{lifestyle} Food and Fashion Collide at Lillian's of Naperville

Let me preface this article by stating like so many mothers, since having children, I have not tapped into my inner fashionista in a loooooong time!

With that said, getting the courage to ask a fashion editor of an extremely popular local lifestyle magazine to style me for my web-based cooking show, was a ballsy move on my part. But, I had to admit that I needed help in the fashion department.

Getting in touch with my inner fashionista while getting styled by Lisa Gangi and outfitted at Lillian’s of Naperville, was very much out of my comfort-zone and I’m pretty sure it showed. These ladies with their perfectly coiffed hair, clothes that looked to-date and totally in-style made me think to myself, “What the french toast am I doing here?!” I mean, these group of women just yesterday were literally strutting down the runway for a local women’s club! Today, I was a little down and thought that compared to these women, I am merely a mom who loves to cook and not nearly as cool and hip as these gals…just one of those days.

Lisa Gangi, Owner of Elle Services

But fashion was never a distant thing for me growing up in the Philippines. My mother, who’s name is appropriately, Lillian, had a growing fashion business she named after herself of course, called Lillian’s Fashion House. She began her fashion business while working full-time as a pharmaceutical sales rep and contracted with companies to provide uniforms for their workers. A total powerhouse of a woman.

My mother, Lillian in her younger days.

She then grew her business, with her savvy personal skills into dressing famous starlets and politicians! Although never a designer, my mom has great taste in clothes and understands how great clothes are made. She got her love for fashion while growing up, watching and learning from my grandmother who was a seamstress, and who made my mom help her sew clients’ clothing after school.

As for myself, well, I thought I would fall right in line with my mother and grandmother in turning fashion into a career and even (briefly) attended fashion school for design. I quickly realized that although I have a great appreciation and respect for great design, I did not catch the fashion bug like my mother did as a young woman.  I did however, catch the cooking bug thanks to my mom (and both grandmothers), much like how she caught the fashion bug from her mother.

As a busy mom like the rest of the world, it is sometimes very difficult to enjoy the moments that are meant to be especially for me. I get so busy taking care of my family, growing my business, cooking, etc. that I often forget how it feels to truly have some fun and enjoy.

Scarves very playfully displayed as a skirt at Lillian's of Naperville

Today, during my stay at Lillian’s with boutique owner, Ursula Schroeder, her in-house stylist Mary Fran Greenberg, and fashion editor Lisa Gangi, reminded me that while I am focusing on making people feel good through my cooking, that I too should take the time to make myself feel good as well, whether through some fashion or whatever it may be.

Food and fashion, fashion and food. I guess the two do belong in the grander scheme of things. Food makes people feel good and can bring people together who otherwise would not. Today, fashion showed me that it too, can do the same.

How has food and/or fashion affected your life in a positive way?

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