All The Rage

The Image staff muses on the culture of
keeping up appearances

« Previous Post | All The Rage Home | Next Post »

Mom and Dad as style icons? Yes!

May 5, 2011 | 10:15 am

Our analog society is increasingly becoming a distant memory. But two recently published books are nudging us to celebrate a time when photographs were arguably more candid and pants were considerably higher-waisted.

The photo-driven “My Mom, the Style Icon” and the collection of essays  “My Parents Were Awesome” invite us to draw sartorial inspiration from an unexpected source — our parents. Or grandparents.

ViviennedavisThe two books feature images of fabulous beehives, covetable Buddy Holly frames and gloriously untamed tresses. They tell tales of admirable style and parental devotion that come from individuals with whom, as teenagers, let’s be honest, we wanted nothing to do. The books first took life as vintage-tinged blogs, and the websites are still active, providing a warm fuzziness in an often snarky blogosphere.

Piper Weiss, 32, created “My Mom, the Style Icon”   after rifling through her mother's closet and discovering rapturous vintage items. Since last year, the website has continued to swell with stories of stylish mothers and grandmothers with submissions from all over the world. The book expands on those stories with sections that feature weddings, mom rebellions and traveling with pantsuits. There’s also a tribute to lucky dads, who look on dotingly at their stylish ladies.  Celebrity mothers are sprinkled in the book, including the demure mother of singer Karen O and Chloë Sevigny’s mother in wedding white.

“The 200 women in this book have become kind of famous to me," Weiss says. “You know, I haven’t met most of them, and I probably will never meet them. But they have become these people that when I see an item of clothing or hairstyle, I think of them like they were Audrey Hepburn.”

The editor of “My Parents Were Awesome,” Eliot Glazer, 27, cobbled together his website in 2009 with a similar positive aim. He considers the blog and his book as a way to honor a time when your parents were hip, and photos were more organic instead of hand-selected for Facebook.

“There’s not necessarily a lot of places where we can use a platform to show devotion to our parents and our grandparents,” Glazer explains.

  Janineseginy2_aThe book features essays penned by comedians and well-known writers who tell stories with wit and searing honesty. One contributor, Christian Lander, better known as the writer of "Stuff White People Like," describes a photo of his dad attired in a skinny tie at his parents’ wedding with both astonishing envy and admiration. “What bugs me the most is the simple fact that my dad looks fantastic,” Lauder writes. “He looks like he’s about to leave tomorrow to write an Esquire  feature on William Burroughs.”

-- Sophia Kercher

Photos, from top: Making appearances in "My Mom, the Style Icon" are mom Vivienne Davis and Chloë Sevigny's parents, David and Janine Sevigny.