Just a few (of the many) tips I learned from my mum that I now apply to Stylesmarts


I think about my mum every day. I was so lucky to have the most amazing mum who taught me so much and, who I adored spending time with: lunches and dinners out, shopping trips, vacations, Broadway shows - and, I admit, almost daily debriefs recapping Young & the Restless episodes along with our days. The best. Kind, fun welcoming, curious and always up for a new adventure!

Often when working with a client or on a blog post, an idea will come to mind that relates back to something I learned from or experienced with her. So, in honour of Mother's Day here are a few tidbits that I apply in my own life and in my work with clients. Thanks Mum.

Make Shopping An Experience

Maybe one of the reasons I have made shopping part of my professional life, is that I have so many wonderful memories of my own experiences - many of which were with my mum.

Shopping with her was always an event. Whether we were just browsing the shops or with a focused list in hand, it was meaningful bonding time. Usually we'd start with lunch or a treat at one of our favourite spots and halfway through end up at some sort of chocolate shop (often Purdy's) to refuel. We'd head in the fitting room and enjoy seeing what worked as well as what didn't work. Needless to say there were a lot of laughs and we'd learn much in the process. Gaining style-smarts.

Shopping also topped the list as a favourite activity while on vacation. To this day, whenever I am traveling, I always try to pick up something new as those garments feel unique, and always have a special memory attached. When it was time to go through my mum's closet of lovely clothing, there was a memory attached to almost everything. A blouse we'd picked up in Vegas that she'd worn to see Rod Stewart, a cardigan from a boutique in the West Village when we were in New York, some cute tops from the Seattle Anthropologie...you get the idea. It actually made parting with the clothing a little easier, because it wasn't about the clothes. I have the memories from the experience and still smile at all that fun.

When I shop with my clients today, I draw in elements of these shopping experiences with my mum - I keep it light, fun, social; we laugh (and learn) a lot - and, of course, there are usually treats involved. Many people hire me because they find shopping overwhelming and it may not conjure up the same positive feelings. For some, it's a chore. My mission is to change that perception and experience!

Play Around In Your Closet

Even before I took my stylist training, I learned the art of shopping a closet from my mum.

Whenever she made new clothing purchases, she would immediately come home and start making combinations - trying on complete outfits and remixing new pieces with what she already had. I loved seeing each outfit unfold. This process also came in handy when it came to the daily getting dressed for work routine as she already had an arsenal of tested outfits at the ready.

This is now one of my favoruite in-person styling services with my clients. Coming up with outfit possibilities, making getting dressed easier. And now there is the virtual closet to make it even simpler...pre-made outfits at your fingertips.

Allow yourself those special outfits

From the sailor dress for the first day of Kindergarten, my yellow Fame tracksuit, acid washed jean jacket purchased at West Edmonton Mall (which we all agreed was too expensive, but I just had to have it!), Grade 7 and Grade 12 graduation dresses , matching pink tracksuit (parachute style) made in Paris to my cashmere skull sweater; my mum went above and beyond to let me know how important I was and that the special (and not so special) moments in my life deserved those pieces that bring us joy. Sometimes I think of an outfit and it just takes me back to a certain time in my life. Many earned their cost-per-wear and others just in the overall emotion they evoked, both at the time I wore them and even now when they come to mind.

When I am working with clients, I am aware the impact clothing has on how we feel and how it is connected to special moments and memories in our lives. We definitely need to create functional, versatile wardrobes that suit our lifestyles; but I am all for peppering in those special pieces that bring us joy. They can mark moments. I am so glad my mum recognized that, and so enthusiastically helped me find what was so very me.

I came across this photo the other day - taken at my brother's in Toronto in 2012. He just so happened to have an Emmy in the house so we couldn't resist snapping a photo. Doesn't she look fabulous? As a mum, she deserved all the accolades and awards - and still does. And I am always happy to share.

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2019 • LORI THOMAS • STYLESMARTS • VANCOUVER BC