Thursday, 3 February 2011
Let's start with the hat. I found it recently when helping to sort out items in my great-grandma's house - I saw the soft yellow lurking in the back of a cupboard and was hooked. I've worn it lots in the past few weeks, and each time it garners comments. However, as well as being very comforting in the keeping-my-head warm way, it is also a comforting reminder of my great-grandma. Unfortunately, she now has dementia (it is such a cruel illness in the way that it changes behaviour), and I rarely see a glimpse of the person I remember from when I was little - the one who sang me songs, and gathered together all her copper pennies for me so I could exchange them at the bank. However, I feel like I have come to know another side of her through the very few photos that remian (many were destroyed in a previous house flood), and the clothes and accessories that have come my way. I know that I often touch upon the theme of relatives living on through clothes, mostly in reference to deceased members of my family. However, I think it is also appropriate in this instance as the rational, creative part of my great-grandma has all but passed on now. (Although her strong will most certainly remains!) But I get a comforting idea of how she was when she was younger through her many fur collars, her Jaeger coats and cardigans, and of course her hats. I'm sure this particular one will accompany me to London Fashion Week when I travel down in a few weeks!
The cable knit dress is very comforting too, but purely in a warm and functional way. Last summer I helped out at my school's customising and clothes recycling day, for a younger year group. My friend and I were roped in for our technical know-how of sewing machines (although this mainly meant stitching seams for the students involved, some of whom seemed visibly daunted at the prospect of - shock horror - using cast off clothing!) However, I managed to have a riffle through the mound of t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms and unearthed a rather attractive oversized men's jumper. It was the end of the day, and I asked if I could take it home to alter - once it entered my room though, it joined the pile of 'to do' items under my bed. Three months later, during a big clear out, I decided to get rid of it. Luckily my mum, having more faith than me in its potential, rescued it. And voila! Two cut off and hemmed sleeves later, here is my new favourite jumper dress! It's perfect for these fluctuating temperatures (it was -9C again on the way to school a few days ago).
To add a purely non-practical element to the outfit, I decided to put it with some lace up heels I got for christmas last year. The belt is charity shopped, as is the green leather Anya Hindmarch bag and the faux pearls also belonged to my great-grandma. The jumper with rolled up sleeves underneath is my mum's. I found both the wonderfully kitsch brooch and gold charm bracelet (with some vintage charms from a market stall added on) in my local charity shop. They have a tiny jewellery basket that is usually filled with the detritus from Christmas crackers - however, I just got lucky on that particular day.
My mum took the photos during my marathon shoot session last Sunday, and althought the lighting conditions were quite harsh (not brilliant on the auto function), I think the air-iness lends itself to the mood.
So what represents comfort to you?