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Who Is Your Greatest Fashion Influence?

Real Simple readers reveal that a fabulous muse is the best accessory.

Model with jewel-tone handbagOlivia Graham
My best friend, Hillary. Not only is she fabulously fashionable but she would also never hesitate to tell me if I looked ridiculous. Either that or we happily look ridiculous together, because that is what best friends do.
Jenny Steadman
Shaker Heights, Ohio

Diane von Furstenberg. Her designs are beautiful, classic, and feminine.
Ashley Flynn
Kansas City, Missouri

My mom. While all the other mothers sported “mom jeans,” my mom had cool hippie shirts, feather earrings, and leather skirts. During my teenage years, I sometimes wanted to crawl under a rock and hide, but now, looking back, I realize she was fearless and brave with her fashion choices and simply beautiful.
Jamie Scannella
Monroe, New Jersey

My biggest fashion inspiration is anyone who looks and acts comfortable in her own skin.
Paula Harpster
Midlothian, Virginia

Surprisingly, my three-year-old son, Michael. His fashion advice is always practical, yet it works for me. Once, while I fussed over a shirt that was too low-cut for work, he said, “Wear a different shirt.” He was right. Whenever I am lamenting about what to wear as I stand in front of the closet, he peeks in, pulls out one of my favorites, and says, “Wear this.”
Denise Zirkle Brouillard
Hudson, Wisconsin

The fashion designer Adrian. He dressed all the glamour movie queens of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood. Rent The Women, from 1939, to witness his genius.
Loretta Cox
New York, New York

Believe it or not, a traveling preacher I once read about in Guideposts. This woman, a missionary in Maine, had a wardrobe of exactly seven identical dresses. She said it kept her life simple. While I don’t go to quite that extreme, it did inspire me to stop worrying about how stylish I looked or didn’t look and to pare my wardrobe down to four skirts with mix-and-match tops, three pairs of shoes that can go from casual to dressy, a spring jacket, and a winter coat. Life is too short to spend it worrying about clothes.
Meg Lark
Rochester, New Hampshire

My nine-year-old niece, Andie. She has the ability to make a fashion statement out of any item of clothing. She has many hand-me-downs from my 16- and 14-year-old girls, and if a shirt is too big, she simply ties a knot in it or adds a scarf as a belt and wears it as a dress. She can mix and match colors and patterns that most people would never dream of, and she always looks beautiful. She once went to school with a hanger still stuck in the back of her dress. She couldn’t cut the little plastic staples and didn’t want to ask for help. When questioned about it, she simply declared, “It’s hanger day!” I hope she always stays carefree and unique.
Maureen Terwilliger
Guilford, Connecticut
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