Study: Moms Look to Their Daughters for Style Inspiration

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Lindsay Lohan and her mother, Dina

Mom’s wardrobe and makeup drawer bring endless fun for a 5-year-old girl. But a recent study reveals that in a few years, mom will mimic her daughter’s fashion choices.

The Temple University study, directed by Ayalla Ruvio, sampled 343 mother-daughter pairs with an average age of 44 for the mothers and 16 for the daughters. The participants answered questionnaires about their fashion interests and shopping habits. Before this study, marketing experts had known for years that children can influence purchases for the whole family, like yogurt and juice, but not their mothers’ personal buys. While middle-aged moms look to their teenage daughters for fashion choices, daughters look the other way. When trying to achieve more mature looks, teenagers turn to celebrities, not their mothers, for the latest fashion tips.

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“The one thing the girls do not like is to look like their mothers,” Ruvio told Live Science. “They’re trying very, very hard to establish a separate, distinct image of who they are, and then the mother goes out and mimics them.”

But moms strutting in Forever 21 and toting Wet Seal? Perhaps this strange lopsided mother-daughter emulation goes further than teenage girls wanting independent identities. Our society touts looking like hot 20-somethings as the only standard of beauty, so many women, both young and old, strive to conform to that. Older women looking and even acting “young” is considered hip. For a while, it was getting harder and harder to tell the mom a part from the daughter on TV, and now it’s seeping into reality as well. No one, not even our moms, wants to look older.

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