My mom, Helen Nicholas, is about traditional, long-term fashion. To this day she dresses casual, comfortable, but appropriately for any occasion.

My mom has nice taste and great style. She taught me that trendy pieces could be worn as accessories such as belts, scarves, jewelry, and even shoes.

Color is not off limits with my mom, but she did not like overly mixing patterns. For example, a plaid and print are not to be worn together in her fashion book. She also prefers sensible, comfy flat shoes as I do - and I share her bad sense of balance too.

I have a fond memory of when my mom lived in Indianapolis and I went to visit her as a twenty something during a short Thanksgiving break from work. When mom met me at the gate in the Indianapolis airport (you could do that in the old days) she and I were dressed almost identically. We just looked at each other, pointed and chuckled. We both had on a simple camel colored wool jacket, a basic cream-colored shirt, dark brown skirt and brown leather boots since it was winter.

To this day that color combination would be perfectly fine. I thank my mom for that.

We do have some differences. For example, I love watches and collect old and new watches. I wear three of my husband’s old watches and purchased new colorful bands for them. I see them as a fashion accessory.

My mom is more practical and has just a couple of nice watches that she wears. My mom has about a million coats in her closet. I am more practical and have fewer coats – although my husband may disagree with that statement.

I also adore suit jackets because I am cold all of the time and layering works for me. I have many suit jackets in numerous colors, fabrics and prints. I also like to wear jackets because they dress up an outfit. I know that I do not have to dress up so much in this job – but I think it is fun and expressive.

In one of my jobs, when I was around thirty or so, I dressed crummy-casual for work one day in jeans and a casual top. That was the day the CEO and the President of the Fortune-500 company I worked for scheduled an impromptu meeting to discuss the new updated design of the magazine I worked on. I felt shabby and ashamed about my appearance in that meeting. I felt I made a poor impression - and never wanted to be put in that position again. Now, I dress up a bit. That was one of those life-learning moments.

I love to see individual fashion with people, and am impressed when a person can pull off mixing patterns, colors and items in an unusual way I would not thought would work well. I personally dress in a conservative way, but enjoy seeing eccentric fashion in magazines and on people. I feel inspired by it as well and believe, to each their own. My purpose in writing this column is not to tell people how to dress, but to make them think about it a bit and to encourage personal style.

I also think it is important to dress for your own body style. For example a short skirt is great on others, but I look poor in a short mini pencil skirt. I feel the same way about Capri-style pants and leggings. I like them on others, but will never own any myself. I truly would love to hear from my readers on "who or what " influenced your own personal style. Drop me a note or email - and inspire others with own your fashion tips and traditions!