I remember it like it was yesterday. My skinny jeans were so tight my circulatory system was starting to despise me, and my arms were so theatrically crossed you’d think I was trying to boa-constrict myself…each rack of clothes presents a new challenge, a new journey, but my mom and I seem to be traveling to opposite ends of the world. Going shopping with my mom at any point during the mid-2000s was like one constant melodramatic back-and-forth sass fight over what she thought was cute and what I insisted on wearing.
As my TV preferences evolved from Lizzy McGuire to The Hills to Sex and the City, my style evolved as well. Little did I know, my slight obsession with wood, leather, and turquoise was just the beginning of an entire style revolution aptly named, “Turning Into Deb.”
My junior year of high school I began commandeering my mom’s old denim jacket. She and her friend Barbara were exploring Melrose when my mom first spotted it at a hole-in-the-wall vintage shop. The denim was worn and soft, the edges were frayed, and both shoulders were torn, but the price tag was brand new and read upwards of $200. She decided she couldn’t spend that much on an old jean jacket—no matter how much she loved it—and then Barbara surprised her with it. The jacket already had a history to which my mom was able to add a few stories, and now it’s my turn to do the same.
When I went off to college she gave me her favorite leather coat from the ’80s, and when I started my sophomore year she gave me her faux fur. My mom gave me these things because she’s generous, but also because I had fought her for so long and she couldn’t wait for the day that I would look at her closet with admiration instead of an eye roll.
Every time I go back home now, I realize that our closets are growing to be carbon copies of each other. To be fair, my closet would naturally be the copy—hers the original. My affinity for all things white, crocheted, fringed, or cozy just screams, “Debi’s daughter”—aided by the fact that my collection now consists of vintage hand-me-downs mostly stolen from her closet. (Can it be called a hand-me-down if you just take it?)
At the end of the day, we all had our hormonal, conformity-obsessed middle-school days, and even though our moms probably wanted to rip their hair out when they saw us pick out the ugliest thing at the mall, they took us shopping anyways. I’ve come to realize that my mom has the best fashion sense out of anyone I know. So thank you, Mom, for your hippie shirts, your oversized button-downs, your vintage coats, and—most importantly—thank you for allowing me the freedom to discover my own style. That freedom led me right back to you.