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(Matthew Tammaro for The Globe and Mail/Matthew Tammaro for The Globe and Mail)
(Matthew Tammaro for The Globe and Mail/Matthew Tammaro for The Globe and Mail)

Must be in their genes: Canada's style setters have even cooler moms Add to ...

Style setters aren’t just born – they’re more than often moulded by moms with flair to spare. At least that has been the experience of these young Canadian tastemakers, for whom mum’s the word when it comes to inspiration.

Jean, Byron and Dexter Peart

Some kids are precociously style-savvy. Others are entrepreneurial. When Jean Peart discovered that her twin sons, Byron (left above) and Dexter, were tapering classmates’ pants for a small fee, she knew that they were both. “We were fashion merchants at a really young age,” Dexter jokes today.

Based in Montreal, the brothers continue to build upon their early enterprises as the founders of Want Les Essentiels de la Vie, a line of accessories that stand out for their refined, streamlined design. Last year, they opened their first retail location, The Want Apothecary in tony Westmount. And they’ve just launched another retail space in collaboration with niche French brand Maison Kitsuné at the NoMad Hotel in New York.

The Peart brothers’ style, an understated sharpness familiar to those who read Monocle magazine and know their Acne from their A.P.C., can best be described as effortless. But effortless chic is in fact often learned from somewhere or someone and the twins are quick to cite their mother as a primary style influence.

Jean has always been “on trend,” Byron muses, noting her fondness for prints and florals accessorized with a statement piece. Adds Dexter: “Our mom has always had a strong confidence and I think the clothes she wears embody that. She was never one to spend a lot of money on expensive clothing, but she has always had a knack for seeking out beautifully made things. She instilled in us a belief that the value of a product was not automatically dictated solely by its price.”

Jean, for her part, attributes her style to growing up in Jamaica. “You always wore things that matched,” she says. “And if you were going out to a place, you had to look good.” Those high standards also applied to what her boys (there are two more brothers, Conrad and Kevin) wore to school: Ripped jeans, for instance, were always vetoed.

“She would say that it reflected on her and that it was important for us to present ourselves in a welldressed manner,” Dexter says, adding that, “still today, we find ourselves opting for cleanly tailored looks.”

Old lessons, it seems, die hard.

Linda Lundström and Mosha Lundström Halbert

Growing up with a Canadian fashion legend for a mom, 25-year-old Mosha Lundström Halbert learned the importance of self-presentation early on.

“I distinctly remember my mom wearing such powerful clothes to work each day: head-to-toe red, a bright yellow dress with a floor-sweeping duster, a metallic tunic,” Lundström Halbert, who is Flare magazine’s fashion news editor, says of the designer and selfdescribed phoenix. (Happily, the elder Lundström has bounced back after filing for bankruptcy protection in 2008, designing again under the auspices of new financial backers.)

“Now that I’m also career dressing,” her daughter continues, “I keep her influence in mind and wear something assertive, never sloppy. It’s amazing how much smoother the day goes when I get my outfit right.”

Polished and well-spoken, Lundström Halbert has a self-assured sense of style that comes from knowing what she likes. “I rarely waver from sixties silhouettes – tuxedo pants, smoking jackets, silk button-up blouses and full skirts paired with pointy pumps,” she says. “Before it all gets too ladylike, though, I’ll add an acid green Proenza Schouler bag or neon belt.”

Her mother, who doesn’t shy away from extreme glamour, no doubt approves, having instilled her daughter with a distinct sense of occasion. “When in doubt about what to wear as an invited guest, err on the side of more dressy rather than more casual,” she says, repeating her advice to her offspring.

More valuable still were Lundström’s directives on fit. “She taught me to have my clothes properly tailored to my specific shape, to highlight my waist and to always hide that weird, squishy armpit area between the shoulder and the décolletage – the ugliest part of every woman,” she says. “It’s sound advice that has stuck with me.”

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