Words by Laila Hodd
My mum has been my guiding light and greatest influence in all aspects of life, as her mum was to her. Her positivity, authenticity and the joy she brings to others is awe-inspiring, and something that I one day hope to emulate. I am thankful to be growing more like her every single day and smile every time someone points out how similar we are. It is unsurprising then that she has had a huge influence on my fashion choices.
The greatest lesson she has taught me, and one that I will carry with me my whole life, is to be authentically myself in every situation I walk into. That and to not care what people think about me. While I’m still working on the last one, my fashion choices reflect the fact that her first lesson has paid off. I find comfort in an outfit that feels completely authentically me, and for that I am forever grateful to my mum.
In the process of figuring out who we are, and finding a style that reflects that, we all experience some fashion blunders. For me this included a lot of luminous colours and giant flowers in my hair. But I am thankful that my mum allowed these missteps, along with many non-fashion related teenage mistakes, because they were all lessons – without which I would not be so comfortable in myself or my style today.
It was this freedom to experiment that taught me to have fun with fashion and it is perhaps this desire to have fun that fuels our mutual love for animal print, clashing colours and anything remotely seventies in style. I also give my mum full credit for the, stripy, multi- coloured, knee high socks that I wore for my year six leavers photo.
While my brother and I were little my mum’s priority became her young children, her fashion choices therefore became more about ease and convenience than conscious style decisions. Despite this she never failed to look amazing, and her bright personality shone through whatever outfit she was wearing. It was this that taught me another lesson that will stay with me forever: it’s not the clothes you wear, but rather how you wear them that counts.
It is this lesson that I keep in mind whenever someone says, ‘I could never get away with that’. I am beyond thankful that my mum taught me, both intentionally, but also through her outlook on life, that I can ‘get away with’ anything I want to as long as I feel comfortable and happy. It is perhaps this attitude that has shaped my fashion choices, both good and bad, the most over the years.
Since her children have gone to university and my mum has finally got some time to herself, she is once again listening to her own advice. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my mum finally having fun with fashion again and feeling great about herself. In here lies yet another lesson. Fashion is a powerful tool of self-expression, but also self-love, through wearing what feels most like you, you are excepting and showing appreciation for yourself. For years this is something that my mum did not always do for herself because she was caught up being a mum, but it is something she has always taught me. This is therefore yet another powerful lesson from my mum that I will forever be grateful for.
The lessons that I have received from my mum in regard to fashion, as well as all aspects of my life, all have a similar purpose, and that is to do what makes me happy. It is through her influence and because of the space she granted me to always be myself that I am so comfortable in my fashion choices today. These lessons that she has taught me in regard to self-expression and fashion are therefore one of the many reasons I am proud to be my mother’s daughter.