80s fashion Moms

Looking back on 80s Mom Fashion and Our Mothers

This issue we had a lot of fun going back into the MO archives to ask our mothers how they made their wardrobes work for them. We heard a lot about trends from pastels to polyester but what we heard above all is that classic, easy to wear garments were the trophy pieces in their closets. We must be their daughters because we can't agree more or thank them enough for being our mothers. 


Karen Leno, mom to Kelsey, MO Design Team


-What was in fashion when you became a mom?

Big hair (often permed) / shoulder pads / high waisted jeans / geometric patterns / pastel & neon colors / big glasses / Ray Bans


- Was staying “on trend” as a new mom important to you?

I was mostly interested in finding clothes that were comfortable and flattering to a changing body.


- What was your wardrobe staple as a new mom?

I had an oversized, boxy, tweed blazer with shoulder pads. It looked good with skinny pants and high top tennies. It covered my middle section, which I wanted to do as a new mom, but it looked cool in a David Bowie sort of way. So I felt appropriate but cool.


- How did you make your wardrobe work for you?

I kept my shopping to a minimum at first, buying just just a few inexpensive items. The larger sizes I needed at first did not fit for long. Oversized tops with slouchy necklines were popular at the time. Those worked for a good while. My husband bought me a yellow sundress that looked good with my larger bust but only fit well for a couple of weeks. It was a nice little splurge to make him happy.


- How would you describe your mother style?

My style has pretty much been snappy casual. Comfortable but polished. (I hope)


- What was your biggest mom fashion win?

Maxi floral a-line dresses.


- What do you wish you had fashion-wise as a new mom/mother?

I love using crossbody bags. I wish they had been more prevalent back in my early days.


- How has your style evolved as a mom?

My style has improved because I am a mom. My daughter has been obsessed with fashion and design since she was a toddler. She has inspired me to pay more attention to fashion myself. She is a great source for fashion advice.


- If it applies, do you have a grandma style???

Slim pants or leggings. Tunics. Booties. 

- What is your number one style do/must have and how does Mother Oxford fit in?

Slim pants or leggings. Tunics. Mother Oxford fits in famously.


Jane Barry, Mom to Lydia, MO Founder


- What was in fashion when you became a mom? 

I first became a mom in 1975.  It was sort of the end of the hippie era of flower child type flowy clothes and the beginning of a development of more structured style for women who were working outside the home.  My clothes were a combination of "bell bottom" slacks for casual wear, a hangover from the hippie styles and more professional blazers, knee length or below skirts with boots.


- Was staying “on trend” as a new mom important to you? 

I have never been a slavish follower of the trends.  It was/is important to me to look my best, but often that requires ignoring many of the fads.


- How would you describe your mother style (as if after the babies got older)? 

I didn't have a "mother style."  I think I dressed the same before my first baby was born and after she was born.  That may be because I had my first child so long after I was married - 9 years.  So, it wasn't a matter of switching from young, sexy, alluring clothes meant to attract the opposite sex to a more practical, demure "mother style."  


- What was your biggest mom fashion win? 

I don't know if I had one?!


- What do you wish you had fashion-wise as a new mother? 

I realize from this question that I DID have a "mom fashion win" b/c polyester was a big thing in the '70's and it was great for allowing one to seamlessly transition from professional woman to dealing with the messiness of a child.  Polyester doesn't wrinkle, is easy to wash and wear and if it's a print,, you can spill your breast milk, peanut butter and jelly, whatever on it and it hardly shows!  It's a real winner for a mom! 


Marie Trebonik, Mom to Alexis, MO Marketing Team

"Because you were born in July,  the hot Tulsa weather dictated my fashion sense as a new mom! Shorts and a top that made nursing easy was the only necessary wardrobe.  Since I chose not to go back to work, my wardrobe consisted of comfortable, easily washable pieces.  Later, luckily my body got smaller quickly so I was able to wear whatever I wanted.  I never really followed trends and always chose classic pieces,  some that I can still wear today and do! Today as a grandma, I haven't changed my style much.  I do love wearing skinny jeans and leggings so I have included appropriate tops to my closet.  A Mother Oxford shirt definitely works with my style.”