Retro Mom Photos + Mother’s Day Gift Picks

Hoo boy. We try our best to wax philosophical on here about important life instances when the situation so demands, but man. Moms? There’s not much we can say that you don’t already know. The woman birthed you, bathed you—and for many of you, babied you well into your 30s. The least you can do is buy her a present and give her a call (CALL YOUR MOM, FOR PETE’S SAKE) this Mother’s Day—which happens to be this Sunday, May 11. But you knew that already. Right?

Do you know what would really make her day, though? Digging up some old photos and reminiscing with her—as several of our Nordstrom HQ colleagues were kind enough to do here. Keep reading for our collection of throwback photos, plus gift tips for every kind of mom.

Road-Trip Mom [courtesy of Jodi Taylor, online stylist]. “Here is an awesome pic of my mom and my uncle in Mesa Verde, Colorado, in the late ’60s. I believe they were on a road trip to Mexico. On that trip, my uncle brought his friend John along, and he fell in love with my mom. They’ve been together ever since. My mom was a total bombshell, right?! My uncle was a total player, too…I have great stories about him, but not for the blog.”

Gift Picks: “My mom dresses simply, in mostly solid colors. This Eileen Fisher scarf has beautiful colors and rich fabrication that will add an extra touch to finish off her look, dressy or casual. I love this Dogeared necklace as a simple reminder of luck and love in your life—the more you think about love and luck, the more you manifest, and I want my mom to be surrounded by those things. Lastly, my mom loves dark chocolate. This sweet treat is expected at every gift-giving occasion!”


Manicured Mom [courtesy of Krista Fredricks, web designer]. “My mom rocked the ’80s with casual-cool style. This picture was snapped while visiting some friends down at Cal State. Given her amazing tan, I imagine she spent plenty of time playing beach volleyball. I’m so glad I have great genes on my side—what a babe! Not to mention those perfectly manicured nails.”

Gift Picks: “I think my mom would appreciate some pampering this year, so I’m picking her up the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab kit and CHANEL Nail Colour for the perfect, lasting, red mani—and placing them inside this ‘No Drama Mama’ wristlet to complement her sassy attitude!”


Lone-Star-State Mom [courtesy of Destiny V. Flores, online styling manager]. “New Year’s Eve, 1987. Portland, Texas. Sporting Wranglers and Ropers—both of us.”

Gift Pick:Diptyque Gardenia candle. Mama DVF and I have always shared a love of gardenias, and my parents have always had them in their yard. When they are in bloom and I am heading home for a visit, my mom always cuts fresh buds and places them in my bedroom. It’s a scent that makes us think of each other. And who doesn’t love a good candle?”


Polo-Shirt Mom [courtesy of Brie Cross, public relations manager]. “This has to be one of my favorite childhood pics ever. It was my second birthday and my mom, best mom ever, made me a cake I couldn’t wait to get into (Mom’s face says it all). There is so much ’80s goodness in this pic. I wish I could pull off high-waisted hot pants like my mom. Hashtag #wordsineverthoughtidsay. Mama’s smokin’.”

Gift Picks: “It’s hard to find something that appropriately expresses the gratitude I have for everything she did for me, and since what she really wants is a new pair of slippers—her wish is my command. I’m definitely also going to grab a couple of the beautiful Small Spells hanging planters from the new  Pop-In @ Nordstrom: Surf City. They’re the perfect way to add a little life to a room—some dimension, color…and clean air!”


Mountain-Climbing Mom [courtesy of Angela Freeman, print styling manager]. “Found this ol’ pic of Mom and me taken in Austrian Alps. It’s fall, but hey, those boots and tights are RAD.”

Gift Pick: Miu Miu sunglasses. Because she’s still über stylish and lives in Austin.”


Greek-Goddess Mom [courtesy of Kia Petropoulos, life coach to Olivia Kim]. “Here’s Mom and me at the airport getting ready to go to Greece.”

Gift Picks:Clarisonic pedi set—my mom is a runner and could use some pampering for her little piggies! It’s also her birthday, so maybe a great candle from Archipelago or Dyptique (fig-scented—she loves anything about Greece). Maybe a great book for her coffee table, too.”


Sock-Hop Mom [courtesy of Ralee Bankston, print styling lead]. “My mom’s high-school graduation photo.”

Gift Picks: “This is a great set of Diptyque votive candles—she can choose a scent based on her mood of the moment. And these chocolates—umm, pretty self-explanatory on this choice (THEY ARE DELICIOUS!).”


Exceedingly Patient Mom—and Grandma [courtesy of Angela Sumner, video art director]. “Lucky for me, I was blessed to experience two generations of motherhood. My grandmother [left] has been just as influential in my upbringing as my mother. Both women have truly sacrificed in order to make sure my brother and I had an amazing childhood. My grandma would spend countless hours toting us to and from sports practices (while stopping for our weekly french-fry splurge from McDonald’s). Both her and my mother showed every ounce of patience while my brother and I would take them through our latest rendition of ‘Rockin’ Robin.’ This pic [right] of my mother and me is my absolute favorite. I have always been enamored by her—she has a constant sparkle in her eye!”

Gift Picks: “This year, I bought my mom this Vince Camuto handbag because she never buys herself anything nice anymore. I thought she’d like to have something special to take around town—because if there’s anything she taught me, it’s that even running errands is no excuse not to look your best. And for my grandma—CHANEL N°5, of course. She’s taught me well!”


Palm-Fronds Mom [courtesy of Danny Mankin, lead men’s stylist]. “Mom: Kari. Pic: Somewhere in southern California.”

Gift Pick: “If there’s one shoe that’s having a major moment, it’s Birkenstocks. Major Mother’s-Day must have!”


Green-Thumb Mom [courtesy of Keara Matthiesen, associate print stylist]. “My mom’s flowers have been a party favor, a decoration, and an amazing gift at many an occasion. There isn’t a weekend that I stop by and she isn’t out there in her cool, ripped-up, ’70s vintage Levi’s, creating some sort of lavish corner in her yard. There’s something so sweet about seeing her in ripped jeans, cool argyle sweaters (in the winter), and old festival T-shirts (in the summer). Those are the items of my mom’s that I covet and want to steal.”

Gift Picks: “There’s nothing better to keep an avid gardener safe from the summer sun than the perfect sun hat. Cool enough for me, but perfect for my fair-skinned gardening-freak of a mother, this Yestadt Millinery hat from our Surf City Pop-In Shop would be the perfect addition to her envy-worthy summer gardening wardrobe—and dare I say, practical, too. Her favorite thing besides her garden is candles, so Diptyque’s Gardenia is a perfect blend of everything that is so my mom.”


Short-Hair-Don’t-Care Mom [courtesy of Justin Abbott, senior men’s blog editor]. “This photo is from 1976. My mom [left] had been with a guy for a long time who didn’t want her to cut her super-long hair. She finally dropped the guy and chopped the hair, and this is probably in the top-five happiest I’ve ever seen her. Her parents seem pleased with her decisions, too. (Tangent: Check out my grandpa’s shirt collars. Damn!) As for additional context, her own words can’t be improved upon: ‘That was a jumpsuit I was wearing. It definitely made me realize that jumpsuits were a pain in the neck to wear. You have to get almost completely undressed to go potty!’ (Hi, Mom!)”

Gift Picks: “My mom has an unnatural predilection for comedic socks. I think it’s due to her background as a preschool teacher, combined with the fact that her feet are always cold. These Mona Lisa, Raphael and Boticelli numbers should do the trick. I find them funny, but like an ‘Aha’ funny—not a ‘Haha’ funny.”


Small-Town Mom [courtesy of Stacey Cunningham, associate print stylist]. “Deborah Danvir (my mama) married Paul Cunningham in 1984 in Grampian, Pennsylvania—a rural farm community with population 350. My dad, the city slicker from Pittsburgh that he is, had a helicopter pick them up from the reception and take them back to the city where they boarded a plane to Hawaii. Their helicopter fun continued once they got to Hawaii and flew through waterfalls and canyons, which we then hiked through on a family vacation about two decades later.”

Gift Pick: “I would buy her a Lucy Folk bracelet and get a matching one for me and my sister—friendship bracelets for a family vacay to come this summer!”


Bombshell Mom [also pictured at the top of this post; courtesy of Kristin Myllenbeck, print stylist]. “My mom is super jazzed about wearing cocktail flats instead of heels this season. For someone who doesn’t typically gush over fashion, I’ve taken this as a hint that I’d better buy her a pair ASAP!”

Gift Picks: “While I’ll likely buy her these…My fanciest self is dreaming of buying her these.”


Deserves-Some-Me-Time Mom [courtesy of Donovan Nguyen, web designer]. “Left: Looks like it was about ’87 and one of the family outings. Right: My dad took this pic of her when they were dating.”

Gift Pick: “I would get her a spa day. It’s one of those things that she wouldn’t do for herself, but would love it. She always prioritized family first and took care of what we wanted/needed before taking care of herself.”



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