Spotlight on .… my mother, Janice, whom I’ve sought much of my sartorial aspirations from & without whom I’d still be in the planning stages of the original Je Ne Sais Quoi project. I am only able to write this post today because my mother has been my mentor/supporter/crying shoulder from day one of the project.
Most people say their worst fear is turning into their parents as they go along in life-I’m not one of them. Do I want to be exactly like Mom & Papa? Of course not, however, I hope that I’ve inherited some of my parents best traits, many that they oddly share (I have divorced parents so coming up with commonalities between them is not so obvious at first thought).
My mother is a true inspiration for me. Sartorially speaking, she goes for a timeless style. She has always privileged less but well-curated pieces and has passed that onto me. She takes her time for any purchase. She won’t ever settle for close enough. If it’s not exactly what she wants, then she won’t buy it, unlike the old me who up until recently would buy compulsively. I have borrowed many pieces of jewelry from her, 10, 20, or even 30 years old that are now staples in my wardrobe. Her approach to shopping was definitely on mind when I came up with the Je Ne Sais Quoi* name.
In terms of personality, the first words that come to mind when thinking about her are bright, determined, generous and loving.
By the time she was my age (29 and 8 months-not willing to mention the big 3-0 yet) she’d gone to law school, two years ahead of her peers, become a lawyer, practiced in NYC, met my father, got married, moved to Paris on a whim and taught American Law at the Université in Paris. A total slacker, right?
When she sets her mind on something, it gets done, no matter what. She pushes forward and doesn’t look back.
As an entrepreneur, she will work until 1am if a project deadline is coming up and never misses her weekly calligraphy art class – no matter what – including snow. She’s managed to find an equilibrium between her work and social life which to most people is the hardest balance to reach.
But what I think best represents her is how my brother and I have turned out. Not in a “we’re amazing kind of way”. Rather, there couldn’t be two more different people than the both of us. He’s an officer in the Marine Corps and a licensed pilot. I’m an entrepreneur in the fashion industry, a completely foreign world to him, as is the Marine Corps to me (though I do admire the craftsmanship & beauty of a formal uniform.) Oh, and did I mention my phobia of flying?
The point is, we’ve turned out how we are because we were given the freedom to do so. I do need to give props to my Papa for this one as this falls under the aforementioned commonalities he and my mother share. Though they don’t always agree with our life choices, they let us try, fall on our ass a couple times, learn from it and move on. “Live and let live” is their way of life.
I’m not hoping to be as well-balanced as my mother, spiritually, emotionally and physically but if I can turn out to be half of the person she is, then that wouldn’t be so bad.
*je ne sais quoi: that little something special, a quality that eludes description