Une Femme posted an outfit on Already Pretty this week that included a scarf inherited from her grandmother and this got me thinking about my clothing heirlooms.
This jacket belonged to my great uncle Stuart Wynn Jones and I inherited it (possibly by way of my father) when he died. It featured heavily in my wardrobe from my early teenage years until well into my university years. I think it may even (along with the top two thirds of a three-piece pinstripe suit from the same source) be the item that began my interest in more structured tailoring. I am astounded that this St Michael cotton velvet has stood up to so much punishment. I have no idea how much wear it received with its first owner, but the elbows had already developed a bit of a sheen in my earliest memory of it. And I have been wearing it for the better part of 20 years now myself. I wore it to my aunt's wedding, on a daily basis to lectures, carried a flaming torch at the Castle Ceilidh and it still bears a parafin wax drip on one sleeve. This lovely jacket doesn't get out as much these days, as it's a bit big around the middle, but it is still an important item of clothing to me. My great uncle was someone I never got to know as well as I would have liked - he died when I was eight or so - and wearing something that belonged to him helps me feel connected to this whimsical, witty, creative man.
I haven't exactly inherited this one, more borrowed it for a while, but it is older than I am so I think it counts as an heirloom. This used to hang in my mother's wardrobe all through my childhood and I was never slim enough to wear it (I overtopped my mother before I left primary school, while I was still firmly planted in my tomboy phase) no matter how long I gazed at it in longing. When I dropped a couple of dress sizes at university I finally fitted into it and was able to sneak it away from my mother every now and again. I love it, it's so colourful and happy feeling. The square neckline and empire cut are really flattering on me. I wore it to go and hand in my Masters dissertation after a full all-nighter to get the formatting working. I chose a shower and this dress over 2 hours sleep and I think I made the right decision, everyone else in the class looked like death warmed up but I was walking on sunshine.
There are other inherited items in my wardrobe but these are the most significant right now. My paternal grandparents both died last year so I have a collection of evening gloves and silk scarves that belonged to my grandmother, but they haven't infiltrated themselves into really becoming mine just yet. And I have no idea how one would classify my flatmate's 'camping jumper' that belonged to the father of my uncle (by marriage) which he passed on to my father and thence to me and subsequently now resides with said flatmate. Is it still inheritance when the one you inherit it from is no relation at all?