Saturday, December 16, 2017

Questions from Women In Clothes- Family Influence

This year I discovered a book titled Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others. Totally unlike any other book I've read related to fashion, it was researched and written by a group of women interested in the concept of personal style and what that means. They interviewed over 600 women from all over the world and all walks of life. The interview questions were thought provoking and the responses even more so.  I decided to use the book as an outline to better understand my own relationship to clothes and personal style. Please feel free to join me by answering the question in the comments sections. I'd love to hear from you!

Question: Did your parents teach you anything about clothing, dressing or style?

My parents never talked about dressing or style. Fashion wasn't a priority in our family. I had a very basic school wardrobe and was allowed to select one new outfit for each school year and one new pair of shoes. I distinctly remember wearing the same outfit- a rust colored corduroy wrap skirt and mustard yellow button down blouse multiple times during the week in elementary school. I really liked that outfit. My mother sewed a lot of my clothes. She was a good seamstress and sometimes she would let me choose the fabrics. I particularly loved a floral voile sundress- sleeveless with a little swooping back neckline trimmed in pink piping. (See photo below) We also received a lot of hand me downs from people at our church. Most of the clothes didn't fit but I do remember a pretty blue cotton sleeveless dress with embroidery at the bodice. I was always really interested in clothes and accessories- especially purses. It was what motivated me to start babysitting and earning my own money. 

I wore my favorite sundress in my 5th grade class photo

Question: Can you say a bit about how your mother's body and style have been passed down to you, or not?

My mother has always struggled with weight. As a child, I remember her always being overweight. When I see pictures of her mother I see that they had similar body styles. Short- 5'1" (four generations of women have maintained that same height) with a large bust, slimmer hips and sort of a stocky body frame. I have a painful memory of a camping trip when I befriended a girl from a nearby campsite. When I was visiting with her family, the girl referred to my mom as "the fat lady that we see carrying the water." It still hurts to think about that. I do remember her joining Weight Watchers and getting down to a size 10 or 12 and she began having some fun with fashion. Her female fashion icon was Katherine Hepburn. My body type is more like my father- leaner, more muscular but with my mom's boobs. To this day at age 87 she still weighs herself every day.

Saime Laine Bjorkman- My maternal grandmother

My mom visiting after the birth of my daughter, Jessica

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