For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes and all the mothers who don’t. For those who show up at work with milk stains on their dress and diapers in their handbags. For those mothers who cannot restrain tears from trickling down their cheeks when they hold their babies for the first time. To all mothers of all ages, of all shapes and sizes without whom life would have been insufferable, we would like to wish you everyday a very Happy Mother’s Day.
Today we have Imtiyala Jamir, a freelance writer/copy editor based in Dimapur who, like most of us, grew up under the guidance of her mother, a designer. Our wardrobe as a kid was our mother’s own closet. Here is a chat with Imti about her stylist mother who has always been her style icon, and someone she looks up to.
Imtiyala Jamir (right) with her fashionista mom (left)
An introduction for our special lady, your mother, would be nice to start things off.
My mother Achila Ao is a homemaker from Longkum village, currently residing in Mokokchung town. She has the most generous heart and the warmest spirit; her pork roast is to die for and her sense of style and love for fashion is equally unparalleled. My mother has always baffled me. Like all mothers, she had to fulfill her societal role as the ‘good wife’ and the ‘super mom’ labels that tend to put an unprecedented amount of pressure on the idea of motherhood by placing it on a pedestal of selflessness and sacrifice. We had moved to Shillong when my elder brother and I had not yet learned to recite our ABCs so it was a challenging time for my mother to not only raise two kids on her own (my father worked in Nagaland so he was away most of the time) but also adapt herself to a completely new territory, devoid of familiarity and the comfort of home. Now that I’m old enough to understand the difficulties and hardships that come along with raising a young family, I am amazed at my mother’s sheer tenacity and strength to overcome the hurdles that were strewn across her path. She taught us to be kind and caring individuals; to grow and learn in the face of defeat. Not only did she provide us with all our needs often sacrificing her own comfort, but she provided us a home brimming with joy and the love of God. I am not yet a wife nor a mother so I can’t say if she met the societal expectations that was expected from her, but if that doesn’t epitomise the enigma that is motherhood, I don’t know what will.
Has your mother influenced any of your style?
In terms of style, my mother and I are polar opposites. She loves colours and patterns that pop; that stand out and add more substance to her cheerful personality. I, on the other hand have an affinity for sombre, toned down colours preferably in hues of grey and black. However, over the years, there has been a steady addition of an occasional colour splash in my monochromatic wardrobe. I’m thankful for her not-so subtle hints of my boring love for ‘dull colours’ over the years. I’ve learned to accept and appreciate my mother’s advice that bright colours, when picked in the right shade, can be a great addition to any kind of style capsule.
Imtiyala’s mom wears white bohemian long tops with a pair of trousers, finishing off the looks with a tote bag
Here she styles her outfit with a pair of black pants and a striped tops, teaming it with a pair of comfy sandals and a neon green sling bag
Have you ever recreated any of your mother’s outfit, which outfit and why?
I’ve never really tried to recreate any of her outfits, as I’ve mentioned earlier that we’ve got different tastes in style. I’ve always been rather apprehensive about wearing outfits that draw a lot of attention, but I’ve begun to slowly toy with the idea that maybe a little bit of attention in the right taste isn’t such a bad thing?
What’s one of your favorite trends that your mother follows?
My mom has the largest collection of earrings and believe me when I say this, she has a pair in every possible colour, shape and design, and one for every possible outfit. I love her impeccable instinct to pick just the right one to either embellish a simple dress or to add balance to an outfit. Thanks to her, I have been inspired to start a collection of my own although I’m nowhere near what she has collected over the years.
Who is a better dresser, you or her?
That is a debatable question, with both of us favoring our own style for the other. But I’ve always admired my mother’s keen sense of awareness of all the latest trends and her ability to incorporate them into her style effortlessly, without looking like she’s 50 going on 25. I, on the other hand generally tend to stick to the basics and rarely step out of my comfort zone. So perhaps for that reason, I’d say she is a better dresser.
An old photo of Imti and her mom some decades back
An old photo of Imti and her mom some decades back
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