Mothers and daughters have a complicated relationship and, as any who have ever gone shopping together — particularly when a prom dress is involved — can attest, clothing often causes some of their most emotional interactions. Yet it’s an area where each has the other’s best interest at heart. Personal stylist Luciene Salomone knows their fashion concerns. Drawing on her experience, she helps moms and daughters find great new looks in the series You’re Wearing That?!?, premiering Aug. 19 on WE tv.
We spoke with Salomone just after she returned from a vacation in Riviera Maya. Well rested, she gave us the inside scoop on her series and her own mother and daughter relationships.
What drew you to this series?
Luciene Salomone: I always get such a charge out of mother and daughter relationships because everyone feels like theirs is unique but there are so many similarities. And it all comes from a good place — a place of love — which is great.
You are a mom yourself. Did you draw on some of your own experience?
Yes. I am very close with my 9-year-old daughter and very close to my mother. So I am in an interesting position because I am both mother and daughter. When you become a mother, you always say, “I will never be like my mother,” even though, in my case, I have a pretty terrific mother. But you know, there are those nagging qualities when they drive you a little bit crazy. So I go into parenting thinking I will do it in a fresh and different way and, more often than not, I wind up parenting just like my mother because there are certain things that are so frustrating. [Daughters] have their own opinions, but you clearly see through your own experience and mistakes that it isn’t the best thing for them. It’s very difficult.
Tell me about your involvement in the series? How did you and WE tv connect for this?
I was a stylist for many years and many of my clients had daughters. The daughters were either borrowing their mother’s clothing or didn’t want to go shopping with their mothers. And the production company thought there was a series there.
In each episode, you have a young woman who wants to move on with her life and her mother is telling her, “You aren’t doing this right or that right.” And the dressing issue is such a hot topic. For the mom, though they want to be cool and let their daughters think they are kind of accomplished and have style, more often than not they have sort of given up because they are dedicating their lives to their children.”
There’s a range of emotions. There are a lot of heartwarming stories of mother and daughters who love each other very much and really want to do this for the other person. You’ll hear daughters say, “My mom has been so selfless her whole life. She’s dedicated her life to raising a family and now here’s a chance to do something really nice for her.”
How did you find the mom and daughter pairings? And where did you film?
It was all shot in Los Angeles and the production company, Authentic, was responsible for casting. Our youngest daughter was 14 and the oldest 27. There were also older moms and daughters that you will see in later episodes … so there’s the notion that you are never too old to have style.
As a boomer myself, I know I am fashion-challenged and don’t want to dress my age. Is this a common problem for women who were once part of the flower power generation? And how can they find a fashion that is right for their temperament and their age?
It’s a challenge, but the difference is when our mothers shopped, their choices were limited. And there was a definite idea about growing older. Today you see women 50, 60 even 70 years old and they’re stunning. And they are not limited to certain things. They have choices, many choices, of where to shop or how to shop — online, in stores, in outlets. There’s even been this whole resurgence of going back in your closet and finding great vintage pieces to mix with new pieces. So the challenge is the same for older women as for younger women, which is defining your style for where you are in your life, what your body type is like and how you feel comfortable expressing yourself.
There is no reason for any women to not be stylish. Of course, there are certain things you have to retire. You don’t want to see people of a certain age walking around in really short shorts or tight leather pants. But for the most part, there are so many options and variations on, for example, skirts or suits or pantsuits. And there is so much help out there. I don’t know how many people realize that there are so many stores that offer personal shopping service.
You worked in that field at Bergdorf Goodman, correct? I know that other stores employ personal shoppers. Is this a good way to find a fresh new look?
Yes. I had very different clients. [Bergdorf Goodman] was a store that was built on service. It was a very high-end luxury store and the service they provided was really unbelievable. They had many different clients, many different ages and many different disposable incomes. There were people who could afford the best of the designers and people that were on a budget. Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and many other stores offer the service. It helps the business in the store and it’s free to the client. You are not paying a fee but you are having the expertise of somebody helping you select clothing. You have to be a little careful because in some cases the shoppers work on commission, but overall it’s a great service and if you meet the right person and build a rapport with that person, you will always have a great sounding board.
What I love about what we’ve been doing [is that] I’m starting to train the mothers and daughters to be each others’ shoppers. All of a sudden, moms and daughters who go shopping, instead of, “I hate shopping with my mother,” say, “I think my mother has a really good idea of what looks good on me.” That’s what we’ve done with this show.