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Retro style, circa 1966, from My Mom, Style Icon. (Piper Weiss)
Retro style, circa 1966, from My Mom, Style Icon. (Piper Weiss)

Why your mom's style is cooler than yours Add to ...

Who was your very first style influence? I'll bet it was your mom.

My Mom, Style Icon is a new book based on the popular blog that invites readers to submit vintage photos of their own mothers in their youth. The brainchild of Brooklynite Piper Weiss, it began when she started sharing decades-old photos of her mother, Marilyn, on her blog. As Weiss writes in the book's introduction, poring over old photos and rummaging through the back of her mom's closet spurred an epiphany. "I realized that I will turn into my mother. If I'm lucky."

Soon after the blog launched in the spring of 2009, Weiss received 20 submissions in a single day from across the country and around the world, including Texas, Serbia and Russia. It was then that she knew she had hit a nerve.

"There was a great-grandmother in the thirties and someone else from the seventies and I realized, 'Ooh, this could be good,'" Weiss says.

The vintage photos feature the moms at home, posing by cars, on the beach, on vacation and in all manner of dress, including white gloves, round sunglasses, sequins, satins and, of course, prom and wedding dresses.

The book also features the mothers of current-day trendsetters Karen O of the art-rock band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Chloe Sevigny, the Big Love actress best known for her strong sense of personal style.

While the celebrity injection into the book is fun, the popularity of My Mom, Style Icon trades on the public's current fascination with the style of everyday people, a movement bolstered by street style blogs such as The Sartorialist and Jak & Jil.

"We're so used to seeing Audrey Hepburn or Heidi Klum [celebrated as]style icons," Weiss says. "Yeah, they're pretty, but they're completely inaccessible and it's exciting to look at photos of moms from back in the day. There's magic there. Real people can be style icons and I think that's a refreshing thing."

And Weiss' blog isn't the only game in town to feature parents in their prime as they relate to style. There's My Parents Were Awesome , which also churned out a book, and a dad-themed blog, Dads: The Original Hipsters, that began earlier this year.

Weiss emphasizes that there's something mysterious and special about reflecting on the past lives of our parents, something we may need to get past our rebellious teenage years to fully appreciate.

So, to all those teenagers angrily holed up in their rooms because Mom won't abide your ripped clothes/short skirt/single dread, it may behoove you to consider that she isn't just being strict. Mom may in fact be your best stylist.

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