My memories of being a child are slightly repressed owing to the fact that puppy fat was my foe, but someone who will always feature in my nostalgic dreams is my mother. Not only was I obsessed with her smell and wispy golden brown curls, but her wardrobe was always to my fascination and absorbed me in thought. Sky high piles of disheveled boxes housed stunning black patent and suede heels, homemade hangers with lavender bunches held elegant floor length gowns and tortoise shell treasure boxes accommodated her ostentatious jewellery. I could spend hours exploring the colors, fabrics and styles in her wardrobe, and equally as long in the mirror tripping over the dresses that trailed behind me.
Mum was a lady born to share her creativity with fashion. Helping out at her father’s tie factory as a child, she quickly became familiar with threads, fabrics, patterns and sewing machines. After graduating, she took the job as a seamstress and dress fitter for couture and bridal wear company, Anna Belinda. She was a full time fashionista as well as a full time mother, meaning us kids got to go along to all kinds of exciting fittings. Watching her thread a needle so easily, I knew she was a woman of dexterity when it came to fashion. Something I wish I had remembered when frowning at numerous of her outfits during my teenage years.
10 years later, I have returned to admiring mum’s wardrobe and gotten over the “what are you wearing mum” days. As the desire and interest for vintage clothing is in full swing, I often find myself shadowing my younger self, trawling through mum’s wardrobe in search for a 90’s loose fit top to tuck into some high waisted Levi shorts. This is when I came across a comforting blue knitted jumper. Pulling it out the draw I knew it would be the latest addition to my vintage collection, and didn’t think twice about it. “Is that my jumper?”, she said one morning as I slipped my converse on to leave the house. “Your not having that yet, I love that jumper, it’s mine from the 1980s!”. I suppose it never really occurred to me that mum would still want to wear the clothes she did in her twenties, but as she told me the story behind the garment, I realised it wasn’t mine to take. The jumper had accompanied her throughout marriage, motherhood and still lies in her bottom draw for lazy sundays and hot cocoa evenings. However, I was still so attracted to the idea of wearing it. I wanted to wear her stories, and make my own at the same time. But no matter how much I begged, she was adamant it was hers for the keeping.
A few months later I was spending my lunch break browsing the rails in Topshop, spending money I didn’t necessarily have, and came across a gorgeous, navy blue knitted jumper. It was just like the 1980’s Next jumper mum owns. Long, with thick cable knit running vertically down the front and a cozy crew neck. Before I could look at the price, it was purchased. My very own version of mum’s jumper.
Today, we both still wear our blue cable knit jumper’s. Every time I wear mine it reminds me of mum, our similarities and her style. This Mother’s Day, although she will be jetting off on holiday and I will not be able to see her, I shall wear mine because our treasured garment is enough to bring us together in thought.
By Marni Banks