Elle Magazine held a writing competition, I guess you could call it. Selected pieces will be in their October Personal style issue. The article had to be about a piece of clothing or accessory and how it has changed or influenced your life. Here is my article, I hope you enjoy it!
My Mother’s Chandelier Earnings
As most little girls do, I used to go into my mothers room and play dress up. My favorite thing to get into was her jewelry box. It was always filled with brightly colored rings, necklaces, bracelets and my favorite: her earrings. I put on as much jewelry as possible, but would always save the earrings for last. My mother always wore chandler earrings--or "dangley" earrings as I used to call them. My favorite ones were silver and had red gems on it. I loved them because they matched her favorite red lipstick.
How could one single accessory forever change one’s life? How could a single pair of earrings change my outlook on life? It seems impossible when I say it out loud, and people often laugh when I tell the story, but it's true! That single accessory of my mother’s turned into a whole mantra of life for me!
I grew up the youngest and only girl in a family of 6. My parents were working class people with a simple home. My father, a construction worker left for weeks at a time. We lived in the middle of nowhere, USA. My mother mostly stayed home with us, but worked on and off at a small local mercantile grocery store. She went to beauty school, married young, and moved away from her family to start a family with my father, who was in the Minnesota National Guard. Every single day, it didn't matter what we were doing or who we were going to see, my mother would do her hair, put on full makeup (she would never leave the house without bright red lipstick on), and always added the finishing touch of over sized, ridiculous chandelier earrings. She didn't care what anyone thought of her. She would put on her smock for the grocery store and hold her head up high. Men would come in and give her all sorts of jokes, “Those earrings look like fishing lures, Carol!” “Why! Where do you think you’re going?” “Who do you think you are?” She heard it all, and she never cared. Why? Because she felt fabulous! It didn't matter that we didn't have money or that we didn't live in a big town, she was going to be as ridiculously fabulous as she wanted to be! “Money can’t buy class,” she would say. “Always be a lady, Tressie”, she would tell me. For a young girl to see this amount of self-confidence was truly amazing. My mother knew the value in herself. I grew up under the most loving caring mother that told me I was beautiful every single day. She always put the needs of everyone else far above her own, but never lost who she was. To this day she has not stopped wearing those over the top chandelier earrings!
How did this affect me and my style and outlook on life? Proudly, I am just like her. It’s funny how history repeats itself. I too married a military man when I was very young. Both, my parents and I are still happily married. I went to beauty school as well (it's in our blood I swear) and went on to own my own salon and spa. I wouldn't dream of leaving the house without being dressed to the nine with bright red lipstick and of course chunky statement earrings. I am over-the-top and fabulously dramatic in every aspect of life (just like those earrings)! People ask me where I draw my style inspiration from or how did I get to be the way I am today. My answer is always the same. A women, living a simple life, wearing not so simple earrings, it all started there. Today I live in a somewhat smaller town in central Minnesota, and I wear fur jackets and over the top everything, even to the grocery store. People look at me like I'm a weird crazy lady, but I don't care. My mother taught me to dress for me, not for anyone else. To live life to the fullest and be who you are no matter what. I only hope that I too can inspire my 4 beautiful daughters to love life and be as glamorous as you want to be, and to teach them to have self-worth and confidence. I try to show them if a single article of clothing or accessory brings you joy and you feel confident, wear it! It’s different for each of them and it’s so fun to watch them come into their own style. My husband some days will say, “I can’t believe you let Grace (our 3 year old) wear Dora rain boots to daycare when it’s 90 and sunny!” Of course I let her, who am I to tell her she looks silly? She feels fabulous and happy! That is what we all should feel like when we get dressed for the day! Excitement and happiness! What we wear says who we are! A single accessory can be a symbol of how we live life. My mother and I choose to live over the top and glamorous, always! People are going to stare anyway, so give them something to look at.