I’m dedicating these ensembles to Yvonne, my late Mum. She would have turned 74 this year and I often think about what she would be wearing if she were still alive. We’d have shopped together, sharing our passionate likes and dislikes for items along the way. I miss those candid shopping trips with my Mum.
Mum was an hourglass who became more apple shaped as she got older, with long slim legs and a shorter torso. She was small boned, 5ft 5 inches tall, and wore about a size US6. She loved to eat rice and used to call her curvy midsection, “mijn rijstbuikje!”, which directly translated from Dutch means, “my rice tummy”. The “little extra” that she carried around her middle did not prevent her from eating rice almost daily, but she stayed away from styles that were clingy on the midsection.
She enjoyed a classic, tailored, pretty and ladylike look. She liked items with a feminine flounce and a soft touch. She was a silk blouse lady through and through. She wore lots of patterns and favoured batik and spaced florals. She did not wear anything remotely Tomboy or Hard Edge. She never wore black shoes. She started wearing jeans in her late fifties, and only in white because they’re dresser than blue denim. She wore comfortable refined one inch flats most of the time, but sported a low heel for dressier occasions.
She was a light brunette, or dark blonde, with a peaches and cream complexion. She had very expressive eyebrows and large blue eyes that pierced right through you when she opened them up wide. She loved earth tones, most shades of pink, light blue, black and white. She was never without a pair of bright red shoes and handbag, and always wore lots of real gold jewellery.
My Mum might not be here in person, but she’s always in my heart when I shop. I think of what she might say about particular items. I like to identify the items she might have picked out for herself on the racks. She last lived in coastal Cape Town in a mild Mediterranean climate, where it always cools down at night. These are the casual outfit combinations I think she would have liked to wear for Spring and Summer 2015, at age 74.
Patterned Culottes & Soft Blouse
Mum LOVED to wear full midi skirts, which is why I think she’d have liked the soft culottes trend. She wore culottes in the ‘70s, so it would not have been a stretch. I chose an earthy pattern with lots of drape and length. I matched it with a soft white blouse with diagonal sleeves because Mum would not wear sleeveless anymore. She would have tucked the blouse to create structure. She liked to wear cushioning sandals in the Summer time and red sandals were her favourite, along with a structured red satchel.
Ankle Pants & Patterned Blouse
Mum would have liked the ankle pants trend and she would have worn them four inches above the ankle bone. She liked black pants, but she probably would have been just as happy in a geometric or floral pattern. She would have paired them with an untucked breezy silk blouse in a pattern with rolled tab sleeves. Or an open weave Summer sweater in an earthy mushroom tone. Pointy toe d’Orsay flats in a shade of brown would have been her choice of footwear.
It gets hot, windy, and the glare of the sun is very bright in Cape Town and my Mum was never without a pair of oversized sunglasses in a shade of brown. She often wore a huge straw hat with a wide brim.
It just occurred to me that my Mum’s preference for shoes in all shades of brown bookended her hair perfectly.
White Jeans & Flouncy Blouse
We’d have updated Mum’s denim capsule with white bootcut or bell-bottom jeans. I chose a romantic, flouncy silk black blouse to wear untucked, and a cotton blouse in blue and white to wear tucked with a toffee belt. A low-heeled toffee pump to wear with the flares would work, or a pair of low wedge tan sandals. Mum tended to rotate two handbags a season, so I’m adding a structured toffee satchel to complement the red one above. Ostrich-textured leather (faux, not real) was a favourite.
Although I haven’t created the outfits here, Mum would have liked to wear soft wide pants in a solid linen or silky pattern, pairing them with a slouchy open weave pullover over a cotton camisole. She would not have worn boyfriend jeans, but would probably have worn straight white and black jeans or city chinos, rolling the hems for the boyfriend jeans effect. And she’d have totally worn a soft cocoon dress that just covered the knee, paired with light brown sandals.
Most importantly, my Mum would have continued to demonstrate that you can have fun with fashion at ANY age. We at YLF wish all Mums a very happy Mother’s Day.