Who’s Your Style Icon?
Most women glean style inspiration and tips from other women they consider stylish.
These women typically hold superior social status and become iconographic to our culture. The lovely First Lady, Michelle Obama, Adele, Lady Gaga, Audrey Hepburn, to name a few are all style icons.
Some of these women have influenced my own sense of style and some I admire for their art, though I have no desire to emulate them. I especially enjoy how the first lady can inspire fashion and grace in our country, just as Jackie Kennedy did, but today I am remembering my beloved grandmothers, who considered grace a virtue.
Much of my style sense came from them. In their own ways, they were my style icons. Much of what I do, and don’t do is a result of their influence. They were similar in that they both came from the mid-west, were excellent seamstresses, had lived through the depression and each was creative, resourceful and loving.
They could not have been more different in their style and how they presented themselves in the world.
Nean, would never leave the house without lipstick and make up expertly applied, shoes and bag perfectly matching. She always wore a house coat so she would not spoil her clothes and would go to bed at night with gloves covering her hands to let the cream soak in. She had the softest hands I have ever known. I remember sitting on the bathroom counter watching her “put her face on”. She loved Meryl Norman and Helena Rubenstein and kept her makeup in a bright orange plastic box. Now I have that box, and I still love that it smells like how I remember her. I aspire to keep my hands soft too, but probably won’t reach her level of softness as I like to garden and forget to wear gloves. No matter.
My other grandmother, Olive, would only put lipstick on when expected to; mainly, PTA and American Iris Society meetings, etc. It’s not that she did not care about her appearance; she did. She just had a different style in how she chose to be out in the world. There was a time to dress up and a time not to. If she was not required to dress up, why bother wearing makeup? I don’t think she wore house coats either. She had piercing blue eyes and the most extraordinary hat collection she made that always brought out the deep blue. One of my favorite skirts she made in Los Alamos during 1942. I am lucky it fits. When I wear it, I imagine her wearing it. I can also remember her speaking out in support of gays, democratic politics and women’s rights.
One grandmother, coming from a farming family that valued education in all beings, was formally educated. My other grandmother was given a full scholarship to college but was not allowed to go because her parents felt that education was wasted on girls. These very different approaches affected their senses of self. Confidence and grace came from different kinds of education, formal or not.
Both of them impacted me greatly in so many areas of my life. It was expected I would graduate from college, sharpen my intelligence and nurture my creative self. In some ways I am a blend of their two styles and as I become older I am more in awe of them and am honored to be their granddaughter.
What about you? Who is/was your style icon and why?
There will be more coming on this style icon topic, keep in touch!