Throughout the history of fashion, mommy-and-me outfits have come in and out of style. In the 1950s, it was not uncommon to see moms and daughters wearing matching outfits. Now, the trend is back in style, with many celebrity moms and kids “twinning.”
According to experts, matching mother-daughter outfits tend to come back in style when there’s a cultural emphasis on family and mother-daughter relationships. Matching styles may also be a sign of affluence, with moms either having the leisure time to sew outfits or the budget to spend on high-end matching clothes.
The concept of matching mother-daughter outfits didn’t catch on until the early 1900s. Jeanne Lanvin sparked the trend after giving birth to her only child in 1897. Seizing the opportunity to fill a gap in the market, Lanvin created a line of children’s clothes that used the same textiles she used in her adult women’s sportswear lines.
Her daughter was her model, and the two were often seen in Paris wearing coordinating couture outfits.
Mother-daughter fashions fell out of style during the Great Depression, but would resurface in the 1930s thanks to Hollywood. Actresses were often photographed with their daughters wearing matching outfits. In Life magazine’s July 1938 issue, the publication noted that the trend did not become popular until that summer.
The trend continued and intensified through World War II. The emphasis at this time was on the home front and having everyone do their part to aid in the war effort.
Mother-daughter fashions continued to be trendy through the 1970s, when the rise of the working mother put such fashions on hold.
The trend remained dormant for decades, but is now making a comeback, particularly in Hollywood. It’s common to see celebrities and their daughters wearing matching clothing. We’re now even seeing matching family outfits. Target is pioneering this trend, offering matching mother-daughter and father-son outfits that all coordinate together.
Experts speculate that the trend is partly fueled by the fact that more dads are taking a hands-on approach to parenting and are more open to such ideas as matching outfits.
Today’s mommy-and-me looks are usually store-bought, as most moms are working and have little time for sewing. Designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and the rebooted Lanvin are designing matching mother and daughter outfits that affluent families are buying. For everyday families, Target and other big-box stores offer more affordable matching fashions for the family.