I find fashion jargon occasionally baffling. The word "mumsy," for example, has come to stand for a vogue-less clothing look. For much of the Flippin' Fashion Industry (FFI), mumsy means thoughtless, feeble and ineffective dress sense. And while recently Dolce & Gabbana sent models accessorized with babies down the runways of Milan Fashion Week, this headline-stealing stunt did highlight the fact that women with children are normally anything but thoughtless, feeble and ineffective.
|Me and Mom, 1965|
My mom raised three children, supports and delights in her grandchildren, built a banking career, opened a clothing shop, buried a husband, remarried, perpetually seeks new experiences and takes pride in her rather chic appearance. With humor and panache she shines in a world that would just as soon make septuagenarians like herself invisible. If mumsy means style-less, then my mom is un-mumsy.
|Me and Mom 1998|
But when did mumsy's meaning get so muddled? Shouldn't this term be applied to those whose determination and experience is offered with creative concern? Let mumsy signify strength, sensitivity and style. That's surely what it's meant in my life. Shouldn't an industry keen to court women make "mumsy" high praise? Language is powerful, but never more so than when it's misused. I'm left wondering why the FFI continually insults women who, for many of us, were our first style icons?
|Mom and Me, 2013|