Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me. I lost my mother at age 15, but I feel so blessed to have had a motherly figure who instilled confidence and a sense of self in my twin sister and me so early in life. I think most women realize later in life how their mother influenced them, but with my mother’s death, I was forced to make that realization in my early 20’s.

It wasn’t until I started my own fashion line, Presenza, that I realized, I really am my mother’s daughter, even when it comes to fashion. I guess I never understood the extent to which my mother’s words really influenced my behavior towards my own style and approach to fashion. My mother certainly knew how to dress for an occasion, while also being able to inject her personal style and personality into an outfit at the same time, and I had picked up on my mother’s attitudes towards fashion. There are times when my father will look at me & say, “That looks like something your mother would have worn”. I take it as a compliment since she taught me that quality over quantity is best.

Unlike me, my mother wasn’t a full-chested female–she was packin’ heat in the rear. Hopefully she won’t be mad I’m telling you all that! Anyway, like most women in my family, there’s usually a part of our bodies that makes it difficult to shop easily for clothing. When my mother found something that fit her well and looked great, she would buy it, regardless of its price. Those items were typically well constructed and made from quality materials.

She would always mention some key elements to finding well-fitting clothing. They include choosing garments made of quality fabric which had a nice “hand” to them and draped well, selecting colors that enhanced our skin tone and staying away from certain trim details which added an element of cheapness to the clothing’s look.

Not only have I applied these principles to my own shopping habits, but also to the design elements of Presenza’s inaugural top collection. I took into consideration some common problems I heard from various women over the years. Many women don’t like exposing their arms, particularly in an office setting; some don’t feel like the length of many blouses or tops hang long enough to cover their rear end; and others feel like they can only find ‘nouveau burlaps’ to wear in order to cover their chest appropriately! I wanted to design something that allowed for style and comfort–the two don’t need to be exclusive of one another.

My mother used to say, “If you got it, flaunt it.” I’m lucky my mother’s advice instilled a sense of confidence in me and I made sure Presenza’s tops were constructed to flaunt what you got too!