By Madoline Markham
Photos Contributed

Every spring feels like an emergence from hibernation, but this one is all the more extreme after a long year, and long winter, with most people staying at home far more than normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we start to dream of and plan vacations and travel again, fun colors and spring florals are all over—the manifestations of our dreams of a post-pandemic world. As that process was beginning this spring, Delia Folk and Alison Bruhn of The Style That Binds Us talked with us about what to look for this spring and summer and the story behind their mother-daughter brand.

Four Emerging Trend Ideas 

  1. Vibrant Color

Watch for colors this spring and summer emanating a joyful, hopeful feeling metaphorical to starting to emerge from the COVID pandemic era. Clothes are always most optimistic and bright for summer anyway, but this year’s supercharged hues are all the more so likely to put a smile on your face. You’ll also be certain to see lots of bright pink.

  1. Earth Tones + Sustainability

The flip side of the bright colors and florals emerging this season is seeing is earth notes this season following a pandemic era where people got more in touch with nature and sustainability. In addition to the prevalence of natural fibers and earth tones, there are also increasing trends related to conscious consumerism and paying more attention to what you are buying and where it is sourced. For instance, Hermès has developed a new sustainable mushroom-derived leather.

  1. The Return of Events

Alison stayed busy this spring helping clients prepare for weddings and more weddings. Last year few if any parties were happening, and people were mostly just sending gifts. This year parties and receptions are back, especially if they are happening outdoors. And with them comes a reason to get dressed up to celebrate again.


  1. An Innovative Fall

Looking ahead to fall, we’ll see the fruit of designers’ season of isolation, when they had the time to be creative and create what they wanted versus just following trends. Pre-pandemic designers had to come up with so many collections that they were exhausted, and the pandemic gave them time to think about why they are here and ask what makes this brand what it is. And the result is more than fun, with extreme party dresses and colors and designs that are bigger than life.

The Story Behind the Mother-Daughter Brand

Some days Delia Folk sports a leather jacket and mini skirt. Others you’ll find her in a floral dress with fluffy sleeves. Her mom Alison Bruhn’s style is generally more tailored, but some days they flip flop and Delia wears pants suit and Alison is in a leather jacket and jeans.

“You might be more Delia’s age but connect more with how I wearing it,” Alison notes of how they both showcase different styles different ways.

No matter the day, both mom and daughter’s creativity and passion for expressing herself in style is more than evident, from their shopping days when Delia was growing up in Mountain Brook to their work around New York City through The Style That Binds Us.

Their media company that explores the intersection of style and culture has its roots back when Delia decided she wanted to work in fashion and was interviewing for internships in New York City toward the end of college. Alison helped Delia research for all her prospective employers and was by Delia’s side for her seven interviews that spring break. “Through that process Mom rediscovered that she really loves beautiful things and the joy of dressing,” Delia recounts.

As Delia was interning for Versace in Men’s Wholesale, Alison, who had been a stay-at-home mom since Delia was young, got an image consulting certificate from the Fashion Institute of Technology and started answering questions women were asking about how to dress in their 50s when they don’t want to dress like their mothers or their daughters. To answer some of those questions, Alison started a blog around the same time that Delia—who had by then worked on the buying team for Barneys New York—started one telling the stories of brands and their founders before they became mainstream.

And that’s when the question arose. They didn’t see any mother-daughter team in the fashion space—why not try it? And so they did. The Style That Binds Us was born in 2018, with Alison working on personal styling with a home base in Mountain Brook, Delia consulting with emerging brands from New York City, and both of them creating blog and podcast content.

“I feel protective of these brands and of my clients and the women we are trying to empower the same way I feel about Delia and want her to be treated kindly, the way most mothers would feel,” Alison says.

Indeed, it’s style that binds them.

Follow their blog and podcasts, and follow them on Instagram @thestylethatbindsus, @alisonbruhn and @deliafolk.

The Re-Entry Zone

After a long season of staying home, Alison and Delia note that this season is going to be bizarre but also sweet as we start to return to social functions—and a reason to dress up again. Two years ago, you might have been tired of attending events, but now they will take on new meaning.

“I think about all the things that have happening to friends this (past)year—people lost parents, people had grandbabies,” Alison says. “Good things happened, horrible things happened and we only knew through group text. It will be such a meaningful thing (to see people again) and appreciate doing the small things.”

But how do you dress? It’s almost like we have forgotten. Alison says she thinks it will be like riding a bike. After the first event, you’ll be back in the groove.

For Delia, it’s a time to go big on what you wear. “I feel like it will be to the nines,” she says. “I want to have the most fabulous outfits and heels because we haven’t had to wear outfits for so long.”

Delia & Alison’s Tips for Re-Entry

  1. Make sure you have your go-to outfit you can throw on and go to coffee. Practice and play so you have outfits at the ready when occasions come up.
  2. Make sure that shoe or other wardrobe staple you wore two years ago is still in good shape since you didn’t wear it last year. The good news is anything you bought last year will be like new.

The Science of Sweats

Wearing your sweats affects you mentally, and there’s psychological research behind it. It’s called enclothed cognition, and to put it succinctly, how you dress affects how you act and think.

As Delia explains it, the reason why you started wearing comfy clothes when the pandemic began was it was a safety cocoon for you, kind of like when you are sick and get you get under a blanket. When you aren’t feeling well or have a hard day, there are certain pieces of clothing you can’t wait to get in, like a robe, to be comforted.

Looking at the bigger picture, there’s a lot more to clothing than just a cute outfit, like, as another kind of protection, you wear styles that make you feel strong when you go do hard things.