The Voice In My Head and Links a la Mode In My Smile

No, No Don’t wear that!!!

I began to experiment with fashion in my teens. In looking back, I think it angered, and hurt, my mother that I no longer desired to wear her handmade clothes. I wanted store bought and I wanted to be creative. If I had only understood her connection between self-worth and the sewing machine; and she had understood my desire to be individual and trendy, we might have faced less tears and ugliness.

“That looks like trying to and can’t” was the line I heard over and over again as I walked out of my room. No encouragement. No suggestions. Just disdain. Unfortunately, even at age 58, she is the voice in my head.

Though I have written I now dress for me…FINALLY… there are several mornings I will meet mom in my closet, and those inevitably  are the days, I spend the most time struggling with a look. Standing in front of the mirror, I immediately hear….THAT LOOKS LIKE TRYING TO AND CAN’T. What’s interesting is that even now, I will feel rebelliousness creeping up my spine. First thoughts are often, well I am going to wear this anyway! Then I will process, WHY?, If it looks like trying to and can’t! At that moment, I feel the self-inflicted wounds of doubt….oh, who cares, you can’t do this…your blog is a joke…blah,blah,blah! All the old emotions come flooding in.  But, fortunately, I am now a bit more mature.

Cape: Stein Mart
Skirt: Lane Bryant
GAP T Shirt: $1 at Goodwill

 And, the voice of reason will eventually take over. I usually return to the closet and go to PLAN B. At this moment, I tell the- mother- in- my- head to be silent and I focus on the Foundational Five Questions I devised to help me dress. Today’s outfit is a result of one of those battles. By the way, this is my first time EVER IN MY LIFE to wear booties with a skirt or dress!  The response was good at work…I’m pleased…but I don’t think my mother would have liked it one bit!

Necklace:  Serendipity Clothing SA
Bracelet: Lane Bryant

Does anyone else ever struggle with the mother in your head??

Spanx Tights: Nordstroms
Liz Claiborne Booties:  Marshalls

Trying to and …..CAN!

I am so honored to once again have a post selected for IFB’s Links a la Mode!! Check out the great blogs on the list:

Links For Your Holidays!

Edited by: Collette Osuna of Statements in Fashion

At the risk of sounding like a Christmas song, isn’t this the most wonderful time of the year?

I love hearing all the Holiday music playing in the stores! Trees are getting trimmed, gifts are being purchased, and people for the most part, haven’t forgotten the true meaning of the season. I’m taking some time over the next few weeks to re-vamp my closet, bake up some Holiday goodies, and make some new memories with my family and friends. However you may be spending the Holidays, be safe and keep the ones you love near to your heart. I will see you in the New Year!



New at Shopbop: Boots, Ella Moss, Cardigans, Pants, Jackets, Wallets, Swimwear, Cut 25, Free People, WGACA, Sauce, Satchels & Tote Bags.


If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine


  1. The voice of my mother, and sometimes her presence because she's still alive and kicking, turns up in my closet sometimes.

    Sometimes I take her advice and sometimes I don't. She's really good at accessories so if she pops up at the scarf-stage I usually listen!

  2. You look gorgeous and I really like the red poking out and your necklace is absolutely divine. I also have an issue with booties and skirts – but did wear ut our past winter. The voice in my head is more my sister than my mother (probably because my mother and I were really close and have a similar style)… but yes, it's there – and it's a struggle some days. Sorry you had a hard time with that – we should be allowed to experiment and try different things and it's sad if a mother is too critical.

  3. My mother had an opinion on everything and it was rarely ever positive, either for herself or others.
    I did not really learn to trust my own style (or really my own voice) until into my 30's. (oh the mother issues I have!)
    Your blog is an inspiration, you are beautiful and your sense of style rocks.
    I also have to say that the lining in your cape is a nice flash of happy color.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. Oh Pam! You've tapped into a POWDER KEG on this one! I adore my mother (gone for 6 years now), and miss her like you wouldn't believe. But her voice, her approval always meant the world to me. And when I felt I didn't get it, it hurt me. But now reading this, I'm thinking, "It seems like the sins of the world are blamed on mothers". I think you hit the nail on the head when you recognized that she saw her self worth in her sewing. It sounds like it was a way of showing you her love. And as EVERY teenage girl is trying to extricate herself from her mother's image and build her own, seems she may have misread your actions. You look absolutely GORGEOUS and the booties are JUST like I would wear them…with matching tights and a skirt. You have NEVER for a second looked like you were "trying to but couldn't".

    And as long as I'm up here perched on my soap box, just let me say that your blog is NOT a joke, nor are any of ours (us "older" style bloggers). In fact, I think we fill a much needed void in the blogosphere…"style" blogs, not "fashion advertising" "buy this" blogs. Big "sisterhood" hugs to you!!!! ~Serene

  5. For me it's the voice of my ex. agggh. and it's a pretty horrendous voice. very very critical. You look great in this — I had trouble wearing booties too at first. I probably still do since I am still reaching for my clogs. I like your necklace.

  6. I had a slender, very stylish, always looked good mother. Try living up to that expectation. Mom was great though and never critized what I wore except maybe the micro-mini skirt:) I love your blog and the outfits you put together. You are inspiring many, many of us who are over 50 and feeling much younger. You Rock!

  7. Hi Pam…I think we all seek some type of approval from our significant others…whether it be your parents, spouse, co-workers, or friends. I'm sorry that your mother's voice isn't a supportive one. I think you look beautiful in this outfit, and the booties are fab! At our age, we should dress for ourselves, experiment if we feel like it, and always have fun! We've earned it!!

  8. It is amazing how those negative comments from ages ago, hide and then pop out and repeat themselves. It begs us to remember that words have a lasting power, and once spoken, live forever. It looks like you are dealing well with your ghosts.

  9. So interesting how these things work. The parental voices that I heard growing up were always very supportive of ME, but very hard on themselves and others. So guess what I internalized? And it's completely not their fault, because they were positive toward me. I think the bottom line is that we get those "voices" in so many different ways, and only we can learn, strive (and sometimes struggle) to control them. This is a lesson you have clearly learned!

  10. Pam, I really love that skirt and I think it looks great with those booties.
    The mother issue is huge for me and has affected everything from my work performance to my social interactions to my hairstyles. Even to this day she will say something like, "that's an interesting xxxx, but what made you decide to wear it with yyy?" It sounds like a neutral question, but it feels accusatory. I immediately question my own taste and vow never again to wear xxxx and yyy together.
    I don't think we ever completely grow out of this feeling.

  11. Well I guess lots of us have mother issues when it comes to body image and clothing choices, and I am no different, unfortunately. BUT, I love your blog and particularly that skirt! Please keep it up.

  12. My mom and I have a general consensus that we cannot leave the house unless Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly would have worn it.

    cute look, Pamela. I have always loved that you have chosen to move with the fashion instead of rigidly staying in the 80s and 90s as my mother has a tendency to do. I want to grow with fashion as I winter into wisdom too!

  13. I'm lucky-I have very few mother issues with regard to dressing! Thats probably why I can go for the wild and the wierd with confidence–lol!
    Love this look on you Pam with the shortie boots! and the flash of red on the lapel? Vundabar!

  14. You look amazing in this outfit. It is funny, I really like the look of booties with skirts on others, but am not brave enough to do it myself.
    My Mother still makes comments about how I look. She cannot accept what I look like now with my rounded stomach. She really thinks I have a tumor or something. I try not to let it get to me, but occasionally a remark about some new diet or some diet drink will really get under my skin.
    Your blog is one of the first that I followed because I felt you were a kindred spirit and you were so kind and your blog so interesting. We may not have the support of our Mothers, but we sure have the support of each other in our blogs. Keep up the good work, you are a truly wonderful woman!

  15. Awwwww Pam….I know the feeling. All of you get to meet my Mom in every outfit post! She takes all of my pictures and…she also has the final veto on the outfits I've put together. This…this is too simple! This outfit…hmmm I think you need to add something else, Mom's always challenge us. They challenge us to do more with what we have, to remember what it is we have in our closets, and they challenge us to look our best. Simply put…Mom just always knows. I love the booties with the skirt!

  16. Yep. I was never smart enough, never good enough, never pretty enough…and at 51, I'm just now getting used to it. Fortunately(though inconveniently), she is 700 miles away. I like your blog, as it is different from the blogs I tend to gravitate towards, which are more home/craft stuff…maybe because I gave up on fashion once menopause came to visit and brought thirty extra pounds along with it!

  17. Pam every time I visit I get such great fashion ideas! You look great!!

    The 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways!! The French Basketeer has a special offering right now and there are more gifts open to enter!


    Art by Karena

  18. I don't struggle so much with my mother in my head as I do the childhood bullies in my head telling me I "clash". I had to ask my mother what it meant… then I became careful to never do so again.

    I've been taking a lot of inspiration for colormixing from other bloggers, but I'm still in the "baby-steps" phase.

  19. Love the outfit and the booties are fab. In fact, I don't think you've shown an outfit I didn't like. So sorry you and your mom had conflicts that can still cause some doubts now. My mom was very supportive and I still miss her. My dad, on the other hand, now that's a whole other issue. I love reading your comments and all the support you get from your readers.

  20. Just started following your blog and LOVE IT! Sadly, my mom has never known anything about fashion and, at 50, I'm just now starting to learn.
    Thank you so much for this blog! You're showing me that I'm never too old to learn!

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