my mom style icon

In honor of Mother’s Day last year, we shared beauty advice from our inspiring moms. This year, we’re still celebrating those stylish moms with a giveaway from Piper Weiss, the famed blogger and author of My Mom, Style Icon from Chronicle Books.  As she says, “here’s to the stunning, jet-setting divas who raised us: our first-and most important-style icons.”

moms- their style was born before we were

Did you get stylish good looks & luck from your mom?! This week, leave a comment about your favorite memory of your mom. We’ll pick three lucky winners to get two autographed copies of Piper’s book My Mom, Style Icon and the top three products from Benefit’s new b.right skincare line: it’s potent eye cream, triple performing facial emulsion, and refined finish facial polish.

The pretty little print: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Sweeps ends 5/8/11. See official rules here.


Piper sits down with Benefit to answer a few of questions about moms, beauty, and timeless outfits…

What do you think defines a woman’s personal style?

I’m not sure style needs to be defined.  It’s not something you should cling to, otherwise you’ll end up clinging to something that’s past. It’s the kind of thing that changes from year to year and is so much more dependent on external situations-money, kids, love, location- than anything else.  I’ve gotten several photos of moms in mini dresses or showing a little skin in a see-through shirt, and usually it’s around the time they just fell in love. Really clothes are just fabric designed to cover us up, but sometimes their timing is impeccable. People choose certain clothes as a reflection of what they’re going through in that moment, so they tell a story of that moment. But you don’t always have to rely on style for your story-telling.

Do you think how a woman thinks about what to wear has changed over the years?

It does seem like people had more prep time and accessories back in the 50s and early 60s. A high beehive could take up to 45 minutes to create, not to mention constant upkeep throughout the day. People sat down to do their makeup. And an outfit had so many parts: the hat, the brooch, the clutch, the gloves, the nylons, the scarf to protect your hair in the car. That amount of props we just don’t see today. I’m not sure if that’s because more women work around the clock and just don’t have time to primp and peacock the way they used to, or if we’re just spending all our time and accessory money on ipads and PDA.

What style advice would you pass along to your daughter someday?

None! I’d just want to watch her to see what she puts together. I’m sure it would change constantly as she went through phases trying to figure out who she is. (not that I have a kid, but maybe someday).  As a female, we’re hard-pressed to find someone who won’t give us advice on how we should look-from fashion magazines, to friends, to school administrators. I wouldn’t mind taking the pressure off my future daughter (let’s be honest, we’re talking about me here) and just let her pick colors she likes, textures that feel good and costumes that make her laugh. I’d much rather have a socially awkward kid than a popular fashionista type who up-downed me from the sandbox. I don’t think we’d get along.

What’s one fashion trend from the past you definitely don’t want to see again?

I guess I could do without the loose-fitting maxi floral dresses of the 90s which are coming back now; those are just about the most unflattering thing a short person like myself could wear (I learned that the first time around). Oh, blossom hats too. In my ‘opinionation’, a big honking fabric flower front and center on a hat is a bit much.

Why do you think it’s so inspiring for girls to see their mothers as style icons?

It’s like taking all those years of ‘you don’t get me, mom’, turned on it’s head. Put simply,  it’s cool to see our moms out of their element and in our peer group, it opens up a window into their past they may not volunteer on their own. It also makes your think about what it would be like to be their friend, now. I had the distinct notion that my mom and I would probably make each other laugh but there would be no question that she was cooler than me.

What is your must-have accessory?

I inherited a few amazing silk scarves from the 70s from my aunt who was blind. I remember pinned to each was a description in braille of their vibrant colors so she’d always match even if she couldn’t see what colors she was wearing; she was an impeccable dresser.

What’s your favorite look that YOUR mom wore back in the day?

At first my favorite was this mod-ruffled mini dress that looked straight out of rosemary’s baby. But lately, I’ve gotten into her look a year or two later (that’s important, since we’re talking ’67-’69). it’s a little more beatnik. She’s wearing a Moroccan vest with yellow embroidery over a black turtleneck, along with a pair of square-framed glasses (they were fake). It’s very rock-journalist chic.

What’s your favorite beauty look from the past that is still just as gorgeous today?

I love a pixie hair-cut and I’m also partial to fake lashes. Big smokey eyes that pop open and boyish hair-cuts, with rosy cheeks. It sounds like I’m describing a an antique clown doll, but I’m thinking more along the lines of Twiggy,  Mia Farrow and certainly, at least one of the moms in the book.

Thanks, Piper & good luck readers for our fabulous mom giveaway! See pictures of some Benefit moms & style icons…

37 Responses to “my mom style icon”

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  5. geekalicious geekalicious says:

    I LOVED reading all of these comments…and definitely laughed out loud a few times and repeated the stories to my coworkers. :) Thanks everyone for entering & sharing wonderful stories about your mom. Picking winners today & will email you directly. xo,

  6. athyng says:

    My favorite memory is from a recent vacation my Mom and I took to Florida. We went to Sanibel Island for a girls weekend. We had so much fun hanging out at the pool and swimming in the ocean.

  7. samsclub says:

    My favorite memory of my mom is her night time ritual. She shared with me when I was little her nightly habit of washing her face with Ivory soap, moisturizing with Pond’s cold cream and brushing her long, wavy dark hair. She was and is the most beautiful woman I have ever known.

  8. SoniaMonica says:

    Hello, I am from Japan :)
    My favourite memory of my mom is that
    I am 20 years old, which Japanese consider this age as “Adult.” We call the year when you became 20 as Seijin (means became adult). In Japan, it is tradition to celebrate this year by having Seijin Shiki (offical celebration party for people who became 20 years old that year)in January.
    But in order to attend this celebration party, people need to wear gorgeous kimono, wear pretty make up, hair done, nails done, and etc. to show up really beautifully. Meaning, it cost loads of money to prepare to attend this party. And I became 20 years old last month so I am allowed to attend the party next year, but I knew it costs a lot of money to attend the party, and the University I attend now is very expensive. And to be honest, I am Korean so I came to Japan as study abroad students so it is hard to get a license to work part time job in Japan. Thus, I told my mother that “I will not attend the party, I am not Japanese so it’s ok not to attend.” But my mother said,”What does the girl do without dressing up at such time?”and she allowed me to wear Kimono with gorgeous makeup next year’s Seijinshiki. Honestly, I really wanted to go to this celebration party because many Japanese friends said they are going, and they are already choosing their Kimono. So I am very happy and will enjoy this memorable party for sure. And thank you mom for letting me attend and wear pretty Kimono. I love how my mom understands how girls want to be pretty in such a special occasion. Now she is choosing with me that which Kimono I am going to wear. This is, and will be a favorite memory of my mom.

    • SoniaMonica says:

      I know rule says “legal residents of the United States” but since I love benefit and wanted to share the memory with people, I posted the message :)

  9. fallenskid says:

    My favorite memory of my mom (or one of my faves cause I have too many to count)- was one Christmas- I was giving up hope on Santa Claus. I guess my mom could tell that I started to doubt his existence because when I went to take a bath on Christmas night she set up a small tree with lights, put a few wrapped presents under it and put a hershey’s kiss beside the tree (the big kiss!) When I got out of the tub I saw the tree and just lit up. My mom was smiling and so happy. She said that Santa came back cause he forgot to give me a few gifts. I will never forget that! She has done that throughout my life- whenever I was losing faith or hope- she would just be AMAZING and restore my faith and hope with a small miracle. My mom is a beautiful and amazing mom!

  10. laniraffe says:

    I’m from Puerto Rico. I don’t come from a wealthy family but I’ve never put too many limits in front of myself because I’ve always wanted to achieve many things.
    When I graduated from highschool I got accepted into Colorado State University. It was my dream university but I had no means of paying.

    My best memory of my mom is when she said ” money isn’t a limit either, we’ll do anything it takes for you to go there and graduate”

    She packed my bags, went to CSU with me, we both applied for financial help and I’ve been happy ever since.

    Knowing that my mother has always and will always believe in my capabilities as a woman and a young scientist will always brighten my day.

  11. L@shesOut says:

    My favorite memory of my mom is when I was in 3rd grade and she took me to see New Kids On The Block Concert for Valentines Day!! She was the coolest mom EVER! I laugh so hard now thinking she had to listen to all those little girls screaming their heads off for hours and the horrible music. She must have had the worst headache ever. I cant wait until my daughter is old enought to take so she can experience it as a grandma too. lol

  12. MakeupJunkie says:

    As a child, I can remember me and my younger sister on numerous occasions, watching my mom, who was and still is a total fashionista, put on her makeup and accessories. I can remember thinking as she put on her bright red Chanel lipstick while explaining to us exactly how to master the lipstick applying techniques, how lucky of a man my father was. My mother was strikingly gorgeous and she raised 2 daughters the way any man would want his daughters raised. One day while she was putting on these FIERCE black leather gold spiked stilettos (my father was taking her out to celebrate for some sort of occasion, I asked her mom, dont those hurt your feet? As I had never seen such a shoe before and she turned and said to me and my sister, “now girls, the best piece of beauty advice I will ever give you is that it does not matter how bad your feet hurt, as long as they look good wearing the shoes” As a kid, I thought that was the strangest thing I have ever heard, but now as a women, I get it, and I often remind her of that moment, and what makes it even greater is that about 4 years ago, she passed those very same gold spiked stilleto heels down to me……LOL, I am lucky to have her as my mom!

  13. Emma.a says:

    I have so many!! One of my favorites is when she took me to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday. We had a blast just shopping and gambling and all that! I can’t wait for my sister to turn 21 so we can do it again!

  14. karigig says:

    Making my Mother laugh! She doesn’t always get my insane jokes but she laughs anyway:)

  15. hongkuin says:

    My mum has always been a strict mother. Nothing can goes wrong. There was once I need to repeat one year of study. I thought I would be scolded by her but she turned out quite unexpected. She told me:’ Don’t worry, I know you can make it this year.’ This is my favorite moment of her. She has faith in me. This actually makes me feel good. Thank you mum.

  16. A. Pardazi says:

    I have a series of memories in which my mom taught me how it was possible (and important) to look nice and well put-together despite having very little money. Pride in personal appearance doesn’t mean spending a lot of money but can be done with creativity and effort. Good posture, for example, is free!

  17. kelliechio says:

    My mom always helped me pick out a “special” outift for the first day of school each year. We started this tradition when I entered kindergarten and it continued until my senior year of high school. The first morning of each new year, she took my picture in the outfit and now I have a scrapbook to look back on those great times through the years. It’s a tradition I hope to carry on with my future daughter!

    Kellierosewilson at hotmail dot com

  18. rudy46n2 says:

    My favorite mom moment is Saturday mornings my mom would always play Elvis Presley songs while we cleaned house together, and yes dancing was part of the fun.

  19. patchwork says:

    My mom took me to the movies in order to watch ´Mary Poppins´. I was still a toddler, but I already fell in love with London at the time. I was lucky enough to study European Business Management there in my 20´s : great start in life, isn´t it ?

  20. avondarcye says:

    My memory is of me and my Mom playing Bingo together. We used to go often. I loved it.

  21. kimmcm says:

    My favorite memory of my mom goes back to when I was about four or five years old. In the afternoons when my younger brother was taking a nap and my older brother was at school, my mom and I would sit on the couch and she would draw whatever I told her to. I remember asking her to draw certain rooms, and saying things like, “Draw a fireplace. Draw a person in the room.” It probably was the beginning of my life-long love of art and interior design.

  22. OiOi says:

    I love the memory of my mom going out with my dad wearing her long opera length gloves, I always wanted her to stay and for us to be glamorous together. The babysitter, my dad & my sister could go do something but I really wanted me & my mom to be pretty together!

  23. Carin says:

    As the others have stated I have several memories of my mom. I guess the one that stands out is one that was constantly recreated. My mom was a single parent for many years (from elementary school til just before I graduated high school). She would always play a song “You and Me Against the World” by Helen Reddy and sing along to it (to me) at various points in life. In the song Helen Reddy is singing it to her daughter so it was very fitting. It was our anthem so to speak. As I got older and learned the words I would sing it with her and it because our thing. If life got tough we always had eachother. I know that no matter what life brings my way my mom will always be there to help me figure out what needs to be done and what to learn from all of it. I hope one day soon to have a daughter of my own to sing a song to.

    • Carin says:

      sorry had a typo! The line should read “it became our thing” not “it because our thing”

  24. sylviasylvia says:

    i have so many great memories with my mom, its hard to choose just one but here it goes! everytime my mom cleans out her closet, she always has some vintage goodies for me, whether it be vintage leather clutches, leather heels, all in amazing condition and quality. im lucky to have a super stylish mom who kept all her old clothes and accessories! i hope to do the same for my children

  25. Manders says:

    I remember watching my Mom get ready to go out. She would lie on her bed to zip up and button her leather pants. She’d slip on knee high boots and shimmy her way into an off-the-shoulder sweater. My favorite part was when she’d take her black kohl eyeliner pencil and light it on fire with a bic lighter. Quickly she would line the inner rims of her eyes to make the green “pop”. She would grab my hand and load me into her ’65 Mustang and we’d head off to parent teacher night at my elementary school.

  26. jilliansaldana says:

    To me, it wasn’t a celebrity or fashion model who drew me into fashion’s clutches. It happened to be my mom; who at the time was a twenty-something woman, with fire engine red hair, and lips to match. Every idea and concept I have learned was initially presented to me by my mother. I use to love digging in her make-up drawers and trying on her olive green eyeshadows, as well as every brown eyeshadow palette that existed. One of my first memories of adoration for my mom’s fashion sense was when she was getting ready for her 10th high school reunion. I remember lying on her bed watching her dress into her ivory skirt and suit jacket. She gracefully pulled the sides up of her hair, and pinned them back with a romantic barrette. Her smiling eyes looked for approval from my dad, and they were off. But before they left he placed a corsage on her wrist; just as if they were leaving for their very first dance. The flowers were red, of course. My mom has had classic pieces all throughout her life, and even some that were chances. I’m just excited that she kept the denim dress, which of course is all the rage in every magazine right now. The cool thing about having a mom who’s into fashion is that you can call everything she passes down to you VINTAGE! My mom, the one who pays attention to detail, and the one who truly showed me the beauty in fashion.

  27. jessrae1987 says:

    My mom and I always have a great time together, but my favorite memory is actually the most recent as well. I just met my mom in New York City about a month ago. It was her first time there. I got to show her a great city and just being with her (we live about 7 hrs away from each other) was awesome.

  28. Starwyshnn says:

    My favorite memory with my mother is when she would dress me to have my school pictures taken. She would take so much pride in my sister and my apperance and she would take time to make us feel special.

  29. mariela says:

    My favorite memory of my mother is not a single moment, but the way I will remember her for the rest of my life. We don’t have much, yet my mother struggles daily at work despite having a bad back, spinal tumor, and diabetes, so that she can support my siblings and I, as well as put us through college (3 of us are in college and 1 has just graduated, while the other is getting ready to attend college). She always tries to make us happy and to make sure we can have what we need: food, clothes, an education. I will always remember how deeply my mother has devoted her life to her family.

  30. Scarlett says:

    What an awesome giveaway! Thank you for offering it. :)

    My favorite memory of my mother has to be her and I watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ movies. She loved the grace of Ginger, the gowns and the old time glamor. Now that I’m older, I too, love these styles and always get sentimental watching Fred & Ginger.

  31. monica condurache says:

    god has given us lots of memories!each memory we keep with care means future happiness to share!my precious memory of my mom is when she saw her grandaughter for the first time it was priceless!my memories with my mom are and always be forever!i love you mom!

  32. Alix says:

    I have many favorite memories of my Mom. Every day brings new moments for me to treasure, but I do have a special moment that really stands out. It was when I came out to my parents. My mother just shrugged and smiled, but when she noticed that my father wasn’t being accepting she rose to the task of informing him exactly what was wrong with his response because she NEVER wanted me to feel ashamed of who I am. She taught me to love myself.

  33. kstone says:

    My favorite memory of my mother is when she use to take my sister and I to the park when we were younger. We would play on the playground and she would point and smile at us. She would push us on the swings. She then would take us to feed the ducks at the pond nearby and had bread in her purse. Those memories will always be with me.

  34. Dora R. says:

    My favorite memory of my mama is when she took us to buy a Christmas tree, we didn’t have enough have but she always made miracles. We had the best Christmas, I’ll never forget. She’s a strong beautiful woman, who taught me to always follow my heart.


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