What My Mum and Stepmom Taught Me About Fashion

When you hear that someone’s a child of divorce, your first thought isn’t usually #blessed. However, after my parents got divorced at age three, and my dad remarried an amazing woman who I love like a third parent, I realised that there can be some unexpected perks to the whole shebang.

One of the more superficial—but equally rewarding—results? Extra fashion advice! Although neither my mum nor my stepmom would consider themselves Louboutin-loving fashionistas, they’re both stylish in a pared-back and accessible way. They share certain strengths—the privileging of comfort, for one—while also harboring others that are totally foreign to the other person. Lucky for me, I grew up absorbing the best of both worlds!

Because their style advice is so universal, and had such a profound effect on my own clothing choices growing up, I thought I would gift you with this guide to their best tips.

Scroll down to read their best fashion advice, and shop all of the relevant products, too!

Cheap bags do not go well with heavy loads, so investing in a well-made tote is crucial for lugging around your daily load. Opt for something fairly neutral that you can pair with any outfit.

This is pretty self-explanatory, but it's just not worth it to spend time in any clothes that will have you feeling insecure or uncomfortable. Life is too short, and there are too many other options out there to bother!

While an old t-shirt and shorts was usually my go-to for bedtime, my stepmom taught me that a nicer pair of PJ's can go a long way in framing your attitude the next morning. I find that I'm way more motivated and excited for the day when I'm not dressed like my hungover, collegiate self.

My mum taught me the importance of scarves, as she owns many iterations and has a tendency to finalise her outfits with one. They're such a versatile accessor, adding oomph to any look, and, on days that you need it, giving you something to shroud a bit of your hair with when it's not looking so hot.

Simply put: just because you're going to be knee-deep in snow doesn't mean you have to totally give up on looking stylish. Although most winter boots are the antithesis of chic, if you dig deep enough you can find pairs that are both attractive and durable for the stormier months.

Stuart Weitzman 5050 Stretch Suede Over the Knee Boots ($635)

I learned just how crucial high-quality basics are from these women, and chief among them? Black pants that you can wear with anything, to any type of event. Naturally, they've proven to be my best investment.

Both my mum and stepmom have finely tuned closets, with everything precisely folded and hung up by category, and it makes their lives a lot easier. After spending years with a chaotic closet, I finally transitioned over and have never looked back.

Scroll down to shop some of our favourite organisation tools…

The Container Store Black Huggable Hangers Value Pack ($20)

Another organisation tip they bestowed on me is their penchant to frequently purge their closets of anything and everything that isn't getting worn. They were both Kondo-ing before we even knew who Kondo was! The only exceptions here are pieces you can see a future daughter loving for herself (because how fun is going through your parents' old gems?)

Overdoing it on the jewellery front can do more harm than good, no matter how nice each individual piece is. I've learned from them that sticking to two pieces, like a pair of earrings and a bracelet, is your best bet.

This is one of my favourite tips, and I follow it religiously. My dad didn't always understand my stepmom's choices (fashion wasn't exactly his forte), and I'm sure the same went for my mum's selects when they were married, but that never caused her to change her chosen ways. Both women have always stressed the important of putting yourself and your preferences before those of a potential suitor.

In middle and high school, I found myself borrowing from my stepmom's amazing collection of tanks and tees more than anything else, without realising that it was because I lacked anything comparable. As I got older I realised that I, too, needed to stock up on the best quality tops I could find and, like the black pants mentioned above, they get the most wear of anything in my closet.

Working out in a grubby old tee shirt and shorts is not a recipe for success, and can often contribute to feeling bad about yourself at the gym. My stepmom, an exercise fiend, taught me that shopping for cute but comfortable workout wear can make all the difference.

I never realised how poor my sweater selection was until I moved to Chicago and was freezing in all of them. Whenever my mum or stepmom would visit and I borrowed one of their's, I was decidedly warmer and realised it was because there sweaters were truly well-made. I quickly got rid of the cheapos and, over time, invested in a few higher-quality options.

Dagmar Lauren Merino Wool Sweater ($190)

What style advice have you received from your mum? Share with us in the comments!