Now the model and actress is seeking inspiration from teenage daughters, Rowan and Grier, revealing to PEOPLE that they are playing a part in shaping her current fashion aesthetic.
“There is a certain… youthful sense that they have helped me infuse in bits, not to be younger, but to enjoy a freshness of it,” Shields, 57, told PEOPLE of her two teens, while attending the launch of Fashionphile‘s latest New York City Authentication Center & Showroom.
“For years and years and years, I dressed like an Upper East Side person… because I was hosting the Today Show, and I was doing all these events and that was the protocol, that was the uniform. And I look in my closet and I think, ‘That’s really not me’.”
Shields adds that her daughters experimental outlook inspires her because “they understand fashion differently.”
Shields is also all about a twinning moment with her teens, and when she gravitates towards anything in her daughters’ closets, she doesn’t hesitate to borrow it — something her oldest teases her for.
“I’ll put something in [my online cart] or just order something. And then all of a sudden she’s like, ‘Oh, I kind of like that’ and she has one of hers three days later,” Rowan, 19, told PEOPLE at the event. But if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mom, it’s that “imitation is the strongest sign of flattery.”
It’s no surprise that Shields’ daughters have taken a few notes (and pieces) from their mom’s fashion wardrobe in return.
“They wear my clothes a lot. So whenever they wear anything of mine, it’s validation to me,” Shields shared. “So what [Rowan] gravitates towards [are] the very functional bags of mine and belts and things like that. [Grier] gravitates towards zero function, all fashion.”
The Blue Lagoon star previously told PEOPLE that her fashion-forward youngest is most likely to borrow from her closet, joking that if there’s ever a time her clothing is missing, it’s most likely in the hands of Grier. Meanwhile Rowen took some style cues from her mom when she wore the star’s stunning 1998 Golden Globes gown to prom.
While Shields revealed that her closet is already archived for her daughters — although when it comes to her handbags she kids it can only be their “hopes and dreams” — she wants them to stay true to their own fashion identities.
“It has to be their idea because if I try to really impose upon them the things — they’ll reject me so quickly,” she said while Rowan agreed, “We won’t want to wear it.”
Alongside her clothes, Shields has also passed down some valuable style advice to her daughters.
“We’re a big boned family [and] we’ve got some hips. And so if there’s one thing she’s said it’s just, ‘wear things that are tight, why not?’,” Rowan said of the fashion lesson’s she’s learned from her mom. “It’s flattering and not to be provocative or scandalous or anything, but just to show off what you have.”
Fashion seems to run through the family as Shields remembers the archival pieces she received from her own mom too.
“[She] got a white Chanel, small bag she got at a thrift shop on the Upper East Side and I got that one,” the New York City native noted on her mom’s designer handbag collection. But she also recalled her assortment of Louis Vuitton purses, which didn’t turn out as expected. “A lot of it that she had, she thought they were real and then when I took them [in], I was quite embarrassed…,” she confessed.
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Beauty is also a common thread between the mother-daughter trio, especially when it comes to their mutual love for a good mascara.
“If I just had [it] I would be good to go,” confessed Rowan, who alongside her mom considers it the one makeup product she can’t live without. “The Henchy-Shields have some good sets of eyelashes.”
Of course that doesn’t leave out Shields’ iconic brows, which have resulted in some strict beauty rules in their household. “I won’t let them touch their brows, at all. Nothing. Don’t follow a trend, don’t do anything until you’re out of my house,” she said. “Then if you do something you’re on your own and you’ll be sorry!” she warned.
Although style is an extension of Shields’ personality, she uses social media as mirror of her authenticity as well. From her “#BrookeDon’tCook” Instagram series to her quirky play on beauty, Shields’ comedic, light-hearted nature is what keeps her going.
“There is so much tragedy in the world. And I feel at times helpless, and part of it is just trying to feel lucky and blessed and keep sending out as much light and…trying to make a change,” Shields said. “And to me humor’s always been my best medicine. It’s what I live for in my work and in what I do.”
And while she hopes her energy can be emanated through a screen, it’s a philosophy that fuels her everyday life. “I need it, [my daughters] need it – they’ve grown up with it. Their dad’s [Chris Henchy] really funny. So we have it a lot in our household, and it’s a good diffuser.”