So the last couple of posts have been quite glamorous and I am so grateful for the experience of working with such inspiring professionals. I hope you guys liked our portrayals of these pieces (from art work, to accessories) – which was as enjoyable to put together as it was challenging. Glamour doesn’t come that easy, it turns out. There are a couple of exciting things in store yet for View Avenue and I can’t wait to share them with you all!
Yet this post is about hand-me-downs. Those particular items (usually of clothing) that have found their way to you because of the kindness or boredom or condescension of a sibling, parent, friend or barely-blood-related relative. Not to seem ungrateful, you take bit after bit, only to toss it into the indifferent after-thoughts of your wardrobe’s abyss. For me, this would be the case with almost anyone other than my mother. I treat her cast-offs like gold. Why? First of all, she is a retired model turned fashion designer – so I’m not stupid. Secondly, and most poignantly, because I love the idea of a delicate piece of jewellery or interesting but forgotten garment taking on a new life. No matter how cheap or luxurious, whether on-trend in a vintage sort of way or terribly passe, the item’s value increases ten-fold for me. Because it’s older, it is likely to be unique. Because it was worn by somebody you admired or cared for, you are likely to carry it with the sort of snug confidence that only exists as a result of your awareness that somebody else (some body whose opinion you actually care about) loved what you now possess.
For me this has come in the form of a variety of items, from dresses to outstandingly intricate African jewellery, I have loved and loathed a great many of these reminders that I am the youngest in my social circle, or family. Yet one of the hand-me-downs I particularly favour is this beautiful wine red off-the-shoulder crop top. Above the gorgeous looking patterns and colour of this top, I adore the story behind it. It was a dress when my mother found it, at one of her uber chic friends’ car boot sale in the late Nineties. The lady had chosen to start afresh (if I am not mistaken, she was moving abroad) and had decided that her impressive assortment of fashion garments and other trinkets would no longer do. It had been expensive, but mum got it at a bargain price (her favourite thing about the dress) and had gone on to wear it only a couple of times. This was until my mother realised it would look more charming as a top. The problem was, however, that she fell out of use for it: her falling ill to the big C word meant that many of her previously loved pieces were to sit pretty out of sight and mind until further notice. Fast forward to a teenage daughter and the story is complete. Well, not quite, but that’s a story for another time.
I guess all I want to do with this post is to ask you to, if you don’t already, go easy on your hand-me-downs. If they were given to you, then it likely came from a good place. What could be fun (depending on your definition of the word – mine being a pre-results, sleep-induced sort of lull) would be if you dug into the back of your wardrobe and fished out that pile of (purposely) forgotten pieces. You could choose to donate them, but within that pile, perhaps try to find a single item that means something to you. Someone once said that fashion is “good for the soul,” despite all the bad press its industry gets. Thus, in my opinion, the existence of hand-me-downs shows that there is thought and feeling behind what may otherwise be perceived as mere material.