Recently, a mother and daughter stopped by the store while spending the day together in Downtown Benicia. After the long year of Covid-19, the twosome were almost giddy about the fact that they were doing normal things like shopping and having lunch together. As they admired new spring collections and a wall of accessories, the mom decided on a magnetized cuff and earrings for herself and offered to buy her daughter a necklace. The necklace had significance as it was made of piano wire and the daughter is a piano teacher. The daughter brushed off the offer saying, “Mama, I have  so much jewelry that is sitting in my drawer that I’m not wearing.” The mother kept insisting until the daughter relented, finally seeing how important the gesture was for her “Mama.”

While wrapping up the gifts, I became emotional in that I would love to be able to shop or spend even a moment with my own Mama. After 7 years, I continue to miss her and our adventures together. Her influence on me has been well documented in fashion and as an independent woman.  

My Mother’s style was simple but striking. Her wardrobe was made up of neutral colors (I don’t ever remember her wearing a print) and statement-making jewelry. She waited until she was almost 60 before getting her ears pierced, which I thought was humorous, since she forbade me to get mine done while growing up. I never have! 

Mom never took off a beautiful gold necklace choker that my sister had given her and would interchange interesting earrings I sent her to complete her look. Her tailored white shirts over pants were her daily uniform for as long as I remember. While some women in the 1940s and ‘50s would wear house dresses, my Mom always preferred pants, shorts and trousers. Her mother, my grandmother wore house dresses made of floral prints that were belted and fuller-skirted, freeing her of the corset. 

House dresses have made a comeback during the pandemic and were one of the biggest trends last summer. These dresses are not what Grandma wore and are often made of flowing materials in the style of tunics, chic kimonos, and ankle length t-shirts. 

When Megan Markle sat down with Oprah, she opted for a $4,700 Giorgio Armani black silk dress with a white lotus print on one shoulder, which could be considered the ultimate house dress. Her accessories were meaningful, including the diamond Cartier Love bracelet that belonged to Harry’s mom, Princess Diana, and blue topaz earrings by Canadian designer Bijoux Birks.

As the mother and daughter customers left the store with their treasures, I wished them a Happy Mother’s Day and reminded them to celebrate the fact that they were able to be together on this beautiful Benicia day. Through a few tears, I had to rely on the memories of my own Mama, which, thankfully, are plentiful and wonderful.