Some vintage clothes are treasures found in stores. Others are family heirlooms, making them even more priceless.
One of my favourite things about vintage clothes are the stories they hold. When I find a great piece, I often like to imagine the person that would have worn it when it was new. What was that person like? Where would they wear this item? How did they feel when they wore it?
In the case of this jumper, I do know that it was worn by my grandmother. She bought it in the 1960s, probably in a Chicago department store like Marshall Field’s, and might have worn it around town in the daytime, to Shabbat services at temple, or to meet her friends for lunch. In the evenings, she liked to go watch jazz with my grandfather. She was always on a diet and smoked like a chimney. She was a talented interior designer and artist. My grandmother was quite a glamorous woman, whose mod sense of style could easily be imagined by anyone who’s seen Mad Men.
Wearing vintage is a great way for us to help minimise waste in the fashion industry, as it means we are repurposing existing textiles instead of needlessly throwing them away. Wearing vintage also means that no one can steal your look, as it will be truly unique depending on what you can find and how you style it. But these aren’t the only reasons I love vintage. I love vintage because each piece is a window into another time and another person’s life, wearing the stories it’s picked up along the way.
Every time I wear this jumper or a piece of her jewellery (of which I have many), I think of her. I count myself privileged to have had a grandmother with such timeless taste who passed her treasures on to me. If you haven’t had as much luck in this area as I have, you can still find beautiful vintage pieces that hold stories, even if their stories may be a bit less personal.
I’m wearing my grandma’s jumper with Fiorucci jeans, Monki shoes and a Marks & Spencer belt. You can find 1950s and 1960s beaded jumpers like my grandma’s on Ebay and Etsy, or in most vintage stores. I think this black and white version is especially beautiful, as is this delicate cream coloured one. I imagine they each hold powerful stories of their own.