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We asked around, and found out that many of the people we work with also look to their moms
for style inspiration. Here, some of our favorite moms (and a grandma) and an interview
with Piper Weiss, the blogger who started it all with My Mom, The Style Icon.

Click a photo to viewSee Contest Submissions

  • Elaine
  • Billy
  • Susan
  • Inta
  • Lepora
  • Carolyn
  • Diane
  • Kathy
  • Blanche
  • Ruth
  • Eleanor
  • Gay
  • Marilyn
  • Margaret
  • Carmen
  • Arlene
  • Jonette
  • Susan

Piper Weiss, the curator of the blog My Mom, the Style Icon, is funny, sarcastic and has a great love for fashion. We caught up with Piper to hear more about her good genes.

How did you get the idea to start this blog?
I stumbled on these pictures of my mom. And when I say stumble, I mean 'went digging through her cabinets and piles of photobooks when I was over at my parents' house last year.' I was bored and nosy—as is my nature. Anyway, I found these two photo albums I'd never really looked through before. They were pictures of my mom when she was single—in her early '20s. She was wearing arm cuffs, bell bottoms, high loose Annie Hall buns. belly chains and bikinis. She was a total late '60s beatnik. She was also gorgeous. The best part was that when I showed her the pictures, along with phrases like "Who the fuck is that?" and "Where the hell are you?", it unleashed some great stories my mom had never told me about her youth. Not necessarily because she was hiding anything but because she forgot—it was so long ago. I discovered she'd been to Morocco, Spain, Portugal. I also discovered we had a similar taste in men (ew). But seriously, she dated some hot hipster bearded guys. And in the pictures, they were smitten with her. But first and foremost, I garnered fashion inspiration. I loved her long embroidered vests, her mod mini dresses, her straight vixen bangs. It was a look I've been vaguely striving for, but it suddenly seemed attainable. So when she went downstairs to walk the dog, I scanned in several pictures—sans permission. It's hard to explain to parents that your putting their picture on the internet is being done with good intentions.

What is it about your mother's style that you love?
The takeaway: Fashion is fun. That was a lesson I wish I learned as a kid. I went to an all-girls uniform school in NYC. Getting dressed—when not in a uniform—drove me nuts. I never knew who I wanted to be, or how I wanted to present myself. It was a pre-teen identity crisis times 12. But in my later teens I discovered vintage clothing stores and even the Salvation Army and I stopped taking clothing so seriously. I started to think of getting dressed as dressing for a play. I could change my look whenever I wanted to, no one was holding me to one style. And that's the kind of rebel yell I get from my mom's vintage fashion. She's trying on looks for size—nothing is too serious. Of course, she did with more flair than I did—I still have a "Proud Irish Grandma" shirt I got for irony at the Salvation Army in college.

Do you think your mother's generation approached style differently than your generation?
For sure. More clothing was handmade. Many of the moms on the site made their own clothes. My mom would go to tailors and have dresses made to her specifications because it was actually cheap to do. So the result was that people had more individual style. They were still inspired by pop stars of the day, but their interpretation of trends was looser and more subject to creativity, out of necessity.

What does your mom think of the blog?
She really likes it. Though, I'm not sure how frequently she checks it. She is constantly paranoid that she's broken the computer when she presses the return key.

Did your mom keep any of her clothes?
Oh, she kept everything. I wear a lot of her chunky vintage jewelry, long beaded Native American necklaces, and wooden medallions—it's very gypsy. I also have a great cream colored blouse with '80s working girl shoulder pads, which I love (bring them back!). Not to mention a Pierre Cardin dress, and black bow blouse that buttons in the back. I love it though, I have been told I look like Johnny Cash when I wear it. Not sure if that's a bad thing...

Do you have any favorite photos that have been submitted to your site?
For sure. I love the mom is in a homemade Halloween costume, dressed as a beer can. It's not the most stylish outfit on the site, but it's got the most heart. And froth. Fashion wise: I love the '70s and photos that exemplify the positive aspects of mom jeans. Let me be absolutely clear: I love mom jeans! The more high-waisted and wedgie-tastic, the better.

Why do you think mom as a style icon is something that resonates with people right now?
It's attainable. You know what's not? Models. Super-rich celebrities. It's a lot easier to look like your mom—a woman who busted her ass and got creative with her wardrobe on a minimal budget—than to look like Nicole Richie or Naomi Campbell who have access to couture. I also think looking at pictures from the past tips you off as to where designers and fashion starlets get their sensibilities. It's a great way to mix and match: You can get ideas from old school looks and update with modern pieces.

What's the best piece of advice your mother has ever given you?
Well, she came up with the brilliant idea to stuff my bat mitzvah dress with gym socks. I was going for tissues and I'm sure that would have led to mortification. She had the idea to safety-pin the bobby socks to the lining of the chest of the Laura Ashley velvet dress so it fit me properly. PS-I still looked flat. The advice that stayed with me today? Probably outfits with balance. The old 60 percent skin rule: If you're going to wear a big top show some leg. If you're going to wear a long skirt, show some clavicle.

What does your mom think of the way you dress?
She's into it. I'm in a serious Diane Keaton circa 1981 phase. Popped collars, high-waisted jeans or jean skirts, blazers, high buns, light makeup. I grew up on the Upper East Side of NYC in the '90s. My look is a total rebellion of my youth: Now, I embrace the Upper West Side in the early 80's look. Take that, world!

What do you do when you're not blogging?
Im writing My Mom, The Style Icon—the book! It will be on sale in spring of 2011, published by Chronicle Books. The book will feature loads of vintage pictures and stories of stylish moms submitted by their offspring. It will also follow some of the stories of the mothers in depth. It's part style compendium, part historical archive of how people dressed across the world in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s.

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