I started messing with my hair at a fairly young age. My mother, who'd been coloring hers since she began going gray in her mid-30s, would go to the salon every five weeks to get her roots touched up — and I'd tag along, getting a trim in the process.
It wasn't long before those trims turned into a variety of more experimental (and expensive) cuts: straight bangs, side bangs, layers, highlights, all-over color, shaggy bobs, pixies... Every month and a half, Mum and I would pull out of the hairdresser's parking lot, her asking what I thought of my new 'do, and me, sobbing my eyes out over my latest rash beauty decision. It became somewhat of a mother-daughter ritual — albeit, a tearful one.
Eventually, Mum let her grays grow out, and I went off to college — and our weekend morning trips to the salon became a thing of the past. As I developed a style of my own, I sometimes wondered what fashion and beauty lessons I'd learned, if any, from my mother. I continued experimenting heavily with makeup, hair color, and style, often copying designer looks and wearing WAY too much eyeliner — and for a while, settling on an overly curated Blair Waldorf-type of aesthetic.
My mum, on the other hand, a child of the '60s and '70s Woodstock mentality, wore minimal makeup, refused to dry her hair in the summer, and preferred flowy maxi dresses to my patterned novelty tights, headbands, and mini skirts.
But as time goes on, I find myself drawn more and more to the types of clothes my mother wore when she was my age. Maybe it's just the current trend of '70s-everything, or my obsession with playing Joni Mitchell in the morning, but lately, my mum's become somewhat of a style icon to me.
Come summertime, I'm all about easy day dresses and caftans, just like she is. I've been wearing my hair naturally wavy (and occasionally, even middle parted) than ever before. And my sandals and heels are more minimalist than ever — I'd rather wear a simple leather slide or huarache than some ornate, bejeweled style; sometimes, I'd rather just go barefooted. (Speaking of, I asked Mum recently if she'd want to do a foot softening treatment with me. She declined, saying she likes her tough feet — better for walking around the yard barefoot!) My mother even told me that a backpack I bought recently — covered in colorful, patchworked Peruvian embroidery — reminds her of one she had in college.
Something else I've picked up from my mother? Always, always wear a watch. (She sets hers 15 minutes fast in an effort to avoid being late. I'm still working on that part.) It just feels so much more classic and organic (cheesy, but true) than checking your iPhone constantly to see what time it is. I actually just got a new one from Coach that I'm obsessed with... it has a very heritage-y vibe and is totally timeless (while still managing to tell the time, natch!). It might just be something I pass down to my own daughter someday. And for the record, Mumzy approves.
As for our monthly salon visits? Those have made somewhat of a comeback, too. Almost every time I take the bus home to Boston from New York, we set up a joint appointment with our favorite stylist (shout out to Nick at Dellaria Kenmore!) — only now, she's usually the one waiting for me to finish. There are also fewer tears (well, related to the haircuts, anyway). But sure enough, when they're there, so is my mum.
See? Sometimes, "becoming your parents" isn't a bad thing.