It used to be daughters who would raid Mom’s closet — either to play dress-up or borrow some jewelry.
But nowadays, it’s Mom who’s doing the rifling.
Rebecca Merritt, a 40-something event producer living in Montclair, NJ, is constantly eyeing her 15-year-old daughter Lila’s colorful scrunchies and spiral hair ties. Not only does she raid Lila’s stash, Merritt buys such items for Lila fully intending to borrow them later — on the sly.
“I don’t buy scrunchies for myself, because I can’t admit that — at my age — they are still fun to wear,” she says. “Some days, Lila thinks it’s cute if I cop her look; other days, she’s horrified.”
Her husband, however, enjoys his wife’s “Saved by the Bell” look. “We knew each other as kids, and he remembers me at that age, wearing scrunchies,” says Merritt, who is 5-foot-11 and favors sleek, black outfits. “Using a hair accessory I wore at 13 cracks me and my husband up.”
With ’90s trends back in vogue, girls from teens to toddlers might want to put their accessories under lock and key.
Kids’ stuff — such as colorful and sparkly scrunchies, bedazzled headbands, velvety bows and shimmering barrettes — are all the rage among models, influencers and celebs such as Lizzo, Kate Middleton and Hailey Baldwin Bieber. And moms looking to experiment with the styles need look no farther than their young daughters’ closets.
“Often, people can find a trend daunting, so the perfect scenario is a mom having her daughter’s accessories to take for a test run,” says stylist Jordan Foster, who works with Ashley Graham, Karlie Kloss and Kate Upton, among others. “My sister, [actress] Sara Foster, has two daughters and has been borrowing their sparkly scrunchies and bows for years just to add a little something to a plain look.”
Personal shopper Hope Benbasset regularly borrows her daughter’s hair ties and scrunchies, gravitating toward the furry and textured ones.
Hope is 37, while her daughter is 5 1/2.
“I tend to buy more for her, and if her pieces go with an outfit of mine, then I borrow hers,” says the Tribeca-based mother of four.
Even her daughter’s cute handbag is fair game. Before a recent dinner party, Benbasset, in jeans, a tee and a blazer, swapped her pricey Chanel purse for her daughter’s vintage-looking bag.
“I wanted to add something a bit more fun to the outfit,” she says. “No one knew the difference.”
The fashion crowd agrees, and says there’s nothing infantilizing about this child’s play.
“We assume bows and glitter aren’t ‘serious’ or ‘professional’ or ‘grown-up,’ ” says entrepreneur Nell Diamond, the founder of Hill House Home, who favors youthful accessories such as heart-shaped sunglasses and glistening headbands. “I like being able to challenge typical notions of femininity at this stage in my career as a CEO of a profitable brand.”
Lisette Sand-Freedman, CEO at fashion marketing agency Shadow, is usually wearing her 4-year-old daughter Coco’s accessories.
“I have found fellow moms are actually sharing accessories with their 4- to 10-year-olds, as well,” says Sand-Freedman. “Maybe it’s in response to the heaviness of this cultural climate.
At this year’s VMAs, Lizzo blinged out her ponytail with a $100 Kira Kira scrunchie, emblazoned with 5,000 Swarovski crystals, from Scünci, a client of Shadow’s.
“The very next day, we had requests from influencers and celebrities looking for that scrunchie for their ‘daughters,’ ” says Sand-Freedman. “I recently had lunch with one of said mommy influencers — who shall remain nameless — and guess who showed up in the crystal scrunchie?”
But moms should take note of one potential downside to borrowing from their mini-me.
Whatever you do, says Benbasset, “Don’t lose your daughter’s stuff!”