In the fifth episode in of our Mothers and Daughters: Talking Style series, we visit a duo who are so close in style that their wardrobes seem to be interchangeable at times. Lucky them! Elaine and I got to know each other when our daughters were in the same class and became inseparable at primary school. As the mother of two kickass adults, Matthew and Chloe, 53 year old Elaine likes to feel 'womanly' and put together when she steps out. Her daughter, Chloe, shares her own views on dressing to be taken seriously in a a business world.
"Ok! Would you like to introduce yourselves?"
Chloe: "Yes. My name is Chloe and I'm 22 years old"
Elaine: "My name's Elaine and I'm 53 years old"
0.08 "Ok tell us a little bit about your mums' style, Chloe?"
Chloe: "Mum's style is classic. Very 'womanly'. And often reflects her mood. Always. So if mum dresses good she feels good and then it shows. If mum doesn't care she'll chuck on anything and run out. But its very classic. Very elegant".
0.36 "Can you give an example of something that she wears that you particularly like?"
Chloe: "Every day! Ummm…mum's church outfits. Because she makes most effort on Sunday. *turns to Elaine* Because you know you're going. You prepare the night before. And it's usually a dress with a nice jacket, shoes and matching bag."
" Love it. Ok. Can you tell us a little bit about your daughters style, Elaine?"
1.09 Elaine "Yeah Chloe. She likes classical stuff. She kind of dumbs it down but I think she likes to look elegant all the time if she can. She likes to look nice all the time. If she doesn't look good Chloe is not Chloe. Do you know what I mean? She's not happy. You hear her stomping about. That's Chloe. But yeah, she likes to look good and she likes to make sure that, you know, all the 'best parts' show. That's what she's like. The best parts got to show. She knows her best parts. And if it's not showing then she doesn't feel confident. That's Chloe."
1.44 "Does your mum ever give you advice on what to wear, Chloe?"
Chloe: "Mum is my fashion right hand. There isn't an outfit I put together without mum's consent or final sign off. It's just a seal of approval. It's not a case of 'Am I allowed'. It's just 'Do I look good?', and it's 'Yeah!'. So it's pretty much every outfit. And my phone gallery is full of pictures of mum in changing rooms. 'What do you think of this one, this angle, that angle?'. Yeah."
2.16 *turning to Elaine* "So you would say it works both ways. Chloe gives advice to you as well?"
Elaine. "Always. Always. She goes 'Oh I like that one or maybe a different colour or maybe just change the bra or maybe just a different knickers'. Something like that. Or you know 'Or that top underneath? Pull it down. That's it, that's better. Yeah, that's it."
Chloe: *laughing* "I'm always adjusting her clothes!"
Elaine: "Then she'll come and just get the bra and she just pulls the bra and, like, 'There ya go. Everything's hidden now. There ya go. Nice! Here ya go! See? That better?"
"I love it".
Chloe: "That's true, yeah...and vice versa".
2.48 "Have you ever stolen each others clothing?"
Chloe: *laughing throughout* "Well... the top mum's wearing now… she wore to work on Wednesday. Washed it. I wore it to work on Thursday. Washed it. And she's wearing it again today!
Elaine: "We're sharing the top."
"Do you like that top then?" *winks*
Elaine: "It's true. I came in from work and she went to me 'Mum I remember that top. It's nice isn't it?' I said 'Yeah'. She goes 'Are you going to wear it tomorrow?' I go 'No', she goes 'Right I'LL wear it tomorrow then!' Yeah. It is like that isn't it? Pretty much".
3.24 "So basically you're in each others wardrobe all the time".
Both: "Yeah. Yep".
"Okay. Alright. Chloe has your mum ever bought you an item of clothing you didn't like?"
Chloe: "It's a scarf from Spain, I think. It wasn't that I didn't like it, I just knew I wouldn't have anything to wear it with and it wasn't my style. But I liked it as maybe something to use for something else? But not a scarf. So didn't directly like it. But the sentiment was nice".
4.05 "...and I think that's the point isn't it? Sometimes we like things. We wouldn't necessarily wear them but its because of the person who gave it to us that we keep it".
"Elaine, do you have any memories of any clothes that you loved to wear when you were younger...or a particular item of clothing?"
Elaine: "Always black skirts. It made me look better. I felt really nice in it. Then Michael (Elaine's husband) said (we were still courting then as they say back in the days), he said 'Elaine! You like that skirt innit?!' Then I realised I must wear it often. I said 'Alright! I know! I got it, I got it!' The message dropped, you know what I mean? I used to wear it all the time. Black skirt".
"Did it show off all the 'best bits'?"
Elaine: *she gesticulates* "All the best bits. Nice. Just covered to the knees and the hips and the waist. And it was comfortable".
"There you go."
Elaine: "If you're comfortable in something you're going to wear it all the time aren't you?"
4.58 "What about you, Chloe? Any memories of clothing that you had when you were younger that you wore to death?"
Chloe: "Yes. Well every girl has a little black dress. And I have the same one from Boohoo®, when Boohoo first came out. It was the first piece of item I bought online. I was skeptical about it. And every time I'm feeling, like, 'Ugh', I don't know what to wear. I wanna look nice but I don't know what to wear, that's my 'go to'. Work... I've worn it to an Awards show. I've worn it to work. I've worn it around the corner. I've worn it every and anywhere and I love it!"
"Elaine, this is for you. How has your attitude , or has it not, has your attitude to fashion changed when you had your kids?"
Elaine: "Yeah, 'cos I put a lot of weight on."
"How'd that make you feel?"
Elaine: "You want to hide yourself don't you? You want to wear all the baggy stuff, things that are bigger than you, so that you're not showing off all your fat bits. And obviously having the kids and stuff like that you tend not to have enough money to get all the nice things, so you end up buying cheap things, see what I mean? I kind of just put on what I could really. I wasn't, like, 'Bet it looks good for that', I was, like, whatever I could put on just chuck it on. It was like that. But, obviously, as you get older you've got a bit more money you've got a bit more…"
0.52 "...because you strike me as someone who loves her clothing and loves her fashion".
Elaine: "I do but... to be honest with you, maybe we did dress. Maybe to me it wasnt good enough but maybe to... on the outside you look and you think 'Oh, she always looks good'. Yeah. But I just threw it together. Maybe it wasn't what I want but I felt comfortable and I thought 'Right, the kids look good'. Made sure the kids look good and obviously hubby looking good. And that was it. And I'm sure if it had looked bad Michael would have told me that 'You're not going nowhere with that.' You know what he's like, he's just straight up 'Where're you going with that?'"
1.26 "Do you have a piece of advice, I'm sure you have lots of pieces of advice, that you'd like your daughter to take into the world?"
Elaine: "I always said to Chloe. Always respect yourself. Always make sure that you;re looking good for yourself at all times. And I always say to her that remember treasure your body. Your body is a vessel, I said to her. And it's precious. And you want people to think 'Yeah! This is me!' going out into the world. And I want people to look at me and think 'look at her' cos she's really well kept. She's well put together. She's well spoken". *turns to her daughter* "Just looking at you they can tell without opening your mouth that you're put together well."
2.11 "So its about impressions isn't it. Because first impressions are important to a lot of people."
Elaine: "Yes it does count. People say it doesn't but it does".
"It does. What about you, Chloe? What has your mum taught you? Do you think you've taken on board what she's said?"
2.30 Chloe: "Yes definitely. I always say to mum (that) I like to dress how I want to be ADDressed because…"
"...oooh thats good!"
Chloe: "…because, as a young person, you often don't get taken seriously. Especially when it comes to business and corporate things and I wanted…when I ventured into my own thing, I felt that was the biggest thing holding me back is that I didn't feel credible. And if you dress sort of young and not so smart in appearance people do treat you that way or they initially come in with that perspective until you have to prove to them otherwise. Which, if you dress smartly and you carry yourself in a certain way, it just eliminates that process and things move quicker".
3.12 "Love that. I love that. Do you feel that people, because of the way that you look, actually both of you because you're both GOOD looking women. *giggles* You know this! Do you feel that, because of the way you look, some people underestimate you or make assumptions about you?"
Chloe: "Yes. 100 percent. What do you think?"
Elaine: "Yeah. People assume...until you open your mouth!"
Elaine: "For me. Because I'm little and I've got this deep voice. I'm quite assertive".
"Yes! It comes across…"
3.48 Elaine: "I will tell you in the nicest possible way. I feel I'm respected, especially at work and stuff like that. People do talk to me and come to me. I'm seen as a mummy and I'm seen also as a counsellor. which is nice i suppose. 'Ask Elaine she'll tell you'. Which is nice I must admit".
Chloe: "I agree".
"Can I say thank you to both of you you've been a delight. Especially your photoshoot".
You can probably imagine that, as friends who have know each other for years, this interview contained a huge amount of giggles. The word 'laughter' has been sprinkled throughout this blog post but it in no way conveys how many guffaw-filled moments there actually were!
Both women shared views that could give us all pause for thought.
Do you share your wardrobe with a family member of a different generation? If so is that willingly or under duress?
Do you feel the need to 'dress the part' in order to be taken seriously at work? Do let us know in the comments.