Author and photographer Ruthie Darling meets stylish mothers and daughters to discuss personal style and what their relationships mean to them. 

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Big Hair Girls and Anita

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

Lizzy (daughter): We say “Life.”

Aya and Jun

Aya (daughters): “I mean, of course if someone knows you and knows your mother, they are going to say she’s great, but I think it has happened enough times where the person has been “She was so nice to me and she didn’t have to be” that I know it’s true.”

Elaine and Nancy

Elaine (mother): “It’s hard to grow old. Suddenly you have to give over control to someone else.”

Mariah and baby Gogo with Grandma Patricia

Patricia (mother): “You don’t ever settle. I suppose it’s like me with my weight. I always feel a little bit “less than.” If someone labels you or says something mean to you, it doesn’t make it true. “

Karen and The Peter Girls

Karen (mother): “I always wanted to be a mom. I am the fourth daughter so it was perfectly wonderful that I had four daughters! We were really happy to have beautiful healthy baby girls.”

Judy and Jenny

Jenny (daughter): “We lived in a tiny apartment in Chelsea. My little brother was sleeping on an upside down coffee table with a mattress on it. We drew drawings on the wall. It sounds sad, but it was so much fun. It was humble. I don’t remember needing anything. I just really wanted to be with my mom.”

Wawa and Elda

Elda (mother): “When I was in the [wedding dress] showroom there were two girls my daughters’ age with their mother who was re-marrying and when I came out of the fitting room they started clapping telling me I looked beautiful. On reflection I wish my girls had been with me.”

Karen and the Peter Girls

Victoria (daughter): “I think she really instilled in us the desire to be really curious. She travelled a lot in her 20’s and now we all love to travel. She has always encouraged us. I have a lot of hobbies and interests and I think that’s fueled by her saying “You can do it, you just have to try.””

Jun and Aya

Jun (mother): “I was working under Julie Britt and I came back from a photoshoot with a major photographer and the editor Carrie didn’t like it at all. I was just devastated and Julie said “You know Jun, it’s so easy to criticize, but it’s so difficult to create. Just let it go.” I still remember it. Since then, I try not to criticize anything that people try to do because, who am I? It’s so easy to criticize.”

Patricia and Mariah

Mariah (daughter): “I think that’s the one mothering trait I am keen to adopt from her, maybe because I’m so loose. She always gave me the space to be myself. I actually wrote her note this morning that said, “Thank you for stepping outside of your comfort zone with me and encouraging me never to have one.” I think that’s why I dress the way I do, I will wear anything because I feel like I can.”

Wawa and Elda

Elda (mother): “When I had the children I wanted them to have a father around. I remembered the joy of having a father.”

Jenny and Judy

Judy (mother): “I ran a business, went to school and raised my kids. Back then you had to go to school and you had to work. I gave that to my children too. I’ll do anything for you, whatever you want, if you’re in school and you’re working.”


Elizabeth: “When I was in college I…um… ended up going to the hospital. There was no doubt in my mind that my sisters would support me. It was exactly what I needed because I doubted myself. They didn’t make fun of me for it, they didn’t hate me. They joked about it and were wonderful, that meant so much because I realized I wasn’t alone, I had three sisters who cared about me, even when I felt alone amongst forty thousand other students at Penn State. “

Elaine and Nancy

Elaine (Mother): Nancy grew up in this house, she went to school at Spence. She moved back in to take care of me and it’s been a wonderful adjustment for us. She lives downstairs with her husband.

Nancy (daughter): Thomas Wolfe was wrong, you can go home again. I’m not that sure you should, but you can.”

Lizzy Lightyear, Venus and Anita

Anita (mother): “They turned out to be such incredible young ladies, doing what they have a passion for without allowing anyone to stop them. They have the strength that I wish I had had at their age, to pursue my passion. I feel like I’ve done my job as a mom.”