Sunday, May 20, 2012


A lot of things have inspired my love of vintage clothing. I love the shape and cut of old clothes. I love their fabrics and palettes and metal zippers. There is a romance in old clothing--I spend way too much time imagining the first owners of my vintage finds, wondering what purpose each dress was purchased for.

The other reason is envy. I hear all the time about how people are trying to get rid of the piles of clothes left behind by the stylish women of their family.

Both sides of my family became, after World War II, people without place. Boundaries were redrawn, and postwar Germany was in shambles. Prussia no longer existed--where my family is from was absorbed by the Soviet Union--and neither did the German settlements in Poland. My fractured families all decided to try to start new in America. A war-ravaged economy and emigration do not make for a glamorously packed suitcase, so everything besides the necessities was left behind.

My mother's mother, Antonia,  married in Germany, shortly after the end of the war. People didn't have very much, and my grandfather gave his soon-to-be bride a white dress from someone he knew in another village. After some adjustments, it fit my grandmother like a glove. On her wedding day, she hung small garlands of herbs on its sash. Afterwards, it was passed on to friend who needed a wedding dress. No one knows where it ended up.

My father's parents first met in a refugee camp in Schwartau but were separated as the families moved on. They reunited several years later in America, having kept in touch for that entire time. When they married, Lucia wore a brand-new American dress, but it was then passed from cousin to cousin to friend, each one making alterations to it--letting it out, hemming it up, adding and removing details. What happened to it in the end, no one can quite remember.

I wasn't lucky enough to inherit wardrobes bursting with silks, sequins, and lace (though I did inherit that good old German stubbornness from both sides). But I love rescuing beautiful and unique pieces of clothing that have lasted decades, and with care, could be passed down again and again.

With that in mind, I'm relaunching my vintage shop under a new name: Inherited. My goal is to keep it stocked with unique pieces for everyday wear and special occasions--hopefully pieces that you'll reach for in your daily dress, and pieces that you'll pack away for your own daughters, nieces or granddaughters.

Since this post is wedding dress-themed, here's an example of one of the pieces I'm offering in my new-and-improved shop:

This amazing 1940s wedding dress comes with a little something extra--the portrait album from the first bride who wore this dress:

I'm also starting a new Facebook page for this endeavor, so pleaseplease like me there!

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