When Your Mom is a Style Icon (and your Dad and aunt too)

23 Apr

from left: Mommy, Daddy, and Tantine (auntie)

I love Piper Weiss’ blog ‘My Mom, The Style Icon’ which can be found at momstyleicons.blogspot.com

But then again, I love all style and photography pre-1980’s, although I grew up afterwards. So I thought about all of the elements that made my mother a style icon and the cultural context that gave rise to it.

The picture above takes place in 1970’s DR Congo (otherwise known as Zaire, back then.) It was the era of ‘l’authenticite,’ when President Mobutu Sese Seko ordered the citizens of the country to dress in African garb. Of course, young people back then knew there was no such thing as cultural purity, so they re-mixed styles traditional to their cultures with what was en vogue across the Atlantic.

The results? Bell bottoms were all the rage, as were Afros, espadrilles, and of course dashikis. Of course, being that they were in Central Africa, the ‘African’ element is heightened through the wearing of ‘pagnes’ on femailes (brightly colored cloth you wrap around your waist)- but on my mom, the pagne is paired with a clear anti-thesis- an ‘I Love New York’ tee, but any other western-style printed T-Shirt will do.

Necessary elements:
-wax print cloth to make a pagne (or button-down shirt, or how about the cute blouse my aunt is wearing. Gorgeous!) If you are in Harlem, this is easy. But if you are from anywhere else, just take a quick look online. There are plenty of options. And if you are like me, having gone to a country on the continent, bought tons of fabric, and have still done nothing with it, get to work!

AKN Fabrics can be found in NYC or you can order by phone! aknfabrics.com

-If you have a sewing machine and you know how to sew, this is easy. Measure yourself and do what you do. Unfortunately, I will have to get mine done at a tailor.

-for the T-shirt and pagne look, you can match by choosing one color from your pagne to go with a fun tee like ‘I Love New York’ or ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ but don’t go overboard trying to look too pulled together. It spoils the fun. Or you can not match at all. But make sure to get if fit nice and snug to your body.

And for the ladies, final step is a pair of flip-flops or cute espadrilles. And you’re good to go.

from meetmarkcosmetics.com

Bon Voyaj,



2 Responses to “When Your Mom is a Style Icon (and your Dad and aunt too)”

  1. voyajer79 April 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Oh, an don’t forget the gold jewelry- only 18 kt plus will do. Then you’re done!

  2. Guerick April 24, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Femme noire, Femme Africaine…..
    From Kinshasa, Accra, Brazza,
    N-Y, LA, Paris or London…there is always somthing about them (some more than other of course…) I had the grace to grow up around some amazing women (mumzy, many of her sisters…and not least many of my sisters) and they .made of me who I am…They thaught me (and some still do) a lot through the way they carry themselves, African values, sense of the family, music, food and yeap I grew up to learn to appreciate, respect and LOVE a woman’s worth…So thanks to all the Ladies in my life and will always love ya!

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