Retro Mom Style

DISNEYLAND 1981: (from left) Emily, baby Zooey, and Mary Jo Deschanel. (photo:Caleb Deschanel)

My mom is amazing. Among her many other incredible talents, she is ridiculously chic. When I was growing up, she managed to always dress herself AND her little humans (my big sister and me) very well. I interviewed her today about all of our ensembles on an outing to Disneyland circa 1981.

Zooey: Okay, we are good. We’re recording. I am going to start with the photo of the 3 of us at Disneyland. (I can’t believe she carried me around Disneyland like that all day!)

Mary Jo: Yes.

Zooey: You’re wearing a really cute black turtleneck with a black knee length skirt, burgundy knee socks, a burgundy handbag and brown platform sandals.

Mary Jo: Those sandals… I wore them in a lot of pictures. I had them for many years and they were secure, but they gave me some height.

Zooey: Right… That’s a nice bag. I love that bag.

Mary Jo: I wish I could remember where I got it! I am trying to find something like that now, a nice burgundy bag. I think I got that in Italy.

Zooey: Okay, and do you remember anything about that skirt?

Mary Jo: I think that’s a denim skirt.

Zooey: It doesn’t look denim

Mary Jo: You’re right, it doesn’t look denim when I really look at it. I think that was a skirt I got in France but I think the turtleneck, I got in Italy. I got it in a department store that wasn’t a very nice department store but they had a lot of these really simple, nice turtlenecks and I remember getting several. They lasted a long time.

Zooey: Now, can you tell me what’s the story behind Emily’s outfit? Where’d you get that Wisconsin sweatshirt?

Mary Jo: Dad got that for her. I think he was doing something in Wisconsin and he got that for her there. Her shoes are French, (the brand) Kickers. The skirt was a hand-me-down from a family friend. We had some very nice hand-me-downs from family friends.

Zooey: I notice that she also has very cute knee socks just like you, Mom.

Mary Jo: I tried to, you know, coordinate our outfits.

Zooey: Now, I look like I am wearing sort of like a knit… some pink stuff?

Mary Jo: Yes. And I think that was something I had from Emily. Emily of course had a very extensive wardrobe and of course we bought many more things for you too, but that was a hand-me-down from Emily. We bought it in Italy.

Zooey: Okay, it’s very cute.

Mary Jo: Yes.

Zooey: Now, do you know what prompted you to get so fabulous for Disneyland?

Mary Jo: I don’t think I was trying very hard. I think it was kind of what I just would put on. It was an every day outfit.

Zooey: Well, it looks great.

Mary Jo: Thank you.

Zooey: It seems like the lesson here is: shop in Europe.

Mary Jo: Yes, for clothes…

Zooey: So, shop for food locally, shop for clothes globally.

Mary Jo: Yes!

  • Karen Reyes

    Never underestimate the power of a mom’s fashion sense!

  • Karthick Sangreal

    Baby Zooey is angry … lol

  • Keri Yamamoto

    the unite of family is mom. The mom define your past and your futur.

  • Rosa Ríos Abad

    Agree! Shop clothes globally. Curious thing, my friends from Germany pefee clothes from Peru, I prefer clothes from Germany, my friends from the States prefer clothes from Center America and my friends from Japan prefer clothes from the States.

    p.s.Emily looks so cute and soooo fashion in that pic.
    p.s.s. Baby Zooeylooks so adorable as the adult Zooey looks now! Look at that little baby face, how kewwwt!

    • Rosa Ríos Abad

      I meant prefer not pefee

  • Beth Curry

    Now that’s fashion. As a baby I always wore corduroy, and was probably wearing corduroy in my visit to Disneyland (Paris) when it rained non-stop. :(

  • Rickey Erwin


  • Jenny Lonussen

    Omgosh there’s just too much cuteness and awesomeness going on here! :-) The Deschanel ladies; stylish from the cradle! So freakin’ cute!

    P.s Can this become like a weekly/monthly kind of thing?!

  • Claudia Bax

    This is SO freaking adorable. Thanks for sharing. And Ha! Kickers. I had those too in that same era (I’m very close to Emily in age). Those shoes were hugely comfortable (still a big brand here in Belgium! My friend wore them all through high school too). And the knee socks. Man oh man, the memories. Yay for European styles! My mom was also very fashionable (still is) and made sure I was some high class girl at all times too, hitting amusement parks, or wherever, in the most stylish outfits. I love how our mothers gave us good fashion styles right from the getgo. Go to our moms!

  • Courtney Taylor

    hi! I like this interview…..but I just was reading something and found a website called (I have no connection to the website just that it’s cool) and u could do that with this photo and it would be so awesome

  • Bruna Gabriella

    That is very, VERY cute! And your mom looks a lot like Emily :)

  • Sabrina Valderrama

    Oops I was doing it all backwards. Sooo food local and clothes global…got ya. Cute interview by the way ^_^

  • molls

    Love this post, Zooey! How cute.

  • Keely Craig

    Adorable to say the least! I feel as though I have worn an outfit similar to Emily’s…

  • Julia Gazdag

    She walked around Disneyland all day in heels? THAT is love.

  • Alison Burke

    I knew people used to dress up for air travel, but I had no idea people dressed for Disney! Really fantastic, I love it!

    I have far too few European pieces in my wardrobe — must fix that and plan a trip to Disneyland, stat!

  • Thyra Darling

    Oh my goodness! Super cute!

  • Diana Zapata

    My dad had all of our old negatives digitized a few year ago and gave me the job of organizing about 10 CD’s worth of family pictures and while I cringed at some of my outfits (OMG I was such an awkward tween!!) I was an adorable pre-tween and my mom was always perfectly dressed. I particularly remember one awesome, flowery dress and some leather sandals she wore to the beach, I believe… I don’t know how moms manage to look elegant in those pictures, even though it obviously looks like they were in a very hot, humid environment. That is SKILL.

  • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

    Whoa whoa whoa… WISCONSIN SWEATSHIRT??? Awesome. That’s my home state!

  • Jessica Gambino

    You are very lucky! My mom has no fashion sense.

  • Blandine Demailly

    When I see the look of the Deschanel ladies, I can’t help but think that Emily’s baby is going to be so perfectly beautiful. 😀

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