My Mom’s Tomboy Style

My mom recently sent me some old family photos of our cousins, summer vacations, all sorts of things—but what stood out most was my mom’s incredible style. She wore Wellington boots, flannel shirts and my dad’s sweaters, and her pieces were loose and relaxed. Yet through her tomboyish style, she still exuded grace and femininity. I’m so inspired by these beautiful photos and am going to try to shop my closet to see if I can create some similar outfits. What was your mom’s style like?

P.S. Having babies in Paris, and my mom through the years.

  1. Hannah says...

    So much, I’m enjoying reading about your mom…but the post, Having babies in Paris is for me, anyway, a dead link.

  2. Kyra says...

    I thought the picture of your mom with you and your twin sister was Toby. I had to do a double take.

  3. Prudence Yeo says...

    Wow, I love your mum’s casual chic style with its cool minimalist appeal! Thanks for sharing these pictures, they are absolutely lovely!


  4. AH, if only. My mother’s best involves 80’s “band at the pub” sheik, and at its worst, she looks like she shops in the kids section– she’s only 5′ tall, and its really that she’s small…

    but Jeans and an oversized jumper, and always having comfy pajamas, these two things she gets right every time.

  5. Wow! Your mother is truly gorgeous! Her simple style was perfect. Definitely plan on thrifting/shopping my and my fiances closet asap to see what I can come up with! I love looking through old photos. My mom was very Marsha Brady in shorter shorts and lots of loose dresses :) I really wish she had saved more of her old clothes!

  6. very nice,and reminds me of how my mom was before she took up a different profession.In her past work,she was often the only woman meeting up,managing,and discussing with male coworkers at her level.She wore a suit and tie,and when she came home,she lounged in baggy jeans and loose sweaters.Even so,like these pics,it’s not what some women wear at times.It is how you still can not mistake anything masculine about them in spite of.

  7. In the 70s it wasn’t considered tomboyish for a girl to wear flannel shirts just like your Mom did. Most girls had at least one plaid, flannel shirt. I knew a couple of girls back then who wore flannel most days and they were not thought of as a tomboy. I loved that look. Too bad women have to abandon it as they get older.

  8. I love the tomboy look– especially since it is so comfortable. My kids also tend to go for the tomboy look. We found some great summer clothes at Burlington Coat Factory that had that feminine touch with a tomboy appeal. We got great prices on some designer brand name clothes.

  9. blog looking awesome each and every line and images are very nice.

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  14. Lovely photos. I hope that we look just as stylish to our daughters and sons on day!

  15. These photos are amazing! Your family seems way cool. Such an inspiration!

  16. You’re right! She does look incredibly beautiful in these tomboy looks! My mum is stylish, but remembers to dress her age too, which I

  17. Joanna, these photos are amazing. Some of them look like styled catalog shoots.


  19. the pic of you and your sis in striped hats looks just like toby! the both of them!

  20. Oh man, that first picture is amazing. Love the style and love being tomboyish.

  21. i love it. and it makes me feel better about not wanting to dress girly. i like pants! but i’m not as fancy as katherine hepburn. i’m an adult tomboy! and that’s okay. :)

  22. She really shines, what a beautiful woman.

  23. Those yellow suits are awesome!

  24. I love old photos! It’s crazy to think that someday our photos will look vintage and akward

    Your mother is lovely!

  25. You look so very much like your mother and your baby photos look exactly like your son!
    Vive la family!!

  26. Agree with others! The first thing I thought was how much Toby looks like you!

  27. Looking at the pictures of you as a baby, I realized how much Toby looks like you! Your mum is beautiful! My own mum passed away when I was young, so one of the only ways I have to remember her is to look at pictures of her back in the 80s. She had a very classic style. :)

  28. I just noticed the QEII photo…I was on that boat as a baby too, when my family was moving back from Paris. I think you should definitely try to emulate that style, it’s classic and emphasizes your mom’s natural beauty

  29. I love tomboy style!

  30. OMG fifth picture of you and Lucy, you guys look so much like Toby!

  31. Hi Joanna
    I love how you put your personal life on the blog and I’ve been wondering why you never talked about your parents break up/divorce. Since it’s a very personal thing, speacially for your parents, maybe you could say how it felt from your point of view, etc. You’re so good talking about life events and I think it’s a great topíc. Anyway, just a suggestion.

  32. also, Joanna, this is a weird question, but would you mind if I drew or painted a version of that first photo? I just love it. it would not be for sale or anything, just for me…

  33. Your mom was so beautiful when she was young! And you really look so much like her, it’s amazing!

  34. Um is it weird if I want to Pin these photos of your mom and use them for style inspiration? These are amazing and I know just what you mean about her style. Also, can we talk about that hair flip? These are great!

  35. Absolutely gorgeous photos! Your mom is beautiful. I love looking through old photos of my mom as well. Her style was impeccable and I always wish she had kept those clothes so I could wear them now! I should take your suggestion and try to shop my closet to recreate them.

  36. which one is you on the 6th picture from the top? the one on the right?

  37. So beautiful. I love the first one and the one on the boat. You should try to recreate that one with Toby :)

  38. That first picture? I could have sworn that was you!
    My mom had awesome style when she was in high school, first got married and when my brother and I were little. Really, she has only started dressing “older” in the past 10 years. She still isn’t old though, she just says she is age appropriate. :)

  39. Tobby looks like you when you were a baby, it’s incredible !!!

  40. *your….whoops!

  41. You’re mom is seriously so beautiful! with her long straight hair parted down the middle, she had such a sweet style!

  42. I’m loving your mom’s classic style! My mom wore a lot of cowboy boots and fringe back in the late 80’s to early 90’s.


  43. There is so much you in Toby’s little face. And your mom is darling. I remember my mom wearing a lot of polyester. And a really big perm. She was styling, but definitely not a tomboy. . .

  44. wow. i think toby looks just like the two of you.

  45. It’s always fun looking at old photos from this era- and I love that unique fuzzy quality to them that only film can give :)

    My mom had a great old pair of bellbottom overalls that I used to wear in middle school. Unfortunately for the most part, I used to be embarrassed by her clothes- and only appreciate them now, once she’s gotten rid of most of them!

  46. Jo, these pictures are so great! Your mom is beautiful and you look so much like her.

    My mom had a very similar style and I am now inspired to go look through some old pics, too!

  47. That pictures are so climatic, really good :)

  48. She looks so relaxed and still effortlessly chic.
    And you can totally tell that she’s your mom : )

  49. I don’t know if anyone said this already, but in the picture with your mom holding you(your sis?) wearing a striped hat, you look just like Toby!! :)

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  51. Wow, these photos are beautiful!

    My mom’s style was more of a “I take what I get” – in the GDR there wasn’t much of a choice and much time to shop for an average income woman with a full time job and two kids. Regardless there are still some photos of my mama where she looks soooo similar to Berlin hipsters right now with her floral polyester tops and high waisted pants, it’s stunning! So in my book, she’s a real trend-setter. :-)

  52. Am I the only one who thinks Alex looks just like Joanna’s dad??? (imagine a beard on her dad, et voila!)

  53. my mum wore indigo denim flares with a nice wool sweater and a low wedge tan lace up. her hair is curly and she always wore it short. and she looked amazing in short shorts on the beach – alas i have not inherited her legginess. x

  54. aww joanna these photos are so precious!

  55. Oh I just love this! Thank you for posting… x Hana

  56. What gorgeousness photo of you and your mom! Really! I also really believe that this would be a perfect style for you.

  57. Would be interesting to see pics of your mum at present time. Did she preserve the tomboy style

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  59. Wow. What a beauty. A little bit Diane Keaton and a little bit Ali Macgraw?

  60. Your mom is so beautiful! And you are also very lucky to have these pictures of her when she was younger :) I love when I stumble upon old photos of my parents… it just touches my heart!

  61. Your Mom is one fashionable, beautiful lady! :) After she got married, my Mom used to wear a signature big, round Bindi…and she had big eyes…so when she was angry, one look from her was enough to convey that. :)

  62. How precious! Your mom is so beautiful. I love her style!

  63. I love all the candid photos. I feel like I am a deer in headlights smiling in every photo I’ve ever taken, but I love the “sneak peek” feel of these candid shots! Gorgeous. I was born in the wrong decade…

  64. i just love the last two photos–everything about them! I agree that the photos are wonderfully “caught in the moment”, and her style in the last two is so casual and around the house.. yet still stylish.


  65. your mom is so beautiful and her style was absolutely lovely.

  66. Something about her essence reminds of Annie Hall. Just lovely!

  67. oh my gosh! 6th picture down, baby on the left looks SO MUCH like Toby! These pictures are beautiful

  68. She’s great and reminds me of you. You are your mothers daughter ! Are you the one in the stripe hat?


  69. you have your mom’s style already. it’s more than just wardrobe. It’s the way you hold your son, like she held you. It’s the way you look at Toby the way she looked at you. It’s your mannerism. It’s the way you carry yourself and perch your head.

    You’ve nailed it.

  70. AHH! Sixth picture down, whoever is on the left looks JUST like Toby. So cute!

  71. These are some classic photographs, all so natural and warm. You are quite lucky to have them!

  72. The baby photos of you and your sister remind me of Toby!

  73. Oh wow what great photos! And what a good looking family, makes me think of the Kennedys a wee bit. Your right such great style. And the top one reminds of that famous picture of Jane Goodall when she was in her 20’s. I have a great picture of parents celebrating the new year in 1970!! I may post it soon. They look very Mad Men!

  74. these photos make my heart swell! your mother is so beautiful! it’s neat to see you in her.

  75. Toby really looks like your dad!

  76. It’s so interesting to see how genetics play out. Your little Toby really resembles you as a baby and I can also recognize your dad in his face. Thanks for sharing.

  77. I swear, my mom has long been my go-to style guru. She inherited a lot of my grandmother’s Swedish sensibilities and coupled it with her Palm Springs upbringing for an end result that’s always flawless. I’d say it’s kind of effortless cool, though she’d probably tell you she spends a LOT of time achieving that effortlessness!!

  78. i LOVE this post!

  79. Lovely photos! Your mom is so effortlessly stylish. And that navy striped hat is so adorable.

  80. oh wow, these are incredible! what a treasure! your family resemblance is amazing.

  81. 3rd photo down, the little blonde child is a dead ringer for Toby!!

  82. growing up, my mom was always wearing lace blouses with her bra peeking out and long, tailored skirts and slacks (most of which she would sew herself). but i grew up very tomboyish and still lean towards comfortable, masculine details in my style choices. my mom is turning 60 next year and she still wears more see through clothing and higher heels than i do at 29.

    your mom is beautiful and there is so much of her face in yours.

    xoxo Susan

  83. Also, the resemblance between you and Lucy as babies and Toby is stunning!

  84. Your parents are so adorable and stylish! Love the pics of you and Lucy :-)

    Great new layout, by the way!

  85. Great photos. Though I just laughed & cringed (simultaneously) when I read “like an old film from the 70s.” Ha! I grew up wearing similar (with some flower child stuff thrown in for good measure). the reason this all looks so familiar & stylish is that it’s classic. Plus, Joanna’s mother is beautiful.

    The “natural” look so many of us had as teenagers/young adults is so much prettier (to me) than the hard-edged, over-groomed stuff of today. I don’t think I’m alone in this either from looking at Pinterest boards. I would never have thought, even 5 yrs ago, that so many younger women would aspire to what we took for granted. Thanks! xo/Susan

  86. beautiful. My mom is also a tomboy and I was a tomboy growing up and now I dress my girls like tomboys. It’s genetic I think.

  87. What great photos! I especially love the first one. You are lucky to have so many!

  88. I love the photo on the Queen Elizabeth II– so precious to see two little children laying in her lap together….having twins must be so wonderful!

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  89. These are such sweet pictures- I love that they are snippets of both special moments and every day life. As a soon-to-be first time momma, the inspiration on realistic but unique mom-style is wonderful. Thanks for posting!

  90. SO COOL. so cool. your mom’s got the look !

    aaaaaand, now i feel like a schlub.

  91. These are such beautiful images. These are the kind of photographs (old family photos) that inspired me to become a photographer. Really amazing. I am stunned at how much I can see Toby in you when you were his age. WOW. Thanks for sharing such intimate family snippets. PS- your mom is stunning.

  92. Wow, your mom is crazy amounts of beautiful, and she has amazing style. Thanks for sharing such lovely, warm, and intimate photos! My mom is from the Caribbean, and her style is definitely rooted in that, but she is always put together. Bright colors, lots of sparkle, hair always done, simple makeup. Nothing too structured, everything she wears has movement to it. She never dresses her age, she is in her 60’s, and still has no problem shopping the Juniors department, and she pulls it off beautifully!

  93. She really does exude such natural style and grace without seeming over-done or like she tries so hard. Thanks for sharing these! :)

  94. Your Mom is so beautiful and stylish. I agree, she has great style. My Mom was not so stylish. But, my Grandmother is and was. She is a great follower of fashion and never left her house without a great dress or skirt suit, stockings with heels, colorful scarf, and a bright lipstick. I loved watching her get out her compact and reapply her lipstick. So glamorous!

  95. Your mother really did have great fashion sense! Out of us four girls, I’m the one who most resembles our mom and my style is probably the closest to what hers was when she was younger. I even ended up (unknowingly) getting glasses that looked very similar to ones she had had. I thought they were absolutely awesome and she and my dad just laughed. My sisters and I all agree though: our Maman was (and is) quite stunning. I love looking back at old pictures of her.

  96. i just love looking at old photos of my parents and grandparents. my mom always had short hair… i am thinking that is part of why she always wanted me to grow mine out.

  97. great post! your mother is so beautiful and these photos look like they were taken straight from an old film from the 70s. love it

  98. Grr. *Your* (I hate when that happens).

  99. I love it! You’re mom has such great taste! She reminds me of my mom who used to wear cords, plaid, cashmere, moccasins, camel hair ponchos… And, yes, I raided her closet for all of her vintage clothes. To this day, I base my style after my moms.

    Awesome post, Joanna! :)

  100. I’m in love with this post. I just emailed my mom last weeks for old pictures of her to blog…I wore her senior homecoming dress to my senior homecoming dance, and it’s one of my best memories :)

  101. I love the outfit fourth down, I feel like that’s something I already own! Makes me want to go vintage shopping…

    I’m 21 so my moms style was classic ’80’s/90’S.

  102. It’s amazing how much you look like your mother, and how much Toby looks like you as a baby!! What a sweet, thoughtful post–I love looking at pictures of my parents at my age. Makes me realize how they’re still “people”–and not just my parents.

  103. I love these photographs of your mom!

    When I was young, I remember looking at my mom and thinking how awesome she was but I also wanted her to dress up MORE, wear MORE make-up, etc.

    As I get older myself, I now look at pictures of her and look at her now and really admire her confidence NOT to spend too much time fussing over clothes or beauty products. I also recognize that she was (and still is) very thoughtful in her choices. She knew what worked for her and wore THAT. She would pick the best bag she could afford and rock it until it was time to replace it.

    It took ME years to recognize how awesome that is but I’m on my way! Moms are the best!

  104. Awesome! She is SO stylish. I also find so inspiring my mum’s pics from the old days. Do you know if she still keeps some of her clothes from that time? I confess that I wore some of my mum’s clothes from when she was younger (Yeap, my mum doesn’t like to throw away things, which sometimes it’s a blessing..-sometimes!) Great post!

  105. Your father looks like Dennis Quaid in photo number 9!

    • I was thinking the same thing!

    • I thought so too and I did a Control+F to see if anyone had already commented about this!

  106. Wow, your mum had fab style. I was born in the 80s and the pictures of my mum from then make me cringe, sholderpads and shiny fabrics and plastic jewellery!

  107. My mommy is the same way! she loves black!. And btw you look like your mom and your son looks like you so cute. great blog

  108. My mom was not that classic looking (but I still love her). Think of “Nine to Five” and other extreme, terrible trends from the last five decades.

  109. your mother is beautiful! great style, indeed. i love that the photos are caught in action – so memorable. xoxo

  110. That first photo looks like you, and like everyone else, it’s crazy how much Toby looks like you and Lucy in that 5th photo. :) Thanks for sharing!

  111. I cannot believe how much Toby looks like you and you sister in the 5th picture down (striped hat). He could practically be a triplet!

  112. You look like Toby in the pic with the striped hat! Sweet post. You and your mom have such a lovely relationship from what you share on the blog. xo

  113. I love her plaids!

    My mom always wore a lot of dresses! For a while she even sewed matching mother & daughter! A little bit Little House on the Prairie. :) I have her “vintage” college track uniform that I wear running occasionally.

  114. What a great post. I was just looking through some of my Mom’s photos from when she was my age and thinking I’d love to try and emulate her style (fitted clothes, relaxed hair, crafty smile).

    You’re Mom looks like she knows what she was about. Love the picture of her on the mountain side. She looks so serene.

    Thanks for sharing!

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy