People have always thought my Mom was glamorous. When I was a child, it wasn't uncommon for neighbors to tell me that my Mom was gorgeous. As a teenager, this infuriated me; as an adult, it inspired me.
Looking back, so many of the hallmarks of Mom's style were true classics: an immaculately applied red lip, perfectly manicured nails, Mom's effortless dark curls, her wedges (long before the word was being flung around) and simple, knit dresses that flattered her frame and allowed her to jet from soccer practice to ballet — kids in tow — without a crease in sight. Oh, and my Mom could also rock a bikini, even after four kids.
The true testament to Mom's great style and beauty is that so many of her secrets are actually staples that even today prove timeless.
Great hair and hands
My mom has never met a Vitamin E capsule that she couldn't put to work. Back in the day, Mom would break open a capsule and use it to hydrate her cuticles before running still slick hands through her curly hair. Yup, Mom was onto the oil trend before MoroccanOil and argan oil products were even a glimmer in someone's eyes.
Fast forward to 2011 and Mom's classic moisturizer has been modernized. Lierac's Sensorielle Multi-Use Oil for face, body and hair serves up 24-hour hydration that nourishes with botanical oils including argan, hazelnut, sweet almond and grape seed. Get it for $34 at lierac-usa.com.
Red lips and tips
Mom intuitively knew that nothing pulls together a look like a splash of red. That's why perfectly lacquered nails and vivid red lips were part of her go-to look. (She may also have known that nothing counteracts the sleep-deprivation caused by caring for a family of six like a pop of crimson.)
Of course, in true mama style, Mom stayed loyal to her favorite red polish and lipstick for years, and years, and years — until they, whomever they were, stopped making it. And while the teenage me would have said that Mom was in a rut, as an adult I understand that certain things, like a shade of lipstick that flatters perfectly, don't get old. And being trendy isn't always stylish.
Mom's modern trick for sticking to what flatters even when trends change: threecustom.com, a company that specializes in producing discontinued shades on demand, in individual batches, for lips, cheeks and eyes.
Much like the modern woman, Mom had to do quite a juggling act to keep life in balance and still look beautiful. She managed to look flawless thanks to timeless dress shapes, usually knits, and the classic wedge shoe; ideal for lending elegant height without hindering Mom's ability to run from the PTA to the playground.
Mom would no doubt argue that quality fabric, fluid draping and fabulous accessories are always on trend. I see Mom's classic choices even today in an of-the-moment Mark & James by Badgley Mischka Wedge, $255 at Zappos.com; and ASOS knitted dress featuring a scoop neckline and short sleeves with a fitted ribbed waist and full skirt (right), $89.65 at asos.com.
And while Mom's timeless looks are still in fashion, her one-of-a-kind style will always be her legacy.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet Up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.