I wasn’t the first girl who was introduced to the world of fashion by her mother. Plenty of us can remember playing with our mom’s jewelry or tottering in her highest heels. One of my most vivid memories involves begging my mom to let me wear the shoes from her wedding day (mostly because they were covered in white glitter and reminded me of glass slippers).
My mom is what I would call a glamazon. People have been in awe of her daring wardrobe for as long as I can remember. When I visit home with friends, I’m asked to give tours of her closet. Little did I know that, 20 years later, I’d still be sneaking into her closet for style inspiration — only now I can actually fit into her clothes, but not her size 5 shoes, sadly (though I doubt I’d be able to strut around in her 7-inch wedges, anyway).
As I recently began sifting through old family photos, it became clear that my mother wasn’t the first woman of style in the family. She came from a long line of glamour queens, including her own grandmother, who was donning kitten heels and classic fur stoles back in the early 1940s. Looking at these family photos gave me insights I never would have found in a magazine. Sometimes our own family histories can bring us the most inspiring ideas.
Mom: 1970s Glam
[Pictured: 1. Arrow triangle earrings by SilkPurseSowsEar; 2. Tribal skinny cuff by SOFTGOLDSTUDIO; 3. '70s Luxe jumpsuit from LittleBeeVintage; 4. Vintage boho suede bag from HulaGirl1922; 5. '70s Leather cape from TheParaders; 6. '40s Chorus girl platforms from Parlourthearchives.]
As a child of the 70’s, my mom scours the internet for the vintage jumpsuits and sky high platforms she grew up wearing. She’ll even go for the occasional 60’s mini dress. But she always manages to keep her look contemporary by mixing vintage and modern accessories.
Grandma Willy: ’50s Bombshell
[Pictured: 1. '50s Bone white faux ostrich handbag from missfarfalla; 2. '30s Peep-toe with etched heel from VintagePointShop; 3. '50s Blush brocade cocktail dress from onefortynine; 4. Little drop earrings by LaurenHauptJewelry; 5. Vintage pom pom stole from secret lake.]
I grew up hearing stories about my grandmother going out to the Copacabana and being serenaded by Sinatra himself. Her stylish look could have rivaled any Hollywood bombshell’s. From her white fur stole to her pale, fitted cocktail dresses, she embodied the glamour of the 1950’s.
Grandma Carol: ’60s Work Chic
[Pictured: 1. '60s Scarf from StaceyCarlisleVntg; 2. Mint fused glass earrings by boldcolorglass; 3. Jackie O. '50s-'60s suit from Vintagephilosophy; 4. Tangerine suede handbag from LoveButlerVintage; 5. '60s Taranto court shoes from WagonWheelVintageOz.]
As the breadwinner of her family, my Grandma Carol captured the style of 1960s fashionable professionals. And she always kept her conservative look fresh and upbeat by wearing a bright color palette and floral prints, reminiscent of Doris Day.
Great-Grandma Kay: Tailored Elegance
[Pictured: 1. '40s-'50s Black petal wool hat from NevermoreVintage; 2. '50s Faux fur coat from CultOfVintageStore; 3. '40s Day dress from NodtoModvintage; 4. Vintage gold tone heart locket from armychic4lyfe; 5. '40s Onyx suede cross-strap sandal from clevernettle; 6. '40s Black leather purse from HolliePoint.]
Classic and elegant, my great-grandmother was always seen wearing fashionable hats and dark tailored dresses. Her look has always reminded me of the noir vixens of her time.
Gabriella Cetrulo is a freelance illustrator with a BFA in illustration from Parsons the New School for Design. She is also the shop owner of vintage oasis Tomorrow Is Forever. She is in the process of opening a second online shop featuring her illustration work.