An Essay: You Never Know Until You Try


Here my mom and I are in Jaipur–freezing our buns off! Joanie was visiting us in India, and she was able to come on the student trip I was chaperoning. What a fun trip!! She was my adventurous travel partner up for anything!

I wear leopard–a lot. I love patterns–paisley being one of my favorites. Super bright–well maybe on the verge of loud clothes are my staple. As I am writing this my skirt is bright blue and hot red leopard, and it has been paired with a polka shirt–not to mention red lips and blue eye lashes. Basically I take risks daily with what I wear. I whole heartedly admire an urban chic look, yet it’s a look I can never pull off–I end up always adding some pop of color or a gazillion accessories. I feel naked without a bold lip or a slew of jewellery. My clothing usually has some story attached to it and helps to lift my mood and set my day. I definitely have an adventurous spirit with clothing and style; I believe this may be attributed to my mother. Recently she celebrated her birthday, and although I am not with her, I wonder if she knows how much she has helped to shape how I dress. I have so many memories of her that revolve around clothing or shopping or deciding what to wear. I thought I’d take a walk down memory lane and celebrate this gift of my so called style that she gave me without her even knowing it.

Basically as a young girl, I would try anything! If she thought it would be cute, I completely trusted her. Wearing a uniform everyday meant I didn’t have many clothes, but I always had one nice outfit for any special occasions and of course the yearly class photo. I recall one year my school picture was especially sharp: I felt utterly cool and definitely stood out in this alternative get-up. It was the matchy-matchiest of outfits, but it made me feel so put together. I’ll start from the bottom and work my way up to the grand finale: black loafers with white knee highs, tailored black bermudas that hit right above the knee, a white oxford shirt, and to (literally) tie it all together a red, black and white tie. No, no other girls were wearing ties! Nor were the boys for that matter, but I felt so cool in this extremely well put together outfit. I was the epitome of preppy chic! My mom encouraged me to take chances, and with her approval I always did–and as a matter of fact I still do.

Around the end of summer, we began to notice our mom would vanish for a day. We never had any idea where she went until she arrived home. On these special disappearances she’d come into the house and unleash bags filled with clothes and school supplies. The bags were plastic indicating she’d been to K-Mart (Target and its coolness hadn’t arrived yet). No matter! Oh, this day was second best to Christmas! The items would just keep pouring out. With five of us, there was little envy but more excitement for each other’s gained treasures. Once we’d all been parcelled our new goods, the fashion show would start. We’d try on our new digs just hoping that they’d fit. They always did–back then I don’t think returning items was even a consideration let alone an option. Plus, our mom just knew; everything always fit, and we always really liked what we got.

Once I got into high school, it wasn’t so easy to just bring home a dress for dances or special events. It was time that I joined her in the art of shopping. At this point in my life, we actually started walking into department stores–usually the Bon Marché–which is now Macy’s. These shopping excursions with my mom were pure bliss for me. It was during these shopping trips that I gained my eye for fit and body type. I can just tell if something will look good on someone. Basically, I would try on every single dress because “you never knew till you tried it on,” as my mom would say, and she was right! There were so many dresses that I would have never considered, but on the body (in particular my body) looked great. My mom was teaching me to have an open mind and not count anything out until a chance was given. While I’m talking about clothes, I like to think this application goes much further, and I am a pretty open minded person.

I was recently asked what I think my style is. For the life of me, I don’t know how to categorize my “look.” What I do know is that because of my mom, there are a few traits I do have when it comes to how I dress myself. I always take chances, I embrace color and pattern, I am thrifty and crafty with my wardrobe, and I absolutely adore all of it! Mom, thanks for helping to shape one of my passions–which is fashion!

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  • Christy Lukes

    I love this! Your mom is such a great lady!!