There’s something about an old photo of a mom that exudes glamour, don’t you think? The mom in question could be wearing denim shorts and a tank top and sitting in a basement full of trash and still look absolutely, positively enchanting. What is that?!?! I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the telltale sepia tone of a bygone era, the visible signs of passé sartorial trends, the gentle revelation that the expanse of this person’s life is so much wider than the juncture at which she became a parent or all of the above.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Team Man Repeller recreated outfits from treasured photos of our moms to pay homage to them, their styles and the impact they’ve had on us. Find them below, and deposit your own favorite mom photos in the comments.


Harling (Me)

How old my mom was in this photo:

32.

A little about her outfit and why she was wearing it: 

My mom told me that we were in Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic when this photo was taken. She’s holding my sister Lizzy, who was four months old, and I am the recently minted two-year-old on the floor demanding to take her place. My mom couldn’t remember much about the outfit except that the batik shorts she was wearing came with a matching top that she swapped out for a black tank because “Lizzy spit up on it.” She recalled that the shorts had a comfortable waistband, which she appreciated after recently having a baby. When I asked her how she felt in the outfit at the time, she said, “I was much more focused on yours and Lizzy’s outfits than my own because I had only just discovered the thrill of being able to dress two kids in coordinating ensembles, so I didn’t think about my own clothes that much.”

What it was like to recreate the outfit myself: 

Quite easy, in the sense that the outfit was made up of very simple components. I just wish I owned batik shorts!

How my mom has influenced my style:

In countless, profound ways. She typically gravitates towards bright colors and patterns and unusual shapes, and she loves piecing them together into outfits that feel very much her. I was surprised I couldn’t find an old photo in which her maximalist aesthetic was more apparent, but she told me that when my sisters and I were little, she prioritized wearing stuff that was easy to wash and move around in. Her sense of style as I know it didn’t actually take root until I was a teenager. In hindsight, I guess that makes sense; my teens were a seminal time for me in terms of coming into my own style, and I found a lot of inspiration in my mom’s wardrobe and perspective. She is definitely the reason I am who I am when it comes to style, and because of that, the reason I work in the fashion industry, and because of that, the reason I get to wake up every morning and do something I love. I can’t imagine a greater gift besides life itself, which she gave me, too. Moms, man.


Leandra

How old was your mom in this photo?

34.

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it. 

We were in Mougins, which is a small town in the South of France that used to be inhabited by and visited by loads of artists. It was also a center that produced florals, and the economy there is still more or less driven by the production and sales of scented soaps and various other things that smell good. We were there for dinner, and my brother Haim (next to me) was being a shithead because he gives zero fucks about soap, so I recall that my mom was trying to get him to smile. She purchased the skirt she was wearing that same day! I actually own it currently.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself? 

I thought it would be a cop-out to use the same skirt but don’t have another in the same silhouette, so I went the route of approximating colors for the base look and actual products for the accessories — cue fanny pack and summery-ass closed-toe shoes. I’m pretty comfortable with how it turned out, to the extent that I actually ended up wearing the outfit for the rest of the day.

How has your mom influenced your style?

More than I give her credit for. I spent years combing through her closet when I was a kid and was always so surprised by how the clothes looked on their hangers or folded in the closet vs. how they looked when she wore them — like completely different garments! She taught me everything I know about building a sense of personal style. I can already tell that I will regret saying that on record! She won’t let me live it down. But it’s true, Mama.


Amelia

How old was your mom in this photo?

31 (which means I was a year old!).

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it.

We were at a park in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, visiting family friends. It was spring. My mom was wearing her favorite high-waist jeans (“which had zipper ankles, by the way”), a white ribbed tank top and a boxy peach cotton knit cable with a hat, of course; my mom wore a hat every single day until we moved to San Francisco. She was barefoot in this photo but owned a pair of white huaraches that she wore to their death — they were likely paired with this outfit earlier in the day.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

I already had one of the two most important pieces of this outfit (not including the baby): the sweater. I’d call my version “close-enough”; I got it recently after a friend who works at J.Crew sent it to me, but I had been searching for an equivalent of my mom’s sweater in this photo my whole life. (She doesn’t have it anymore.) The hat was the second most important part, because when I think of my mom, I think of big, big curls (although at this time in her life she had super short hair and a braided “rat’s tail” down her back; very ’80s) and a wide-brimmed straw hat. I borrowed this one from the Man Repeller fashion closet and tucked my hair into it — something I wouldn’t mind doing again in the future. I had no idea I’d like how this looks on me! I also really like how much it makes me look like my mom.

How has your mom influenced your style?

My mom’s style sways far more “bohemian”/vintage than mine. I tend to lean more “preppy,” like my mom in the top half of this photo, and her mom’s mom/my grandmother, Mimi. There’s a clear and direct line between my mom’s style and my own love for white button-downs, black one-piece swimsuits and anything “cozy,” but I’d say my mom’s greatest influence on my personal style has always been in her limitless support of my “sartorial self-expression.” With every phase I went through, she wasn’t just on board, but a full accomplice: She made me custom bell bottoms when I was in the sixth grade and the ’60s and ’70s were back among the Limited Too set. She took me to dip-dye my hair pink and helped source a multitude of spikes during my “punk” phase. The list goes on. Today, it translates a little more literally into home decor (she’s my interior decorator/consultant/treasure hunter), but she’s still without a doubt my favorite person to go shopping for clothes with!


Crystal

ASOS dress, vintage pants — similar here, Christian Dior cowboy boots

How old was your mom in this photo?

28.

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it. 

First, hi Mama, happy Mother’s Day, I love you endlessly! Mom says that this photo was taken Christmas day, when we were all on our way to my grandma’s house for dinner. She says she felt incredibly happy because she was on her way to her mom’s house. The outfit she’s wearing pretty much sums up my mom’s overall aesthetic. She’s incredibly put-together and buttoned-up, but always manages to maintain a little bit of an edge.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself? 

Well it wasn’t super easy, because much to the chagrin of Lydia (my mom), I do not own a cable-knit sweater or slacks. BUT I was able to style an outfit that honored her original look while also staying true to my personal style. I would toootalllyyyyy wear this again, even though I probably wouldn’t have put these pieces together in the first place had I not been trying to recreate her look.

How has your mom influenced your style?

I always say that “I am because she is” and “she is because Ella Mae (my grandma/her mom) was.” My grandma had impeccable style, and my mom passed down her style rules to me. We have VERY different tastes, but I do follow some of her style rules word-for-word:

1. Spend money on good shoes.
2. If you see a thrift store, don’t pass it by.
3. Save your money for quality pieces instead of investing in cheap garments that won’t last.


Louisiana

How old was your mom in this photo?

She says she was 29!

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it.

It was her “Saturday outfit.” She remembers that because she was wearing jeans, which she wouldn’t wear to work during the week. I think it is kind of representative of her taste and style now. She still wears a lot of minimal, classic pieces.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

It was actually really easy for me to recreate this outfit since it consisted of two really basic items (black long-sleeved top and medium-wash jeans) that I already had in my wardrobe. I’ve definitely worn this outfit before, and more than once! The only thing I didn’t have were the peep-toe shoes, but other than that, it was so cool to see how her outfit withstood the test of time.


Elizabeth

Madewell skirt, Levi’s denim jacket, Uniqlo T-shirt, Brahmin bag, vintage necklace that was a prop from the musical Hair, Gentle Monster sunglasses

How old was your mom in this photo?

25, a year younger than I am now.

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it. 

My mom was on her honeymoon in London in this photograph. She says she chose the outfit because “it was the ’80s” — touché, Mom. It was kind of a combination of clothes she would wear to downtown clubs and more conservative stuff. She had just taken the bar exam and was about to start practicing law. Gotta dress the part! The skirt was from Fiorucci and the jacket was Levi’s.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

A little tricky — most of my mom’s photos are in storage sadly. Also I will not wear a skirt this length ever again because I don’t like the length on me. I wish I’d been able to find a navy or black polo like hers because I love how she wore it.

Has your mom influenced your style?

Yes, of course she has — she is an icon. 🙂 But I think I’ve influenced hers, too!


Nora

Vintage overalls, novelty T-shirt — similar here

How old was your mom in this photo?

33 (she’s the brunette in the front in the overalls).

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it.

My mom was an actress/model for a bit in her youth, and this was backstage at the western-themed dinner theater show she did.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

Easy, I basically wear this outfit all the time.

How has your mom influenced your style?

The older I get, the more I dress like my mother: in low-key outfits that prioritize comfort, with some sort of statement accessory.


Haley

How old was your mom in this photo?

24!

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it.

From my mom: “I totally know where I was: Waimea Canyon, Kauai, on my honeymoon in August 1984. I remember the moment well because as we stood there, we watched clouds approach, rain all over us, and then move on. I’d never experienced something like that. But I don’t remember the outfit specifically or the tube sock (?!) situation. From all the other photos from that trip, it does seem to be pretty standard dress for me though. I laugh about those rolled up sleeves — that had just become a thing. I remember we all suddenly started doing it because it made our T-shirts look more stylish and feminine. And of course I had on large cheap sunglasses — very me. I now find it hard to imagine I wore such short shorts. I would never remember that about myself! I do remember the honeymoon was so fun though. We were from Colorado, so Hawaii seemed like another land.”

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

I purposely chose this photo because I love it and immediately recognized how easy it would be to replicate it with my own clothes. I draw a lot of inspiration from the ’80s when I dress casually like this, so it was a perfect fit. How cool does she look?! My mom has been perpetually tan her whole life (something she did not pass on to me), so I look considerably less carefree and sun-kissed than she does. Also less relaxed, but I’ll blame that on my living in New York and her vacationing in Hawaii. Either way though, I felt great and ready to jog at a moment’s notice. I didn’t want to take it off (and didn’t).

How has your mom influenced your style?

My mom always claims she has little interest in fashion, but her incredible backlog of stylish photographs says otherwise! Looking back, I can see the distinct thread of ’80s influence in her style throughout her 20s, 30s and 40s. The fun jackets and oversize blazers and big hair — all things I associated with making a woman look grown-up — were really just things my mom loved. Those are the things that make me feel grown-up now, too. I even have a couple of her old blazers for special occasions. Today, my mom’s not much into material things, but I still relish the times we get ready together. There’s something uniquely comforting to me about keeping her company while she blows her hair dry and helping her pick out a necklace. It reminds me of sitting in her bathroom as a kid, watching her “freshen up” with a keen, unwavering interest.


Matt

How old was your mom in this photo?

27.

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it.

This photo was snapped at my dad’s med school graduation party. When asked about the inspo for this particular look, my mom said it was a simple time and she prioritized function over aesthetic — especially since budgets were tight and “her world revolved around me” or whatever (thanks, Mom!).

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself? 

It was difficult in the sense that I was hopeful this assignment would provide an excuse for me to purchase the denim onesie of my dreams, but alas I couldn’t find one in time. It was fun putting this together (full transparency: the pieces are mine, but the styling was fully my boyfriend’s) and I was feeling it! 10/10 would wear again.

Has your mom influenced your style?

Umm…I stole one of her cropped denim jackets from the basement last time I was home and now wear it regularly, so if by “influenced” you mean “unwittingly contributed to” — YES!


Patty

How old was your mom in this photo?

26!

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it.

Mary Anne is in her element here: hanging poolside on a sunny day in a breezy outfit with a brand-spanking new human — me! This outfit is pretty indicative of her style; my mom looks beautiful in color and she keeps it radically simple. Example: my brother was two years old when this was taken, and my mom’s solution to him constantly pulling her hair was to cut it into this pixie.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

It made me realize that I don’t really own ANY yellow tops. I ordered this T-shirt from Amazon, settled for wearing white denim shorts and jazzed it up with some fun earrings and red slides in lieu of my mom’s cool red plaid. This T-shirt probably won’t get that much action, but I am soooo very into the idea of summer plaid. Eyes peeled!

How has your mom influenced your style?

My mom has always been supportive and endlessly patient with my style choices. I wanted to chop my hair off? Cool, let’s do it. I wanted to wear pink leggings with a (slightly different shade of) pink top covered with rainbow beads? Okay then! My mom influenced my style mostly by being a determined ally in fueling my independence.


Imani

Vintage shorts, belt, top, bag

How old was your mom in this photo?

19.

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it. 

This photograph was actually taken on my mom’s college campus. She was dolled up just for a regular day of class (I truly am my mother’s child). She was taking #OOTD pics before social media even existed! From what she remembers, she felt pretty cool — my mom was a New York City girl on an upstate campus, so she had a leg up in the style department.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

Recreating my mom’s outfit was quite easy, as many ’80s/’90s silhouettes have persisted through today. The twist was the styling; without this photo, I probably never would have paired my oversize jorts with an equally oversized button-down. Now that I’ve given it a try, I’ll probably be repeating this look all summer — you’ve been warned.

How has your mom influenced your style?

My mom has never let me leave the house without a pair of earrings, which I believe spawned my obsession for huge ones.


Starling

How old was your mom in this photo?

23 (my age!).

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it. 

Her older sister Polly took it while visiting my mom in Paris. She says it was right before ripping up sweatshirts became trendy due to Dirty Dancing.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

Adding a chambray romper to my wishlist as we speak. Sadly, a dress had to do for my recreation due to this wardrobe limitation.

Has your mom influenced your style?

Heck. Yes. In the fashion sense but also in her style of speaking, collaborating and creating. I’ve always admired her ability to see the value in people’s differences. I credit that skill for empowering her to found an elementary school in my hometown called Touchstone Academy, which gives kids a chance to learn in their own unique ways in a hands-on, supportive environment. I was a student there, and she was my principal!


Edith

How old was your mom in this photo? 

I’d guess 27.

Tell me about her outfit and why she was wearing it.

I didn’t ask her because I wanted it to be a surprise, so this is mostly speculation — sound off in the comments, Mom! (JK!) Though I do know that this photo was taken by a friend whom we still know. I’m pretty sure the coffee is from a Korean deli they used to go to together. They’re in Central Park, it’s a quintessential autumn day and she’s nothing if not dressed for practicality with the heavy jacket and the fancifully tied scarf. That’s my dad’s hand — he painted a portrait of the full photo, too! Did I answer your question here? Not really! Thanks for playing!

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself? 

I definitely ended up feeling more like an impersonator. To my disappointment, the Anthora coffee cup did not function as a time-travel device. I subbed in my favorite light bomber jacket from Equipment, though I ended up regretting my own lapse in judgment re: not finding a leather jacket to perfectly replicate her autumnal Central Park look. I totally fumbled on the side part. My mom and I are sharing the neck scarf I’m wearing (designed by the illustrious Happy Menocal for Moda Operandi) after going to the showcase together, so I was happy to have a chance to include it/have the outfit recreation come full circle in a funny way.

How has your mom influenced your style? 

My mom’s style continues to be more refined and tasteful than my own, so I’m still trying to keep up and learn from her. The best wisdom she is slowly imparting upon me is how to dress practically with personality (her sense of color is divine). I definitely wish we still had this chic leather jacket!


Jasmin

How old was your mom in this photo?

38.

Tell me about her outfit, and why she was wearing it.

She was on holiday in Israel in the Negev desert. They had just been on a drive and here she’s sitting down to have some tea (of course). Given the activity she wanted to wear something light and comfortable but also needed a jumper on her shoulders as the temperature in the desert can suddenly drop in the evenings. And a hat because sun protection is a must – she likes to say it’s primarily for function but we all know it’s more than that. Side note: my mum and my dad had his and hers versions of these shoes and matching jackets in the same color suede. Both were worn regularly in my formative years. She felt comfortable and appropriate for the activity – it’s a very her look, similar to her style now too.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

I initially had a different outfit in mind, one that included high-waisted LIME GREEN jeans with matching loafers. However, we could find the photo so opted for this one. For the most part it was pretty simple to re-create, but I couldn’t of done it without Eliz’s help! I kind of love it, felt very chic and put together. May add to my roster of summer outfits.

How has your mom influenced your style?

I like that she always swings between simple and chic to colorful and fun – growing up sometimes she’d be in a crisp white shirt and checked waistcoat and then other days in lime green jeans or bright red kaftans. I think I’m definitely in a similar mindset with my style at the moment where I don’t feel confined to just one type of look. Looking through old photos for this shoot was definitely an inspiration booster!


Ashley

How old was your mom in this photo?

She was fresh out of college so probably 22.

Tell me about her outfit, and why she was wearing it.

This photo was taken the week of college graduation. She had graduated early but went back to school to walk in the big ceremony so it was her first time seeing a lot of her college friends in months. She wore a blazer and a sweater to let the world know she was grown-up and sophisticated but she was also still fun and Debbie so she kept it chill with her favorite clothing item: shorts.

What was it like to recreate the outfit yourself?

My mom and I are complete opposites style-wise. I suspect it’s because she’s very short so she gravitates towards patterns in order to stand out. She sent me a slew of photos that I couldn’t even begin to fathom recreating using my own wardrobe. We are both big shorts people, though, which made that part easy.

How has your mom influenced your style?

A few years ago my mom did a mega wardrobe clean-out and I started going through a lot of old things that I’d never even seen her in. I kept some of her cool T-shirts and random jewelry. A few years ago, when I stopped wearing only jeans and plain tanks, I realized how fun it was to use her random pieces to dress up my otherwise boring wardrobe. I’ve also adopted her mantra that you can never have too many shoes, which stresses out my New York closet.

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