago. My brother can't tell us apart from a distance."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blazer Time

Today, I'm taking notes from Shaunya Hartley's mom. Oatmeal colored blazer, popped collar, glossy lips. Yes please.

Not surprisingly, Shaunya's gorgeous mom gave birth to a vintage savant who runs a the blog Vintage Shaun and the kind of vintage etsy clothing store that will make your hand-me-down loving head explode. Just look at this blazer by the 70s label Carlyle she's currently selling.

I'm still holding out for the oatmeal blazer though.

Furry with a fringe on top

Usually a leopard print coat upstages every other outerwear in eyesight. Unless there's a red, heavily fur trimmed floor length overcoat and matching hat beside it. Eden Folwell's mom was a fashion warrior, with the ability to turn a virtual santa costume into something elegant and downright flattering. Kids, don't try this at home.

Eden writes: "It's 1974 and this is the way my mother dressed on a daily basis. Wigs, fake lashes, all a normal part of watching her get dressed."

I wish there was archive video footage so we could all watch.

Teen angel

One of the most impressive things about vintage mom style is how much of it homemade.
Susie Mutschler, 34, submitted these photos of her mom Trish as a high school student in the late 60s. "The pictures were taken in my one of my mom's many childhood homes (she was an army brat and moved around quite regularly) in Elmhurst, Illinois. My mom was the oldest daughter (and third in line) of eight children. She was incredibly crafty and sewed both of these outfits herself. She eventually took her sewing to a whole other level and made award winning quilts. As children we appreciated, and consistently wore, her home sewn outfits until she branched off into underwear and swimsuits!"

The first photo was just before she left for prom. The second could be any day during her teenage years. Look at that exasperated what-do-you-want now expression. Amazing. "My mom was an incredible woman. She was endlessly creative and artistic. Later in life she worked as an educator and many of my memories are of my two sisters and I teasing her about the teacher clothes she wore (some with matching pins) and the mom jeans she sported. She was always up for a shopping trip to update her style - mostly because she loved spending time with her girls. These pictures remind me that my mom was beautiful, creative and a style icon I can only hope to emulate."

Holy smokes! It's Edie Adams

When I opened Josh Mills's email submission of his mom, I knew the rest of my day was shot. Several hours into my internet research of Edie Adams, I'm still mesmerized. Adams was one of the great american entertainers—a Tony award winning Broadway star, an Emmy winning comedian and a shrewd pitchwoman.

Josh writes: "This photo is from one of her Muriel Cigar ads that ran for close to a decade. She was always pretty sexy and the guys noticed the twinkle in her eye when she said, 'Why don’t you pick one up and smoke it sometime'. Muriel sales went up tenfold when she became the pitch-woman for the brand."

Here she is in a 1965 commercial for the cigar with Stan Getz, you know, the jazz legend.

In addition to commercials, and leading roles in Broadway musicals, the Julliard graduate had a thriving film career, appearing in Billy Wilder's The Apartment, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and my personal favorite, "Love with the Proper Stranger" a film that tackled abortion and one-night-stands from a female perspective all the back in 1963. Still, much of her career was spent on TV. Here she is on the series finale of I Love Lucy, helmed by her fellow female comedy star.

She had impeccable timing and a knack for parody but funny wasn't usually what the entertainment industry sought out from women. Early on in her career she won a chance to perform along side Milton Berle, but there was a caveat: "I was permitted to sing so long as I wore a bathing suit," Edie once recalled. But one man took her talents seriously. Husband Ernie Kovacs, the celebrated comedian, joined forces with Edie as a comedy team performing on variety shows together. Here they are together on the Dinah Shore Chevy show.

When Ernie died in 1962, Edie was just 32 years old. Upon his death, "Edie collected, acquired, preserved and jealously guarded video tapes and kinescopes of the shows he created and in which they both appeared more than fifty years ago," writes Josh who now controls both Ernie and Edie's archives. "Edie devoted many years of her life to planning the return of these shows to the air and home video."

Without her partner in life and business, Edie turned to new projects to stave off debt and heartache. This is where her business acumen came in. She bought an almond farm. That's right, almonds, and in 1967, developed a chain of beauty shops called “Edie Adams Cut and Curl”, that still exists today. She also set up Ediad Productions, Inc., which owns the rights to early 60s music-variety television series featuring jazz greats Andre Previn, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Sammy Davis, Jr."

In 1982, 20 years before her death, she was asked by People Magazine for advice on love. Her response?
"You have to get independent first and then find someone who is not threatened by you...Every time I get lonesome these days, I start another business."

For more photos and stories from Edie's life, check out Josh's archive, at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Inherited Hauteness Contest

It's 4/20. You know what that means? It's the first day of the official My Mom Style Icon/ModCloth Contest.

(cue fancy royal horn blowing)

Introducing the Inherited Hauteness contest, sponsored by Modcloth, the online destination for all your favorite mom-inspired fashions. Share your fashionable mom photos and in the process score a chance to win a signed copy of My Mom Style Icon the book and $100 ModCloth Gift Card.

Here are the steps to enter:
1. Between now and May 4, log into your Tumblr account. If you don’t have one, take 3 seconds and make one.
2. Post a vintage photo of your mom sporting her old school attire.
3. Add a caption briefly expressing why your mom is your style icon.
4. Tag your photo with #ModMoms.

Just the facts, m'am:
Contest dates: April 20 - May 4
Only one entry per person allowed.
Modcloth will randomly select two people to win a signed copy of the book, and one person to win a signed copy as well as a $100 ModCloth gift card.
For more rules and regs check out the Modcloth contest post and then 'accidentally' click on the link to their store and spend the next 2 hours shopping. Just be sure to maintain a concerned expression and occasionally flutter your fingers over the keyboard, so your boss thinks you're hard at work.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Jewel of Kansas

When this photo started downloading the first thing I saw was the hand-painted sign and I knew the lady standing underneath it would blow my mind. She didn't let me down.

Bernadette Rose Zacharias, 28, of Lawrence, Kansas writes:

"This is a photo of my mother, Kathleen Prosise, that I believe was taken in 1975. In this picture she is standing in front of the jewelry store she owned with my father, of which she hand-painted the sign herself! My mom was a California blonde translocated to kansas, she was a painter, jeweler, and of course a style fanatic. This look, the combo of a sweater-dress (braless, of course!) go-go boots and fluffy cotton candy hair remained a signature for her even after I was born. I always think about her when I get dressed."

Idea: vintage carriage as accessory

Is that weird? Lisa Conner's mom makes it look so cool.

Conner of Denver, CO sent this incredible shot of her mom Gail Owen Freeman in the mid 1960s:

"My mother was raised in a small town (Lubbock Tx to be precise), and met my father, a New Yorker, when he was stationed in San Antonio, TX -she was finishing up college there. After a whirlwind romance, they got engaged and then married, and she hightailed it out of her dusty small town life for a glamourous life in NYC on Park Avenue with him. She fully embraced city life and was so excited to flex her fashion muscles in a place she found thrilling, exciting and glamorous. My mom was simply out for a stroll with my brother, her first born, at Central Park, and look how she is so done up!

She was fully into the role of being a Manhattanite--real leopard coat (matching pillbox hat left at home)--as much as it bugs me that it is real, it was passed down from her mother-in-law, and back then there was not the stigma attached to it as there is today (and should be!). She has some big tortoise glasses in her hand. She always had a penchant for oversized sunglasses, hats and fantastic accessories, and does to this day.

I wish she had more of her wardrobe from back then. No doubt I'd be pillaging many finds. Sadly, she was storing all of her gorgeous clothes-much of it couture-in a house next door to them that in the eighties, and someone pulled up with a van one night, broke in and stole all of her dressier clothing, couture, gowns, jackets, etc. What was worse than losing the monetary value of all those collectibles was losing the memories and the collection that connected her to memories of her exciting past. Each outfit had a specific set of memories as to when it was worn and what was going on in her life at that particular time. Each garment was a milestone in the museum of her past."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Get the look: clamshell '70s belt

Renate Raymond's mom wore this supercool clam buckle belt in 1970. Want it? Renate is selling it for $26 clams on Etsy.

Minidress + hardhat= yeah, baby!

This picture makes it impossible not to reference Austin Powers. I don't care if quoting Mike Myers' movie characters is dated and unfunny. Jennifer Janesko's mom Rita makes me think the 1960's world of beautiful women in mind-bending colors, patterns and hemlines, wasn't just the stuff of '90s movie parody. We're not worthy.

Jennifer Janesko of Kansas City, MO writes:
"The photo was taken sometime between 1968 and 1970 in my parents first home in Kansas City. It's my favorite because it combines my mom's love of fashion with her sense of humor. I wish she still had this dress, I would borrow it! I spent a lot of my youth at the mall and I will just go ahead and blame her for my love of shopping. Today, I am starting my own fashion line. We still shop together, except now, I don't have to page her when I get lost."