There was this dress she had. Black crepe. Tight on the bodice, with a swishy skirt, double spaghetti straps and a subtle drizzle of diamante.
It was expensive; it was a bit Saturday Night Fever. It was gorgeous - and it was hers.
But that didn’t stop me from sneaking into my mother’s wardrobe after she’d gone out, padding out the bust of the frock I so coveted with a wad of loo paper and wearing it on a date.
I made sure I got back before her, spritzed it with her perfume and snuck it back. She never suspected, so I did it again a few months later - another date. (Different guy, obviously).
Other items “borrowed” from mother’s wardrobe include a pair of cream Wrangler bell-bottoms, two original Fifties sweaters (which to my eternal chagrin she one day gave to a girlfriend of my elder brother’s) and her Jaeger honeymoon suit which, eventually and unbeknown to her, I cut to a mini. Sacrilege, I now realise.
Such lies and deception would not have been necessary had a new piece of market research been around at the time. I could have quoted bods from the SKEMA Business School in France and assured her that, by sharing her clothes, she was not only strengthening the mother-daughter link, but teaching me how to walk in her Radley, Dolcis and Van Allen-clad image; creating, for posterity, a mini-me.
Though, hang on a mo. I’ve read a few more paragraphs by said French researchers (who claim their work will enable the fashion industry to better understand why women buy certain clothes) and I think I’ve got it back to front and inside-out. It’s the mothers who wear the clothes in their daughters’ wardrobes who foster the closest (should that be tightest?) bonds.
Eeuw. These are adolescent daughters we’re talking about. Beyond borrowing the odd hair bobble, or something basic like a pair of flip-flops, this is surely not to be encouraged. For starters, mothers who attempt to hang on to their youth by parading about in clothes clearly designed for some little lambchop 25 years their junior are dicing with ridicule. Just because you can fit into her spray-on PVC jeggings and those bleach-dipped denim shorts she looks fabulous in really doesn’t mean you should. A Topshop mini too far and you’re mutton dressed-as.
But worse, you’re massaging your ego at the expense of hers. The least cool thing is for a girl to have a maxi-me mum.