Monday, August 9, 2010

After a Fashion

Vogue U.K. 1934
My grandma came of
age during the Depression.
She loved clothes.
She didn’t have many.

When my mom came
of age, in the fifties,
my grandma made
sure she had all
the pretty clothes
that she could
afford to
provide for her.

I came of age
in a very small town
on the US-Canadian
border.  I loved
clothes and,
at 5 foot, ten,
had even dreamed
of modeling.
But in this
small town there
was only one
clothing  store….
And the nearest
department store
was three hours

Style Icons, 1980
So, every summer
before school started,
my mom and I
would wait expectantly
for the magazines
and catalogs in our
mailbox, heralding
the new fall fashions.
Glamour, Seventeen,

There was
no internet
and no boutiques;
but there was a
Ben Franklin variety
that sold fabric.
many of my
clothes were
home couture ~
made by Mom,
fashioned after
the images we
both admired.

She made
from new tops
for me to wear
to school dances,
 to my prom
dress and the
beautiful  formals
that I wore
to college functions.

She sewed preppy, too!

Until just the
last few years,
my grandma ~
almost 93 ~ still
enjoyed pouring
through Vogue
or In-Style to
see what was “in”
and would dream
of clothes that
she would like to
own and wear.

Gigi's favorite ~ Ralph Lauren
Guess it’s
in the blood.

I did get to
model in a few
runway shows
in my youth,
and though
I never pursued
it,  I have always
been drawn to
the world of fashion.

And now my
{reformed tomboy}
daughter loves
expressing herself
through clothing
and accessories,

Enter, Project Runway,
a popular reality show
about aspiring fashion
designers, that I
seriously follow…..
{Kind of a
guilty pleasure : )}

Enter, a charity fashion show
in Vancouver, Washington
this past Saturday….

 Enter, Seth Aaron Henderson,
last Project Runway winner…..

 Can you say
fashion bliss???

Seth Aaron and two smiling fans!
We found out
about this runway
show just the day
before and my
lovely mama
snagged three
of the last tickets!

Three generations loving fashion!

In addition to
raising money to
support the local
arts alliance
in Vancouver,
this show also
helped sustain
Dress for Success,
a nationwide
organization that
helps women
returning to the
work force.....

in fashion.

Fashion is not
something that
in dresses only.
Fashion is
in the sky,
in the street,
fashion has
to do with
the way
we live,
what is

~ Coco Chanel

[images: #3 flickr, 
click for attribution;
Google and P&H]


Marie said...

I used to make all of my own clothes in high school as well. I have not sewn myself a dress in years! You inspire me. Congrats on getting to meet your project runway hero. It looks like you all had a lovely time and for a very worthwhile cause! xxoo

A Vintage Chic said...

Good evening, Suzanne! So glad you've made friends with one of my favorite people on the planet--Marie! Isn't she wonderful?!

I really loved this beautiful the things that connect us, isn't it? Mother to of my favorite things about life.

How exciting that you got to go to the show together! Thanks for sharing this tonight...hope you have a wonderful night, my friend.

Sweet dreams!


Melissa K said...

Great post about your sewing and fashion love. What a lovely family you have too! Thank you for sharing.

Lucky you to have met your Project Runway hero. I watch that show compulsively and love seeing the creative process at work. I can understand exactly where you are coming from about a guilty pleasure! :)


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

What a FABULOUS READ took me way, way back to my youth when my dear mom sewed all my cloths, from slips to coats to shorts, skirts, blouses.....and Barbie cloths and my dance costumes. What a wonderful piece here, and then at the end, a marvelous way to wrap up your story. You look awesome, and it doesn't surprise me that you have had the opportunity to strut down that are simply stunning. Your mom is equally beautiful. So good to have you back on-line....come on down when you get a chance.


Anonymous said...

You lucky ducks! What a great way to spend the day, the three of you doing something you all love.

My mom sewed too. Unfortunately I can't sew a lick, but have always loved fashion. I would wear a new outfit every day of the year if my husband was willing to support that activity/ habit/addiction... *giggles*


cityfarmer said...

you have the best-est stories ...
I could sit and read them all day

... remember Bobbie Brooks and Collegetown??

Linda in AZ * said...

*** G' morning, dear Suzanne... what a WONNNDERFUL posting this a.m.!!! oh my!!!... A beauuutiful three generations of women, and OH, how it brought back memories of my Mom n' I modeling in Mom/Daughter things (!), and the ONE DRESS that S*H*E actually MADE for one showin particular... talk about "If at first you don't succeed (!)"... she was sooo frustrated, BUT, DETERMINED, to "get it right"!!! And when all was said n' done, was SHE ever proud of her accomplishment!!! (And it was the first ANNND last sewing I think she did!!! She was TOO CUTE!!)...

Simply beautiful memories for YOU to share, and ME to remember, especially since my darling, precious,oh-so-fun Mom died early, at age 58~~~ I still miss her mucho~~~ we always had SOOO MUUUCH FUNNN together!!!

My most sincere thanks!!!

Linda in AZ *

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

How lucky for you and the "girls" in you life. What a fun day you must have had! I too love your posts. You're a gifted writer.

Julie said...

LOVED your post. reading about your GiGi... I know you cherish her...
My mom sewed SO much too. and we learned how to sew from her and in Home Ec. at school. A good skill to have.
Mom even did lingerie. Beautiful underwear...She made me a lovely white satin with lace gown and robe for my honeymoon...She still to this day wants to do her own repairing of a little rip or such. Her hands are just so shaky... :-(
Fashion is truly FUN, and when you make it your own and personalize it...even the better!!! My daughter has never been one to follow trends, so she stays "in style" but does her own thing. I like that. It's a good trait for strength to stand on your own in other areas of life and not have to "fit in"...
Beautiful on the outside, beautiful on the inside....makes a gorgeous woman. I enjoyed your post. So glad you had a memorable moment with your mom and daughter.
RAH! Blessings Suzanne!

Beth Gales said...

Great story! Your grandmother was a special one! I must say despite all the stores, malls, Internet, etc., I adore private time poring over the fashion mags when they come and eagerly await the fall issues even though its a long time since I needed to get some back to school clothes!

Anonymous said...

I'm a blue jeans baby from the 50s, but oh my, do I love fashion! The fabrics, the embellishments, the creativity - yum!
It's so wonderful that you all were able to go to the show together - and you all looked gorgeous!!!

Farmgirl Paints said...

I know nothing about fashion except what I like and think looks good and what doesn't. But I do love Project Runway. Watch every episode! How exciting for you to meet Seth. That is just too cool for school:)I bet your daughter was on cloud 9!

Ms. Bake-it said...

Love the generational photo! Although I am not a sewer, my mother and grandmother both sewed. I wish I had taken the time to learn from them. I know it is not too late to learn, but it would have been more special to learn from them. I have attended a few fundraisers for Dress for Success. It is definitely a worthy cause. How exciting to meet Seth Aaron and have your picture taken with him.

~ Tracy

Elizabeth said...

Oh how I wish I could sew like that! Love this post! I once had a dream of the modeling thing too!
What a neat event you girls got to go to!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

OH! It is so nice to have you "home"!!!!! I have missed you so much, but this morning when I saw your post, it was so refreshing! Thank you dear one for your kind comments! Yes, patina in the antique collectible world is a rare and sought out beauty; in the human world, an often FORGOTTEN lustre that can only be made alive again in US and our choices....let's change the WORLD!

You are so gorgeous....I so love this post. Anita

Indie.Tea said...

Awww, thats so sweet! I adored your post about your grandmother, mother, and yourself. It must be lovely to make your own clothes, just the way you want them.

Trish @TheOldPostRoad said...

Cool!! Great post! My grandmother could sew anything without a pattern. That gene stopped with her.

lisaroyhandbags said...

Great post! We grew up in similar ways - small towns, scouring through mags and homemade clothes. I started sewing doll clothes as a kid and then my prom dresses, various outfits and my wedding dress simply because I couldn't find anything locally that I liked and Sears catalogue didn't carry it either. I'm so grateful to have learned to sew so young and that I'm able to use that skill everyday! xx

Beach House Living said...

How wonderful. I love looking through old photos of fashions. I remember waiting for catalogs to arrive so my sisters and I could dream...

Fearless Nester said...

Oh how much fun that must have been for you 3 gorgeous ladies! I love how things like that just fall into place and work out perfectly. I adore those vintage patterns too, especially the ones around the Jackie Kennedy era. And there is still something about early Fall that is exciting when it comes to new clothes! ~Lili

Debra@Common Ground said...

My mom did the same for me. She could look at a dress in Seventeen and copy it. Even though a lot of my clothes were home made, I always had so many compliments. I love PR too, and lucky you getting to attend that show! What a gorgeous group the three of you are! Beautiful family.

pretty pink tulips said...

Hi Suzanne! Welcome back!!! (Love the Rod Stewart tune!). Love the way you so beautifully weave a story...and this one had such a fun surprise ending! I love it when interest+fate+timing give way to a memorable experience!

My mom, too, made many of my clothes growing up. I never learned to sew (a bit of a backlash I'm afraid) and treasure to this day the beautiful coats she knitted for me and my brother.

I hope your time away is all you need it to be!
xo, Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

GREAT story! Thanks for sharing!\kristin

Deborah said...

Hello there dear friend!
This post was beautiful and it brought memories..sweet of how in grade eight at my graduation I wore a pheasant skirt and blouse that my momma lovingly made for me for that special day.
I still remember what it looked like and after the dance (in the daytime) putting some shorts underneath it and rolling down the hill in it with my first boyfriend. The silly things we do in youth...but it sure was fun!
So thank you Suzanne for these lovely thoughts, and how it triggered that fun memory and how sweet it was for my momma to make me that special outfit that I picked out the pattern for and fabric.
xoxoxo Deborah

Blooming Rose Musings said...

I love the picture of you with your mom and daughter. A true treasure of life.
Your post brought back such sweet memories. My mom made many of my clothes and I used to love sewing and made lots of clothes for myself. I can still see the patterns I once used and then I was finally able to design my own clothes without using a pattern. Guess I just had my fill because I don't go near a sewing machine at all any more! Fun post.

Laura said...

Oh Suzanne-
What a lovely generational trio of beautiful ladies.
This post triggered a sweet memory.

My mother made all of my clothes.
It was so much fun.

White Spray Paint

Teresa said...

You and your daughter met SETH AARON!!!!!!
He was my TOP pick!
And don't be thinking we aren't watching PRunway this season!
LOVE that show!
I totalllllly grew up with McCall Patterns!
My mom had oooodles and ooooodles of patterns!
Such sweet memories seeing all those patterns!
Lovely to see you and your mom and sweet daughter!
I just love your blog Suzanne!
Love you too Sweet Girl!

traci said...

What a cute post. My grandma made lots of my clothes growing up. Whenever I see a pattern like that I think of her. She was amazing. What a great picture of you three beautiful ladies!

Olive Cooper said...

Oh dear Suzanne, I have no idea how I just about missed this post. I cannot miss even one. Not allowed. The three of you are just darling. Your Mom was precious getting the tickets. Just think if you had unlimited access to clothes none of you may know how to sew. I always wanted to learn how to sew. I do some hand sewing but that is all. bighugs♥olive

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

How exciting for you, your mama and daughter!

I've always wanted to know how to sew, it's posts like this that really inspire me to get on the stick and get busy!

Hugs and love,

Violet said...

My own mother never sewed, but I learned in 8th grade and my best friends mom was our Home-Ec teacher, so I spent a lot of time in their basement sewing room... as we worked on projects together.

The other day I was in a vintage shop looking through old patterns. A womans size 12 had these measurements: Bust 30" Hips 33". Sizing has certainly changed over the years!!!

Enjoyed your post, and seeing all the images. What fun for you, your mother, and your daughter to attend that event!

~ Violet

Dovecote Decor said...

my sweet brother takes his mother in law to Saks. Her altheimer's home is across the street. He says that perks her up more than anything!

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

You are giving me some major flashbacks but all in a good way. What a lovely post and so glad you scored some tickets and then shared the fun evening with us.
Beautiful photo of the "girls". Much love XO

Everton Terrace said...

Project Runway is such an addictive show. My husband, who could care less about fashion, even enjoys it. Seth Aaron - how fun!

Kathysue said...

I just love your post, they always evoke a pleasant memory or something meaningful in our lives. I grew up in the 50s like your Mom and My mom use to spend many nights sewing my 1960s shifts and empire dresses and of course we had the shoes and purses to match. I actually remember certain occasions by the dress I wore or the one Mom had sewn for me. Thanks for the memories, I am going to call her tomorrow and thank her for all the sleepless nights of sewing, Great pict of all three of you beauties, hugs Kathysue
PS I am enjoying the music!!!

Cashon&Co said...

Oh, what a super post! I loved most when I saw you mention Dress for Success!..... I was a founding member of the board of directors for the Dallas chapter of Dress for Success.... What a great originization....
And what a wonderful picture of you and your mom and your daughter..... Loved that!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

What a fantastic way to spend the day~you lucky girls.

As mother of a fashion design student we too love to peruse all of the fall fashions. Can't wait until its cool enough to wear them.

PS. Would love to see a few old photos wearing the clothing that your mom made. :)

Brenda@Cozy Little House said...

What a lovely story. Your mom sounds like a fantastic mom, as well as your grandma. I'm not much of a fashion maven when it comes to clothing. Guess I figure it will just gather pet hair.

LuLu said...

Loved reading this story! I have a love for fashion magazinges and this time of year gearing up for fall, the new collections. I'm thrilled you were able to go with your daughter and mom... so wonderful for the 3 of YOU!!!!
Love Project Runway too :)

The Zhush said...

I couldn't love this post any more if I tried! How amazing that you all got to go this fun event together, and for such a great cause! I just love the way you tell a story, the images you choose, and the CoCo quote at the end just sealed the whole thing for me!xx

Rene said...

Just look at the three of you. You are gorgeous and I do believe that you definitely have a shot at it. It's never too late my friend.


Faded Highways Photo Journal Exploring the Old Highways of the South said...

I ran across a Vogue pattern book today while I was browsing the antique mall. I was tempted to get it, but I wasn't sure what I would do with it other than collect dust. But I sure do love those old fashions.

paige said...

i love that your grandma wanted to keep up with fashion!!
its definately in your blood

& yay for ya'll!! i love the special treat you had!!

Jeanie said...

Great posts, great pix! Oh, those old patterns!

fairmaiden said...

What fUn!!! How wonderful for you all to have something in common. We don't have cable so I've never seen Project Runway. but I'm sure my fashionista family would be watching if we did. Even my boys are into fashion. My oldest son was know all over our city when he was 16 because he was wearing the latest fashions from the U.K. He was in a screamo band then. My daugther will be modeling next month at an Artwalk event.

So happy you are enjoying your time on the Northwest coast!