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'This Belonged to My Mother': A photo series exploring our relationship to the things our mothers wore

Toronto photographer Jacqueline Ashton captures six individuals rocking pieces they claimed from their moms.

Toronto photographer Jacqueline Ashton captures six individuals rocking pieces they claimed from their moms

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

Inspired by her Instagram self portraits in which she's styled herself in her mother's clothes, we reached out to Jacqueline Ashton to make something special for CBC Life for Mother's Day. Ashton (aka @goodgyaljj), an up and coming Toronto photographer and Petra Collins muse, was excited to help us explore the relationship we have with our mother's belongings.

Here are six individuals on the special influence and power of a mother's style.

     

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

Charlene Akuamoah, 29, Wardrobe Stylist and Designer at broke&living

Describe your mother's style.

My mom's style is classic and conservative with a vintage twist.

What did your mom teach you about fashion and style?

She taught me how to be confident in my clothes. I would look to her for approval and she'd always remind me that no one's opinion was more important than my own when it came to my personal style.

What are you wearing of hers?  

I'm wearing one of my mom's vintage dresses that she used to wear a lot back in London. She also has it in black.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How did your mom wear it?

My mom would always wear this with a solid coloured cardigan when I was younger because she didn't like to show her arms. And she would accessorize the hell out of it: chunky necklace with the matching ring and bracelet, a thin belt and a BOMB wig.

What did you think of it when you were a kid? Why do you love it now?

I thought she looked so beautiful in it and I was so in love with the colours. I fell in love with the way it flowed around her when she walked. It looked so light and airy. She always looked mad expensive when she wore it too… probably because of the accessories.

I love that it's a true vintage piece passed down from my mom. There are buttons down the front which gives me so many different styling options. When it's warmer I'll wear it off the shoulder and belted, or I'll unbutton the bottom half and pair it with jeans and some cute mules. On colder days I'll wear it with a turtleneck underneath with my leather jacket and doc martens.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How does wearing it make you feel?

I feel as beautiful as my mom did. I'm honoured that I'm able to have a piece of her with me in this way. Fashion is a big part of my life and to have her hand down something of hers that I can make my own is such a special feeling. Especially a piece that brings me back to such a specific, happy place with her.

      

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

Donté Colley, 20, Retail associate, Digital communications, Dance

Describe your mother's style.

Classic and feminine with a tomboyish touch.

What did your mom teach you about fashion and style?

Be yourself, have fun with it and don't wear a sneaker that is too small for your foot.

What are you wearing of hers?

I am wearing my mom's name plate.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How did your mom wear it?

She wore it a lot more when I was younger, I'm usually wearing it so she doesn't really have a chance to put it on.

What did you think of it when you were a kid? Why do you love it now?

It's so special, and I know it means so much to her.

It's a piece that has some sort of radiant energy wrapped around it. My mom always told me to see the positive sides of scenarios and pay less attention to the negatives. It just reminds me to check back in with myself and identify what my mom would do in a scenario like this and head into the positive direction rather than negative.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How does wearing it make you feel?

Proud.

     

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

Nicole Forgrave, 24, Student at The Holistic School of Nutrition

Describe your mother's style.

Sporty/funky, loves matching everything.

What did your mom teach you about fashion and style?

Growing up, my mom would always put my siblings and I in perfectly curated ensembles; whether it was tracksuits, jeans and t-shirts or 3-piece suits, we were always colour coordinated and layered. What I learned from this is that there are many components to the perfect outfit. This also taught me that one key piece can also make or a look.

What are you wearing of hers?  

Denim jeans and jacket.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How did your mom wear them?

My mom didn't wear the two together, as she owned both items at different stages in her life, but she said that she always admired the jean on jean look — and if we were back 15 years she would wear the two together.

What did you think of them you were a kid? Why do you love them now?

I loved the jean jacket growing up  because I had a matching one when I was 10. We would wear our jean jackets with matching pink low rise Converse.

I love the relaxed feel of both pieces; even though the jacket in particular has some wear and tear, it is comfortable and perfect for fall or spring. The jeans are classic high-waisted Levis and are super versatile; I love the cut and the rise of the jeans.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How does wearing it make you feel?

Wearing anything of my mom's makes me feel nostalgic, all the clothes of hers that fit me are from the late '90s so it's super-convenient that I can pair most of her items with my own clothes.

    

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

Jeremy Watson, 18, Photographer and Director

Describe your mother's style.

Her style is chic and confident. She's been rocking styles for years that are just becoming trends now.

What did your mom teach you about fashion and style?

To do whatever you want.

What are you wearing of hers?

A vintage red Canada Goose winter parka, back when it was called Snow Goose.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How did your mom wear it?

My mom works in film and she got (the parka) a long time ago when she was working on a movie that was shooting up north in the winter. She used to wear it on set when it was freezing cold.

What did you think of it when you were a kid? Why do you love it now?

I always loved it. It used to be the same size as me and I've been waiting for it to fit like it does now. It's really warm and I like the colour. I like to wear it on super cold days with baggy pants.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How does wearing it make you feel?

It makes me feel VERY warm and prepared.

    

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

Brandon Hurtado-Sandler, 23, Craft artist and Maker

Describe your mother's style.

Her style transforms and molds around the people she hangs out with and the environment she's in — she changes all the time. So for now, she hangs out with a lot of retired women in her book club in Vancouver Island, if that paints a picture? Think Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give and Julianne Moore's character in The Kids Are Alright. She's actually the blonde version of Julianne Moore.

What did your mom teach you about fashion and style?

She taught me how to take care of my clothes. I knew how to do my laundry in grade three LOL.

What are you wearing of hers?

I am wearing a braided gold necklace my mom got from Saudi Arabia when she was a flight attendant in the '80s. I coiled it around my middle finger. And two diamond, ruby and sapphire heirloom rings that were passed down to me.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How did your mom wear them?

I saw her wearing the gold necklace more often than the rings, but I would constantly see it in her jewelry drawer when she got ready to go out.

What did you think of them when you were a kid? Why do you love them now?

I would play with her jewelry as a young kid, but I broke a diamond necklace once so I was banished for a while. I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now.

(They) connect me to her since we're across the country from each other. The chain makes me think about her past. The two rings make me think about her mother, who impacted the both of us — not just our style, but the way we operate in general. My grandmother's jewelry collection inspires most of my work. She had the most extraordinary collection. I wear these pieces every day with a few more rings.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How does wearing them make you feel?

I used to hate wearing jewelry, but now I hate not wearing it. I've curated my hands with the rings that speak to me the most. In way, it makes me more confident and completes my outfits. I like the idea of wearing rags but then having vast amounts of gold and diamonds. Something my mother would disagree with, but to each their own. I still love you, Mommy.

    

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

Jacqueline Ashton, 23, Influencer and Photographer

Describe your mother's style.

My mom has a very eclectic yet sophisticated and outgoing style. She loves to match colours and she loves jewelry, especially items by David Yurman and Michael Kors.  

What did your mom teach you about fashion and style?

Looking back, she has has taught me a lot — she went to college for fashion design and she's always been very thrifty and resourceful, so she has a lot to say when it comes to fashion. She loves referring to Montreal fashion styles (where she is from) and encourages being unique and a trendsetter rather than following what is "cool".  

What are you wearing of hers?

I decided to wear a purple plaid skirt suit I've inherited from her, which she got from Value Village like 20 years ago. As I got older and interested in jewelry I began to wear the old gold rings she didn't wear anymore. One was given to her by her mother (with the ridges), the other she had designed for herself (with the blue sapphire) and the other one was the first real gold ring she bought for herself.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How did your mom wear these?

My mother would wear these same rings together similarly to the way I wear them. When she worked a more corporate job, she would rock different types of suits all the time, this one was more of a nighttime suit and she'd wear it with heels and a cute shirt, something with a collar usually, and lots of shiny jewelry.

What did you think of these pieces when you were a kid? Why do you love them now?

I was a tomboy for a long time, so when her cool clothes stopped fitting her, they would be donated to my dress-up bin. I used to play with her old clothes all the time, and never think that one day I would actually wear them and incorporate them into my wardrobe as a young adult.  

I usually wear it when I'm going out because it looks like vintage Chanel. It's high quality and makes me feel special when I wear it. I wear the suit with a cropped hoodie if I want it to be more casual or with a nice top if I'm going out to a fancier event. And always with heels of some sort. The rings I actually wear everyday.

(Photography: Jacqueline Ashton)

How does wearing them make you feel?

Special and overall one-of-a-kind!