EVER SINCE my first growth spurt I’ve labored under the delusion that I can wear my mom’s clothes. Time and time again I would pillage sheer blouses, draped sweaters and sleek dresses from her closet, in the hopes that this time they would fit perfectly, transforming my mid-teen awkwardness into polished sophistication. For reference, it was kind of like when you open the fridge the umpteenth time, somehow expecting a new snack to have magically appeared. Fast-forward to college, and I’ve finally reached the point where I can actually share clothes with my mom — and believe me, I’ve milked it (if she asks, no, I haven’t seen her tan cashmere sweater or drawstring bucket bag). And even better, I’ve begun to build my own wardrobe with pieces that fit my age and budget. But I still definitely take style cues from my mom (as seen by the amount of black currently in my wardrobe). So, using the end of summer as a convenient excuse for shopping, I found myself some back to school (or work) basics, with options for both Mom and me.
One thing I’ve definitely gotten from my mom — the constant need for another layer. A button-up is the perfect cover-up for tanks and T-shirts that are perfect for end-of-summer heat but not so much for chilly classrooms or offices. I’ve gotten way into the tied-around-the-waist look over a dress or leggings, but grown-up girls can keep it polished by buttoning it up with black jeans and booties.
My mom’s go-to summer dinner outfit is white jeans with sandals and a dressier tank. So in her honor, I bit the bullet and tried on the requisite million pairs of white jeans before I found ones that weren’t see-through, creased or stiff. Thank you, American Eagle! And while the season for white may be coming to a close, pairing them with the aforementioned chambray is a perfect summer-to-fall look.
I almost couldn’t bring myself to try on a sweater in this heat, but this one from Brandy Melville was soft and cozy enough to make it worth my while. I’ve always thought of this kind of soft gray as a very “mom” color (and trust me, that’s not at all a bad thing). The ribbed texture and slight crop set it apart from my hoard of neutral sweaters (and did I mention how soft it was??). And it’s not too heavy, so I don’t have to wait until deep winter to break it out without also breaking out in a sweat.
My love affair with Old Navy is nothing new, but they really raise the bar on affordable fashion when it comes to outerwear. For the past two summers I’ve been obsessed with a black linen jacket with an asymmetrical zipper, bought on sale for under $30, so I was thrilled when I spotted this colder-weather version in stores. The heather-gray color beats predictable black, and remaking the moto-jacket in something other than leather adds a whole new level to the piece. It’s warm enough to be an actual coat, but not too bulky to wear all day as a blazer alternative.
I wear my mom’s scarves more than any other article of clothing, and not just because they’re one size fits all. Scarves help with the aforementioned always-cold problem, and for our mother/daughter neutral/black-heavy wardrobe, they’re a ridiculously easy way to add color. This blue plaid scarf/wrap hybrid brings the typical leggings and sweater look to the next level, and no matter how you drape it it somehow looks artful and grown-up. Plus it can double as a blanket in a pinch. Score!
— Emily Harburg
Emily Harburg is MyLittleBird’s summer intern. Her last post was on some publishers’ new favorite word.