Now Reading:

PHOTO ESSAY: How our moms dressed us up as kids

PHOTO ESSAY: How our moms dressed us up as kids

The phrase “para kang nanay mo (you’re just like your mother)” is often thrown around like a confirmation. What’s funny is we often hear this from people who are close to strangers: our mom’s friends or relatives we’ve met only once. 

Sometimes I wonder what makes them say it when they have almost no idea about who we are. Is it our facial features? The way we speak? Our posture? When all these fail, maybe it boils down to how we appear in front of them. 

This Mother’s Day, we revisit one of our moms’ riskiest decisions (other than our name)—our first clothes. Did we like our moms’ choices? How did our moms style someone who had no idea of what fashion was? Do these clothes reflect their perception of fashion back then? Would we still wear these ‘fits today?

We may or may not share the same style with her, but one thing’s for sure—our moms made us discover what we actually wanted.

Jelou,  junior content creator

At first glance, you’d assume I loved being glammed up as a kid. You’re not wrong. But my 5-year-old self, with her signature furrowed forehead and crossed arms, would deny it. 

My mom knew the denial, though. In fact, she knew everything: where to hunt down for clearance sales, decent department store finds and—when my then-OFW dad was a few months into the job—stunning branded clothes. I was lazy to go to clothing shops, but thanks to her probably honest compliments (“so pretty!”), I started liking dressing rooms: the ridiculously bright lights, full-body mirrors and the excitement of trying out multiple garments even if we were only buying one item. My mom would be okay with buying nothing for herself as long as she’d buy something for me.

Looking at it now, I realized my fear of “being too girly” was a case of internalized misogyny—and my mother helped me go through it.

My mom is a total style icon and can definitely rock anything she wears, from summer dresses to turtlenecks. Her playful and dynamic choices are obvious in this photo: spaghetti strap top, denim skirt and the cherry on top a.k.a. plastic accessories. Honestly, I wasn’t into this princess-y image, thinking it was “too sweet” for society. But here’s my secret: I’d play with these accessories, rummage through closets and draw stick figures wearing “girly” outfits when I was alone. Since mom knows everything, I guess she knew this too. 

Looking at it now, I realized my fear of “being too girly” was a case of internalized misogyny—and my mother helped me go through it. The process wasn’t smooth, as I avoided pink in grade school, makeup in high school and “being too loud” in college even if I wanted exactly all the things I rejected. But now, when my mom catches me scrolling through Instagram shops and says, “You should get that,” I believe her.

Yel, designer

When I was a kid, my mom would usually make me wear monochromatic outfits or tank tops and underwear—no middle ground. I always thought I was serving looks then and looking back, well yeah, maybe I did. I would say my mom really has a thing for monochromatic clothes or what we call “terno.” My favorite memory was when we would buy clothes at Tutuban and she would always pick terno ‘fits for me and herself. Those terno clothes came from plains to patterns, muted to colorful and baggy to fit. Her influence in fashion is still branded into my brain and I’m not mad at it.

TBH, my outfit in this photo might have predicted how I would dress in 2020 onwards—a shirt and underwear as WFH attire.

Unfortunately, this photo is one of the few remaining memorabilia of me when I was younger since our house burned down in May 2006. TBH, my outfit in this photo might have predicted how I would dress in 2020 onwards—a shirt and underwear as WFH attire. In conclusion, my mom is a fashion visionary for how she dressed me up when I was a kid (period, bestie). I may not ask her for advice on how I dress up now, but I will always be inspired by her fashion choices (as the true style icon she is). 

Kat, junior content creator

My mom’s one of the most fashionable people I know—Prada handbags, IG OOTDs, a room full of shoes and all that. So, you’d come to expect that as the only daughter with brothers who are 15 and 12 years older, she’d dress me up in the frilliest outfits. You’re correct.

There were a lot of pastel smocked dresses like this very pink ensemble, complete with matching hair ties for pigtails or braids. She still insists on buying me “girlier” clothes now, and when other moms would think that their kid’s outfits show too much skin, mine tells me the opposite. She’d say that I’m too conservative with my outfit choices and that I should wear more pieces like cut-off shorts and short-sleeved shirts. (I don’t wear them. I cover every inch of my skin like some kind of Victorian lady.)

She still insists on buying me “girlier” clothes now, and when other moms would think that their kid’s outfits show too much skin, mine tells me the opposite.

Someone once told her that it must be nice having her for a mom, considering what she has in her personal collection. In reality, we’re on two different sides, and fashion can be a contentious topic between us. Where she likes jewelry, long dresses and strappy shoes in bright, bold colors, I like minimalist turtlenecks, jackets and leather boots, all in black.

I wouldn’t wear this dress she chose me now, not unless my arms are properly covered and it comes in dark shades. But safe to say, my mom still had a pretty big impact on how I’ve come to grips with my own sense of style. (Plus, if she just bought something cool—and for some reason, she always does—I’d be the first to borrow it. Or ask for it, really.)

Mikey, multimedia artist

This photo makes me look like I’m a kontrabida child who bullies kids at a birthday party.

This photo makes me look like I’m a kontrabida child who bullies kids at a birthday party.

As a child, you’d often see me wearing a sando tucked in maong shorts, sandals, and layering it with an open polo. This outfit is what I’d usually wear when I’d be at a party or at the mall. My mother would say it’s comfortable, stylish and adaptable to any situation.

Looking at this photo makes me realize that until now, I somehow still adapt to my mother’s mindset when it comes to style. But I guess the difference is I don’t usually wear shorts and sandals now and prefer edgier outfits.

Read more: 

4 homegrown films for people with mommy issues 

Mica Abesamis is a visual artist, Twitter ate and a really cool mom

A look into the influence of dad ’fits in fashion

Art by Yel Sayo

Comments

Jelou Galang
Written by

Input your search keywords and press Enter.