|Dina and Lindsey Lohan|
Last week I was siting in Starbucks on a sweltering afternoon nursing an iced latte when I noticed two women hunched over cell phones. Both were blonde. Both were deeply tan. Both sported aqua blue manicures. Each wore flared designer jeans with rhinestones on the back pockets, accompanied by tight revealing tee shirts. Gold gladiator sandals adorned their feet. Louis Vuitton bags swung from their chairs. They were giggling and chatting and whispering in low, conspiratorial tones, two best friends bonding over coffee.
Then they got up to leave, and I realized that this pair was that of a mother-daughter.
When I was younger, and lived near my mother in New York, we spent many afternoons shopping, cruising the stores in search of the perfect pair of black suede pumps (her) and shade of pink lip gloss (me.) I have fond memories of movies we caught together and concerts we sat through. However, despite our shared living space and common interests, never once did we dress alike. My mother is conservative, spending her money at Talbots and Ann Taylor; I haunt thrift and vintage stores. I am certain she'd be as disinclined to raid my closet as I am hers.
A few weeks ago, CNN broadcast a segment investigating the trend of mothers mimicking the personal style and fashion of their daughters. Citing Lindsay and Dina Lohan as examples, CNN referenced a study out of Temple University regarding mother-daughter style emulation. Based on a survey of 343 Israeli mother and daughter pairs, researchers found that, in cases where mothers and daughters viewed each other as fashion-savvy and respectively youthful or mature, mothers were significantly more inclined to imitate their daughters than the other way around. The study suggests that moms are looking to become style doppelgangers of their daughters in a quest both to remain youthful and fashion-forward.
In a related piece in The New York Times, it is mentioned that many fashion industry insiders have noticed the growing trend among ordinary, non-celebrity mother-daughter pairs. As quoted in the Times: “I believe many moms defer to their daughters often out of insecurity that they perhaps missed a beat through the years, or the belief that, if you are younger, you are hipper and must be in the know,” said Sherrie Mathieson, a costume designer and celebrity style consultant based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Her 2009 book, “Steal This Style: Moms and Daughters Swap Wardrobe Secrets,” examines mother and daughter style sharing.
Joanne Arbuckle, dean of the School of Art and Design of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, believes the influence of social media and constant access to trends via internet had led a younger generation to gravitate towards more sophisticated offerings, which are then gleamed by their mothers. According to Arbuckle, mothers are more confident in their daughter's ability to be fashion-forward, thus making them sort of fashion role models.
“The lines are all blurred today,” Ms. Arbuckle said. “It’s not about, ‘You’re this age, and this is what you do."
There is no question that traditional standards of clothing marketed towards pre-teens and teenagers have blurred. In recent days, high-end designers such as Gucci, Versace, Stella McCartney, Lavin, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Marc Jacobs have all introduced clothing for children and pre-teens. This cross-over of sophisticated dress naturally results in both children dressing as their mothers, and the reverse. Add the proliferation of social media to the mix and it's no wonder that mothers are looking more towards their daughters for style inspiration.
I don't think there's any chance my mother would suddenly start dressing as me, and, to be honest, I'm not sure how I would feel if she did. But it's an interesting concept to ponder. What do you think of the trend of mothers dressing like their daughters? Have you noticed any examples of this trend recently? Do you and your mother share similar styles?