Sunday, July 29, 2012

I heart I Heart Daily, the pop culture and lifestyle newsletter so effectively curated it's become a bible for both super awesome teenage girls I want to be and adult industry insiders alike.

The morning they gave my book, My Mom Style Icon, a shout out, the coolest people I know e-lerted me immediately. It was a fat day for my head. 

The next morning, I discovered why I Heart Daily is so beloved: when they heart something, they mean it. 

Co-founder and Brooklyn-ite Melissa Walker emailed two photos of her mom to share on this here site, that darn near inspired me to pitch a second book: mom twins (copyright mine date this second, r with the circle, trademark with a t, jinx, firsties! plus legal mumbojumbo)  

Meet Nancy Walker, one of two identically gorgeous twin sisters. I know census statistics say twins are more prevalent now than ever, but the best-dressed twins were hallmarks of the '70s and '80s.

The photo of Nancy with her sister Marion was taken in Rhode Island in the mid-70's "at my Uncle Vinnie's birthday," writes Melissa.

"My mom likes to say, "I never wore a bikini! I wore TWO PIECES." I don't really know the difference, but apparently it's big. I love how she says she didn't like dressing like her twin as a kid, but she also admits to buying both of these suits, for herself and Aunt Marion, at an outlet in Massachusetts. She did it herself! I love the gold clasp detail and the pattern is perfect (kind of Marimekko, no?)--not to mention the suit's great shape! Also: Matching pixie cuts that were and are so stylish."

Here's another postcard from Bikini beach, courtesy of Nancy. This shot was taken in the late '70s in at Carolina Beach in North Carolina.

"I love the slinky pose and great arm shape my mom is giving here. Plus, the plunging V and backless design of the suit is super chic. I've always loved her perfect pixie cut, and the fact that she's carrying a tiny bucket (likely mine!) just makes the whole scene perfect."
I Heart Nancy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Every guilty pleasure requires some sacrifice. That's the only way I can explain the demise of the one shouldered dress. These days, it's strictly property of the Real Housewives wardrobe department. Ramona, The Countess and Vicki love an excuse to go half-strapless while holding a fruit in front of a green screen. It makes me not even want to wear a backpack on one-shoulder. But before the wonderful advent of Bravo, the one-shouldered dress was cooler, casually dance-floor sexy, and classically '70s.

Big thanks to Adriane Keepler of Baltimore for reminding us of that. Bigger thanks to her mom, Dannie, who gorgeously wore this floral one-strap sundress in 1972. 

Adriane remembers: "I was five or six and an only child. She and my father, both 27 and African American, were young, hip, super smart and admired. Both from modest, hardworking large Atlanta families, they had married as soon as they secured college degrees and began to travel the country in continued pursuit of my father's many degrees (masters, Phd).

At the time, we were living on the campus of Langston University (Oklahoma) in campus housing. I don't know where my mom was headed in this photo, maybe she was staying at home and entertaining. My parents "partied" a lot with the other professors. But the picture reminds me how beautiful and doe-eyed  (almost reminiscent of Diana Ross) my mom was.  She's always found ways to maintain an element of surprise in her "going out!" pieces: bold jewelry statements, lots of color, vintage shoes, or an unexpected dress choice.

Although mom now widowed, lives a quieter life in South Carolina now, she still kept that element of surprise in her look.  You never know what she's going to wear next."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This is Irma Mirante -- in the early 1960s, in taffeta on one of our very stylish nature/culture excursions. She continues to be a woman of style and substance!
love to her on Mother's Day and every day,
Edith Mirante

My Mother:
Beautiful, smart, fun and exciting and ALWAYS MAKING US LAUGH through the hardest of times. She is still the most loving Mother ever!!!
-Debra Szczepaniak, daughter of Geri, pictured here in Illinois in the late 70's or early 80s

The photo, taken in the early 80s, was at my mom's sister-in-laws wedding in Ontario. I love her statement jewellery - the necklace, earrings and cuff. 
-Erinn, daughter of Bonnie, 19, Montreal

[ed. note: I also love her hot-blooded monster ballad ombre hair. Heaven.]

Friday, May 11, 2012

I wish I was Clara's mom. I hope that's not weird. Also, is her dad Eric Bogosian or what?

"This photo is taken by my dad (who is also the mysteriously looking fellow pinned up on the background wall) around 1983. It doesn't show what my mother is wearing very well, which is sad because she has always had a great sense of style. But I still find her astonishingly good looking in this picture! The hair, the eye makeup, the pose… it all coalesce into some kind of revised existentialist look, from the north of Sweden! My parents had quite recently met when they shot this photo. To me this is a great document of their artistic ambitions. Moving, since these ambitions were subsequently passed on to their daughter."
-Clara Dackenberg, photographer and painter, 25, Sweden

My Yahoo! Shine pal Becky Auslander shared this incredible '60s snapshot starring her mother and grandmother. While I'm not surprised she comes from glamorous stock, I can't get over the mathematically flawless collar-to-hat ratio. I also wish I was old enough to remember a time when a women could make a leopard print hat look as elegant as this. And let's hear it for the beautiful blond teen whose hair flip totally stands the test of time.

Becky thinks so too: see below. 

Dear Mom and Grandma, 
Happy Mother’s Day to the two most glamorous women I know! Thank you for reminding always to put on a little blush! 

It's that time of year again folks!

Every year around Mother's Day, this blog transforms into a virtual greeting card. Don't think this year is any exception. For the next three days I'll be posting your vintage photos along with your e-card messages to mom. Email photos and messages to momstyleicons at

What's that? Why yes, Mother's Day is also the first birthday of My Mom Style Icon, the book. I can't believe you remembered! If you need a last minute gift on Sunday, consider grabbing one of these badboys...
You can buy the book here, here, here or if you're really in a pinch, you can even buy it on Kindle for the same price as a Big Gulp (a drink that while refreshing would only be satisfying for you, not your mom.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Boardwalk Empress

Martine Holland writes: "This is a photo of my mom and dad in Ft Lauderdale, FL taken in 1975 ). My mom was a natural at putting together timeless, stylish outfits her entire life, up until she passed away in 2004 from Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 62. She taught me how to have that effortless style and that the bag (and fragrance) made the outfit, as you can see by the fabulous bag she is carrying. Her name was Rosalie (Mondani) Flaherty. She was from Connecticut and went to college in NYC. She moved to Boston, MA when she married my dad, and though she was a public school teacher in Milton, MA for many years, she took great pride in looking perfectly stylish everyday from head to toe. The memory of her amazing outfits and style makes me smile every day. Just look at those sunglasses! Also, worth noting, even though they would be cropped out if chosen, are my dad's shoes!"

Lets bring back: the white pantsuit

Nancy Perry Parsons, of Oklahoma, writes: "My mom, Donna Perry, always had a striking appearance – dramatic but never pretentious. Her clothes were timeless, and she taught me how to build a wardrobe of good quality classics and build them out with less expensive, trendier items. Her go-to wardrobe was a black turtleneck, black pencil skirt or slacks, and a gorgeous jacket. There were boxy shantung toppers in the 60s, knee-length brocade vests in the 70s, and bright shoulder-padded blazers in the 80s, always revolving.My favorite photo of her marks a departure, though. Visiting our cousins in the summer of 1972, she wore a white double-breasted pantsuit. Just sitting and relaxing, she’s regal and effortless all at once....That’s me in the pink dress, distracted as usual."

The best bow on the block

Jackie Hoffman generously shared this glamour shot: "This is Charlotte Hoffman, circa early 40's in Brooklyn, N.Y. Look how beautiful she is. At 90, she is still a looker. She is fabulously accessorized, and this outfit would be killer even today. Like many women of her era, she was far from wealthy, but not far from style. She is still an amazing shopper. As an actress who has gotten to wear delicious costumes on Broadway, and amass quite the wardrobe myself, I am proud to say I take after her. I wish I were as pretty!"

Classic Jewel

Laura Kline, and antique linen guru from Los Angeles, shared the photos that just blew your eyes out of your sockets:

"My mother, Jewel “Buck” Stewart Rochester, was never one for fads or trendy things. She taught me—and still demonstrates each day—that good taste is timeless, and good-quality items should be treasured. A great example is the wide, two-buckle, leather belt seen here on her in 1944 when she was a student at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi and which I wore myself in college in the early ‘70s and still have to this day. “Updated classic” was more her style, such as a well-fitted dark suit, a crisp linen dress, smooth, sleek hair and, always, without exception, make-up and lipstick every day—all in all, a beautiful, pulled-together look for her with her slim, petite figure, dark hair and fair skin. Today, at the age of 87, she still never faces a day without being “dressed” and her “face fixed.” To her, good fashion sense and style require mostly an eye for something that not only works well during the passing whims of fad, but also endures as classic fashion itself."

Hot suede pants

This photo was taken of Marcia Prentiss' mom in 1971 in Michigan at the tender age of 29.
Marcia writes: "During a recent trip home to see my family, my mom and I were looking at old pictures of her when she was my age. Then this usually follows a scavenger hunt in her closet to find her clothes from when she was in her 20s - yes she still has them! Of course, she makes me try them on and reminiscences when she was my age. I have gone through many different fashion styles, but on this last trip to see my mother I realized that she got fashion right. Now everything I am looking to buy a new shirt, dress, or shoes I think; what would my mom buy."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Harlem rooftop fashion shoot, 1942

Lorraine Duffy Merkl, author of the acclaimed novel Fat Chick, usually publishes her personal parenting anecdotes in places like the New York Times. So I was honored to have her share her own mother's memorable style exclusively for this here little window shop.

Lorraine writes:

"My love of vintage comes from growing up looking at photos of my now 88-year-old mother Angelina (Sacino) Duffy.

I have boxes of pictures with her in cocktail dresses, suits with peplum waists and shoulder pads, peg pants and all that was in vogue when she was a young woman.

This shot, taken on the roof of her apartment in the Italian section of Harlem circa 1942, is a particular favorite of mine. I love the strappy shoes, trousers, formfitting top to accentuate her small waist, and most of all the 'Take that Betty Grable' attitude.

Even though her family did not have a lot of money, my mother always managed to look stylish, because as a gifted seamstress she made most of her own clothes."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

To kick off 2012, a submission that double-popped my eyeballs then sat unfairly in my inbox for too long. Resolution: no stylish mom left behind in the new year.

Walt Young, part of the rif-raf on the water fountain posing with his family in 1962 in the German Alps writes:

"My mom, Elfriede Katherine Hoffman Scheuerecker Young, was born in Wurtsburg Germany in 1928. She grew up in Nazi Germany and survived several bombings from the Allied forces. She was blind in one eye from the flash of a bomb that almost killed her and her family. She worked from the age of 14 in war torn Germany to help her family survive and was a translator at the Nazi War Crime Trials since she spoke fluent German and English.

In the late 40's, she met my dad, an African American soldier from Bogalusa Louisiana. They fell in love, married, and raised 5 children at a time when interracial marriage was illegal in certain states in the South. When the Federal government under President Kennedy decided to integrate the south, the Army gave my dad orders to transfer to Jackson Mississippi from Darmstadt Germany. He stopped at the Pentagon to plead his case with the Army brass that this was a suicide mission for him and his family but his pleadings fell on deaf ears. We proceeded to drive down South to Mississippi but were chased by Alabama rednecks and took refuge in a military base in Selma Alabama. The Army brass came to their senses and redirected us to Fort Bragg North Carolina.

The picture, above, was taken in New York City, in Columbus Circle, around 1959, and features my mom holding my brother Al with me standing to her left.

My mom retired from the State of New York in 1994 where she was the executive secretary to the head of the Tug Hill Commission in Watertown, NY. She was an officer of the NSA...National Secretaries Association...and was the president of the German American club here in Watertown. She passed away in April of 2007.

She was a great woman who made many sacrifices for her family and who enjoyed life to its fullest."