It used to be that dressing like your mother was visual proof that you had given up. In recent years, however, the generational styles have started to blend in a way not seen in previous generations. Dressing like my mother is something I actually aspire to.

For example, my mother and I both own this coat. Here she is rocking it:

The term “age appropriate” seems to have left the lexicon. Older women are having a real style moment, with many bloggers over 60 fronting fashion campaigns for the likes of Saint Laurent, Celine and The Row.

Shopping Medicare in the digital age is as simple as you make it.

The book and subsequent documentary Advanced Style celebrated the daring fashion choices of women (and now men) over 50. Lyn Slater (aka Accidental Icon) was featured in the book and boasts over 700K followers on Instagram. Not bad for a college lecturer in her 60s.

Is style hereditary?

Watching these older women, many of them mothers, begin to ascend to the dizzying heights of Fashion Week and the covers of major magazines, I began to wonder about their daughters and role fashion plays in their relationships. Is style hereditary? Can it be passed down from mother to daughter? What else comes in this package? Body confidence? Body issues? Self-expression?

Meet the vibrant and inspiring women who let me delve into their relationships and into their closets.

At what point does a mother stop dressing her daughter and allow her to find her own style, letting her daughter choose the image she wants to present to the world?

I decided to find out. Over the last three years, I’ve interviewed stylish mothers and daughters in New York and London in an attempt to examine the interplay between style and love. 

What began as a photography project quickly developed into a fascinating study of the mother/daughter relationship. Take a look below and meet the vibrant and inspiring women who let me delve into their relationships and into their closets. You can read the full interviews here.

1. Big Hair Girls and Anita, NJ/NY

Colorful sisters Lizzy Lightyear and Venus are fashion fixtures on the streets of Jersey City, where they live together and run their own pet care business. When they aren’t running around after pups, they can be found on stage performing their own original music under the name Big Hair Girls. I met up with them and their mom Anita, a special education teacher living in upstate New York, at the Oculus in Manhattan.

What do you admire about your Mom?

Lizzy: So much. We love her to bits. We actually recently heard that ‘accessorizing’ is genetic and our mom has shoeboxes full of jewelry and belts. 

Anita: I used to go to estate sales and thrift stores. My own mother was very resourceful. She was a designer. She would go to the movies with a notepad and she would sketch whatever she saw on the screen and within two days you’d see that dress on her.

So I guess it is hereditary?

Anita: It is! 

Venus: We used to love to go through our mom’s jewelry.

Lizzy: And put it all on at once! But what I really want to say about my mom, apart from her being a great accessorizer, is she taught us a lot about how to treat other people.

Anita: When I first saw them dressed this way I was surprised, but now I embrace whatever they want.

Lizzy: We love color.

Anita: I am so proud of who they are and the way they express themselves.

Venus: A question we get a lot is “Where are you going?” or “What’s the occasion?”

Lizzy: We say “Life.”

2. Nancy and Elaine, NYC

Documentary film producer and U.S. liaison for the Miyake Design Studio, Nancy Knox Talcott recently moved back home to take care of her mother Elaine, a former dress designer for Vogue patterns.

How are your styles different?

Nancy: My mother has always been a lady. That’s not to say that I’m a harlot or anything like that like, but when I was in college and younger, she would be up in her pearls and in her skirt at 7:30 in the morning! It’s beyond the dress though. She never says what she thinks if it’s unkind. There’s always a dignity, that I totally don’t have! She’s very capable. I love her and her enthusiasm for new things. I mean we take her to see the Christmas windows every year and she critiques them. If they do a bad job, she’s a first one the let them know! 

Elaine: That’s New York.

Nancy: No, it’s you though.

Elaine: I love the creativity. It’s so incredible to see how a store that has been fifty years in business is still coming up with new ideas.

Many people would walk by the stores and not even see them.

Nancy: She sees everything.

Elaine: Nancy has recently introduced me to what the museums are doing for older people. People who aren’t able to get around. It’s amazing.

Nancy: All the museums have programs.

Elaine: They teach people something new. They give us something to work on ourselves. One of the museums showed us a certain art show and then took us through another room and gave each little pots of paint in different colors so we could make our own art.

Nancy: It was thrilling to me to see her so excited.

Elaine: It is quite remarkable.

Nancy: I do think that the mother/daughter relationship is very complex. There are times when we’re so much alike that we do clash. When I was younger and more extroverted, I think she didn’t understand me at all for a while there. I was wilder, but we’ve always had that essential bond. Now it’s very different because I’m taking care of her.

Are you feeling more maternal towards your mother these days?

Nancy: Yes, but it’s like having a feisty teenager on my hands! She fights me every step of the way. She looks all sweet, but she’s tough.

Elaine: We’re both strong women!

Nancy: Our clashes aren’t usually that bad.

Elaine: It’s hard to grow old. Suddenly you have to give over control to someone else.

3. Jun and Aya Kanai

Aya Kanai is Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire magazine; her mother, Jun Kanai, is the U.S. representative for the Miyake Design Studio.

How is it to work in the fashion industry together?

Aya: We work in the same business, not the exact same, but in the general realm of fashion, and every now and then I have come across people who think of me as Jun Kanai’s daughter and not who I am.

The people that I have met that know her have always said, “What a lovely person,” “What a kind person.” They also say, “There was a time when she did something that I always remembered as nice and thoughtful.” It made me think that the impact you have on people is really remembered, and wouldn’t it be nice when I’m older to have somebody say, “Oh I knew Aya and she did a really nice thing.”

That’s just my mother’s natural way, but I think it’s really important thing to give to people.

Jun: (Taking Aya’s hand) Thank you. 

Jun: When Aya went into fashion, she was so adamant that I was not to get involved. I was not to pick up the phone and call Anna (Wintour) or whomever and say, “My daughter is working…” So I thought I was always rude not to do my introduction, but she wanted to be independent and prove herself on her own. I am very grateful, because if she wasn’t in the industry, I wouldn’t know any of this feedback.

I have worked in the fashion world long enough I have met many talented people, many famous people, and many of them are so not nice. I was lucky to have lovely bosses and there was no reason to be unfriendly just because you work in fashion or you work for Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar. There’s no reason to be cruel. I really tried to be as natural as possible and it’s nice to know that it came back to Aya.

4. Juliet and Eli, London

Juliet is the former editor of Hello Fashion Monthly and former International Managing Editor of Hello Magazine. Daughter Eli is a recent graduate.

Who inspires who?

Eli: I’ll go into mum’s wardrobe and find something she hasn’t worn for 10 years and I’ll put it together nicely and then suddenly she’ll come in and say, “Oh I was going to wear that tonight!” And I’ll respond, “Mum, you have not worn this for a decade.” So I think I actually give her a bit of inspiration.

Do you share the same tastes in fashion?

Juliet: In fashion and other things. We like to spend time together. We holiday together, go to spas and restaurants. Eli has quite expensive tastes —

Eli: Mum, can I stop you there? Where do you think I get my expensive tastes from?

Juliet: Good point. I may have to take responsibility for that.

Juliet: We both confide in each other. Eli will confide in me about things. I mean, I imagine you keep certain secrets —

Eli: No, I actually tell you too much! You know more than friends know.

Juliet: It’s a generational thing, because I wouldn’t dream of talking to my mum in such an intimate way about relationships, whereas Eli will be quite open about what’s going on in her life. It’s nice to feel that she trusts me in that way.

Eli: I feel like the most important person to talk to about things that are stressing you out is always your mum.

5. Beth and Ally, NYC

Ally, and her mother Beth run the popular instagram account @Sharing_Genes, a fashion page celebrating their shared love of style. Ally also works full time as a sales and merchandising coordinator for KaufmanFranco and Beth helps a friend with a new business. They also ‘side-hustle’ as virtual stylists. 

What do you admire about each other?

Beth: I admire her courage, her ambition, her confidence, but I do worry that she works too hard. She doesn’t let time pass her by.

Ally: I think her kindness with everyone. From her kids to her husband, even the cashier at the grocery store, she’s always kind to everyone she meets. 

Beth: From the guy who pumps the gas to the CEO, everyone has a story, everyone is going through something. The way you treat people that says a lot about you. 

Ally: I wish that my mum would realize how talented she is and that she should be known for her styling. You are too talented to be working for someone else, Mom.

Beth: Thank you. I always think it’s so important to have the right credentials. I didn’t go to FIT or NYU. I’m afraid that someone is going to think I’m a fraud. That’s why I’m grateful that Ally is dragging me along for the ride with our shared instagram account. People comment, “You’d better not miss the fact that this is the greatest thing — you’re spending time with your daughter and she actually wants to spend time with you.”

6. Joan and Natalie, London

Joan and daughter Natalie run a fashion business together known as Seabass. Joan also drives a London tube train and Natalie has another business making celebration cakes.

How would you describe your mother daughter connection?

Joan: Sometimes an idea will pop into my head and Natalie is at home in her house and the same idea will pop into her head. Honestly, it’s happened to us so many times. We are always on the same page. We’re very in tune with each other. But it didn’t used to be the case, however.

What changed?

Joan: When my daughter left home and we stopped having silly fights about mess or whatever else, it allowed us the space to grow in other areas.

Natalie: I think becoming a mother myself has brought our relationship to another level. We have that motherly connection now. I go to her for advice.

What do you admire about each other?

Natalie: Her strength. She knows who she is and, ever since I can remember, my mum has been such a hard worker — she’s always just tried to do her best. She doesn’t get much time for herself because she puts everyone else first.

Joan: I admire the fact that she is a very good mother to her son. You say that I’m strong, but you are as well. A lot of the decisions you’ve made for your son I admire. It takes guts to be a mother.

To read more about the women here and others, go to