Treasures and Gems: Style Lessons from Mother to Daughter

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER.  Dear Isabella necklaces in safety pin design make for the perfect mother-and-me heirloom that can be passed on from one generation to another.  PHOTOGRAPHY BY Realtor Brian Johnson .

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER. Dear Isabella necklaces in safety pin design make for the perfect mother-and-me heirloom that can be passed on from one generation to another. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Realtor Brian Johnson.

When it comes to style influences, no one has probably influenced us more, especially during our young and transformative lives, than our very own mothers. After all, didn't we all once sashay in our mother's oversized heels while we pretended to walk down imaginary runways? Was it not that the first lipstick we played with belong to our mothers? Didn't we once dig through their treasure box of accessories so we could wear one precious item to match our own Sunday's best dress?

SAFETY FIRST.  Dear Isabella's safety pin necklace is the perfect symbolism of a mother's love and protective care.

SAFETY FIRST. Dear Isabella's safety pin necklace is the perfect symbolism of a mother's love and protective care.

I have my mother to thank for exposing me to the possibilities of mixing and matching style pieces. A firm believer of self-care, she would never be caught looking anything less than put together. Her trademark bold red lipstick spoke of unmistakable confidence, a trait I continue to emulate now that I've become a mother myself. 

MOTHERLY LOVE.  She's always put your wants first. Return the favor this Mother's Day and surprise mom with something she would want: a stunning piece of jewelry.

MOTHERLY LOVE. She's always put your wants first. Return the favor this Mother's Day and surprise mom with something she would want: a stunning piece of jewelry.

As it comes full circle now that I have become my daughter's first style influence, I look back—in a timely manner as Mother's Day is just around the corner—of the gems of style lessons my own mother imparted upon me: 

1. Look for soulful details.

This is especially true in jewelry. There are some pieces that simply speak to you, one that evokes good energy. When I first saw this necklace by Dear Isabella Larimar Jewelry Company in an adorable safety pin design, it called my name.

Perhaps it is because the brand itself is founded by a mother inspired by her own daughter so I felt a kindling connection with the brand's story. Dear Isabella, eponymously named after the owner's daughter, is one mother's way to celebrate her daughter, aside from honoring the treasures of her birth home, the Dominican Republic. The brand's classic collection pays homage to the unmistakable bond between mother and daughter and each fine piece honors this lifetime love and connection.  

MOMMY AND ME.  When twinning with mommy is in order, accessorize with a piece of jewelry that your daughter could treasure for a lifetime.

MOMMY AND ME. When twinning with mommy is in order, accessorize with a piece of jewelry that your daughter could treasure for a lifetime.

2. Find timeless pieces.

Whether it's shopping for clothes or shoes, I tend to favor classic items that can last through multiple fashion seasons. This is also true in my choice of accessories. My mom, always the practical woman, taught me to invest in pieces that never go out of style, such as black dresses, white tops and precious gemstones.

CARIBBEAN GEM.  Larimar, the Caribbean gemstone, ranges from subtle green to deep blue in color.

CARIBBEAN GEM. Larimar, the Caribbean gemstone, ranges from subtle green to deep blue in color.

The part that has drawn me most to Dear Isabella's collections is that it is made with a unique gemstone called Larimar. A rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite, Larimar is only found in one place: in a little paradise island in the Caribbean called the Dominican Republic.

According to historians, when the gemstone was discovered in 1974 by Miguel Mendez and Norman Rilling on a beach at the foot of the Baroruco Mountain Range, Mendez named it Larimar after his daughter's name (Larissa) and the Spanish word for the sea (mar). Rightfully so, it is also known as the "Caribbean gemstone" for its color evokes the aqua blue Caribbean waters, although it could generally range from subtle green to deep blue in color.

Like many gemstones believed to exude positive energy, Larimar is thought to provide peace and clarity, radiating healing and love energy.

LESS IS MORE.  Let an intricate jewelry shine by pairing it with a simple top.

LESS IS MORE. Let an intricate jewelry shine by pairing it with a simple top.

3. Embrace the anomalies in design.

In design, there's always that one beautiful imperfection that makes an item perfect. This is something my mom had shown me through her style choices, whether she was buying a local pottery or a piece of jewelry. 

You often get a little of that design anomaly in handmade creations, as no two items can exactly be alike when crafted by hand. When I look carefully to inspect Dear Isabella's necklaces, I can see how each piece is carefully handcrafted, giving every piece a unique craftsmanship that's fitting to become a treasured family heirloom a few years down the road. It is easy to tell there's much effort made in selecting the best possible gemstone. When it comes to Larimar, the general rule of thumb is this: The more blue the color, the higher the quality. 

SMALL BOXES, BIG SURPRISES.  The best things in life truly comes in small boxes. Delight mom with a thoughtful gift enclosed in a lovely blue box.

SMALL BOXES, BIG SURPRISES. The best things in life truly comes in small boxes. Delight mom with a thoughtful gift enclosed in a lovely blue box.

4. Live in style, but make it look easy.

In a nutshell, this was my mom's style mantra: Live in style, but make it look easy. She always made it looked effortless to dress up appropriately, put on makeup and fix her hair like it's nobody's business. I try to live in her example by taking the time for genuine self-care and putting comfort as high as looking chic. 

To do this, I try to dress up with the mindset that less is more. If the print design is screaming, tone it down by wearing a simple jewelry. Unless you are the iconic fashionista Iris Apfel, it is difficult to get away with wearing layers and layers of chunky necklaces against a psychedelic print. 

BIG HEARTS.  Nothing says "I love you, mom" more than a fine jewelry with a rare gemstone. 

BIG HEARTS. Nothing says "I love you, mom" more than a fine jewelry with a rare gemstone. 

As for this style shoot, the spotlight was on the stunning Dear Isabella jewelry, so I opted to showcase it with a bare neck and a simple black corset top. It can't get any more effortless than that.

Mother's Day or not, how do you plan to surprise the most important woman in your life? What style lessons have you learned from her? Let's share thoughtful ideas in the comment box below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dear Isabella Larimar Jewelry Co. All opinions are my own. To learn more about their latest launches, including on their upcoming bridal collection in June, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Dear Isabella ships free within the U.S. and internationally for orders more than $75. Browse their collections today to find the perfect Mother's Day gift!

Black and White: In Perfect Harmony

There's power in black and whitethe contrast of dark and light, the energy force of yin and yang and the minimalist appeal that speaks of unmistakable chic. Like moth to fire, I often find myself drawn to black and white separates when shopping, simply because I treat them like an artist's blank canvas, you can be as creative as you want when pairing them with the right pieces.

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While I can't resist the adorable prints and colors when shopping for Ariana's clothes, I try to also invest in neutral-colored items like clean white shirts or basic black leggings because they are easier to pair with everything else adorable in her closet. A good style tip, however, is to resist the urge to keep it too basic. For instance, for this photo shoot, Ariana is wearing a white Gap Kids top designed with an adorable Peter Pan collar, giving it just the right amount of fun.

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I keep the same style rule when shopping for my own clothes. I like white tops that generally have a little fun surprise, like a tiny accent ribbon or an asymmetrical collar. Or, instead of a solid black skirt, I'd choose a lace skirt so it creates a polished yet slightly girly look.

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Because a black-and-white combo often says "safe," wear it with something edgy to take the "blah" off "basic." In other words: Don't be afraid to pull out those pair of high boots to add a punch to your overall look. 

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How about you? Do you adore black and white clothes as well? Or are you "allergic" to anything basic? If you love the minimalist look, how do you keep black and white chic?

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Mommy's Style: Kenar Long-Sleeved Zip-Up Shirt | The Limited Lace Pencil Skirt | Nine West High Boots

Ariana's Style: Gap Kids White Shirt with Peter Pan Collar | H&M Black Leggings | Cynthia Rowley Mary Janes

Location: Hyde Park and Downtown Tampa | Photography: Brian Johnson

SHOP BLACK & WHITE INSPIRATIONS BELOW:

Wild Side

It takes a brave mommy-and-daughter duo to pull off a twinning look of animal prints. After all, wildlife spots are not easy to wear, especially since this choice of prints can quickly go from classy-to-scary in one quick fashion faux pas. But there are ways to make the look edgyas long as you keep it classy.

TIP 1: Whether it's a leopard-print dress or a boho-inspired vest, wear animal prints with confidence. Nothing makes a lady feel elegant than confidence itself, so be bold when you step out into the world. It's your birthright, proclaim it: "I am woman. Hear me roar!"

TIP 2: Tone down the wild print with something neutral, like a pair of black stilettos or a nude pair of flats. It's very difficult to pull off a head-to-toe animal print style without looking like a female counterpart of Tarzan lost in an urban jungle. 

Ariana's Style:  H&M Vest, Carter's Corduroy Pants, H&M Flat Shoes with Bow Detail

Ariana's Style: H&M Vest, Carter's Corduroy Pants, H&M Flat Shoes with Bow Detail

TIP 3: An exception to tip #2 is if you are an adorable five-year-oldso yeah, be extra playful! Cheetah is one of Ariana's favorite animals (next to unicorns, she says), so she's all about wearing animal prints from vest down to her adorable ballet flats.

TIP 4: Pare down the accessories. It's often difficult to self-edit when dressing up, but that's exactly what you need to do with animal prints. Don't overdo with chunky accessories and oversized purses. Instead, keep everything else simple to keep the look minimal and allow the print to speak your style.

How about you? How do you like to wear your spots and stripes? Let's chat, leave us some style ideas in the comment box.

Click for Ariana's shopping inspirations:

Youngland Drop-waist Dress with Animal Purse

Carter's Animal Print Slip-On

Click for Mommy's shopping inspirations:

Marc Fisher United Pump

Marta Leopard Knit Dress

The Limited Printed Snap Front Coat