Pearls of Wisdom: The Things I Learned from Mom

She may be the kind of mom who offers sound career advice or bakes the best cookies or is the person with whom you share all of your secrets; and maybe she’s all three. One thing we know to be true is that mothers do know best. Mother’s Day is certainly unique this year, and whether her special day will be celebrated with Facetime and flowers or breakfast in bed, it is a day to honor that special woman who teaches, inspires, protects and, most of all, loves.

This year we asked some of our most stylish friends to share advice they gathered from their own stylish moms. From fashion philosophies to the meaning of success, empathy, kindness and so much more, here are a few of the lessons they learned –– proof that Mom’s musings make lasting impressions.

“My mother was and still is glamorous by day or night. I don’t have a single memory of my mother in a sweatsuit, sneakers or without makeup. It was never a formal thing that she said to me or tried to teach me but the idea of being effortlessly dressed and put together every day just really resonated with me. Getting put together slightly dressed up in 5 minutes for me is easier than trying to dress down.”

– RACHEL ZOE
Fashion Designer


“My mother never cared about fashion, but she knew what suited her. She chose classic shapes. White was a favorite of hers, as it is of mine—utterly simple and easy to match. She also appreciated the punch of primary colors. One of my favorite photos of her is in a navy tank suit on a red beach chair. Simplicity was key; that was her lesson to me on many levels. She had a huge heart.”

– MARINA RUST
Author and editor



“My mother had a great figure and a small waist (which I inherited until I became a breeder), so she always recommended dresses with nipped-in waists. She is very pro-belt to this day. My mom always told me to wear lipstick, advice I basically rejected. (Colorless gloss doesn’t count.) My mother was of the school of taking off one piece of jewelry or accessory — too much was too much. My mother believed that diamonds — other than an engagement ring and/or a wedding band — were for evening (or daytime weddings). And my father was in the diamond business.”

– LISA BIRNBACH
Award-winning journalist, cultural commentator and best-selling author of  The Preppy Handbook and True Prep


“My mother loved everything matching and/or coordinating. For the holidays, my mom, my sister and I would always have on the same outfit, or at least we would be wearing the same color. My mom would make a lot of our dresses for every occasion, and my sister and I would have big girly bows on top of our heads to match our dresses. My mom taught me to be feminine.”

– JANIE BRYANT
Emmy-winning costume designer



“My fondest memory with my mom, Susan, is when I would go visit her when she worked on Wall Street as an M&A lawyer. I would walk from our loft in SoHo to her office in lower Manhattan. This was my first time experiencing business firsthand. One weekend my mom helped me start a lemonade stand in front of our loft building on Spring Street (great foot traffic!). It was very successful, and I learned all about “cost of goods sold.” My mom sat next to my lemonade stand the whole time because she was afraid I would get kidnapped! From that experience my entrepreneurial spirit was born on the streets of SoHo.”

– ZAC POSEN
Brooks Brothers Women’s Creative Director

ZAC POSEN’S MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH SUGGESTION:
GEORGE V SCRAMBLED EGGS

From Cooking with Zac: Recipes From Rustic to Refined: A Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

9 large eggs

3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half (or whole milk in a pinch)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (such as dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme)

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter


THE RECIPE


1. Whisk together the eggs, cream, herbs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

2. Heat 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and set a medium nonstick skillet over the saucepan. Let the skillet warm up for one minute (if the water is boiling too hard in the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium-low or low). Add the butter to the skillet, and once it melts, add the egg mixture.

3. Use a rubber spatula to slowly stir the eggs. After a few minutes, the eggs will begin to set and form small, creamy curds. Continue to slowly stir until the eggs are no longer raw and watery but are set and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Divide among platters and serve.

“My mom always said it doesn’t matter how accomplished you are if you aren’t kind to everyone. If people behave in a rude way, it’s usually because they’re unhappy, so it doesn’t matter how successful they are if they come home miserable. Always treat people with warmth and kindness…”

– JILL KARGMAN
Author, writer and actress


“My mom had great style. She loved clothes and accessories, and she loved to shop. But more than anything, her style was about her warmth and her way of engaging with people. She always reached out and connected to people, and she taught us to do that too. She always said that style was about so much more than what you’re wearing; style is how you express yourself, how you speak, how you stand, how you smile.”

– KATE BETTS
Fashion journalist and author