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I've been looking through my closet since my mum passed a few weeks ago and realize most of my favourite pieces were either a gift from her, or purchased while we were on some sort of shopping excursion. Chances are, whenever someone compliments me on something I am wearing my response is usually "oh, thanks - my mum gave this to me...".

When I was young, my mum and I figured out that whenever we found a garment she felt I really had to have, all we needed to say to convince my dad was, "this would be perfect for church". Over the years, this became a favourite ongoing joke. We would pull out this line whenever we came across something we loved such as the oversized acid-washed jean jacket from West Edmonton Mall in the mid-eighties. I ended up with the jacket. It didn't make it to church, but my dad appreciated our ridiculous attempt at humour.

I know this line came up a few years ago when, in a Toronto boutique, she was trying to make the case that this cashmere sweater with the skull on the back really was a necessary Christmas gift for me. I'm so glad she persisted - I love it! My dad now admits she was right. It's been worn countless times, and my mum so enjoyed me recounting all the compliments it's garnered.

At mum's service last week, ongoing themes arose such as her extreme kindness, generousity, incredible research skills, and how she would advocate tirelessly for those she believed in. She was my biggest cheerleader. When I started Stylesmarts, she was so enthusiastic. She promoted me to anyone who would listen and sent countless articles, websites and books which complimented my area of interest. I loved reading her thoughtful, positive comments to any blog or facebook post I shared.

She became a proponent of the cost-per-wear philosophy and took pride in putting visually interesting outfits together. I love how this is illustrated in the photo at the start of this post which was taken last year, just a few weeks after her chemo treatments ended. She loved colour, mixing prints and accessorizing - and was even able to rock a fashionable head scarf into the look.

For me, true style connects to who you are as a person. Perhaps that is why I always thought she looked so stylish. She had good taste and nice things, but it was so much more than that. Her love, kindness and sense of fun radiated.

So yes, I certainly have some gems in my wardrobe that I will continue to wear and love courtesy of mum. But, it's all the other gifts I treasure the most: memories, friendship, unwavering support and, of course, the love.

Thanks Mum xo

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