My Mom, the Style Icon: Joanne Nam

One savvy young entrepreneur found that the simplest way to emulate Jackie O’s or Audrey Hepburn’s style was to make her clothes herself.

THIS PHOTO OF MY MOM, Joanne Nam, was taken in Seoul, South Korea, around 1970. At the time, she officially worked as an office assistant, but she was also moonlighting as a tailor. Fashion was always her true passion, and eventually she opened her own shop where she made women’s suits and dresses. Of course, my mom made most of her own clothes, too, including the ivory coat in this photo. (Unfortunately, I have no idea what happened to it.) Just like her personal fashion icons, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O, my mom always gravitated toward solid colors and classic cuts. Over the years, I have held on to her style credo: It’s not how much you spend on clothes, it’s how you wear them.

—Kay Chung, 34, freelance illustrator

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