Both of my grandmothers sewed, and I was lucky to have my grandmother Ida (that’s Nonna, pictured above in Brazil) to teach me to sew. She is a very classic dresser who always manages to look put together and lovely, even dressed in her most casual clothing. My other grandmother, Ruth (aka Nana), adored clothing and had a huge wardrobe (mostly pantsuits).
I was thinking about all of the lessons women of other generations have to teach us about dressing well, and how those might be applied to sewing and wardrobe planning.
This is me and my amazing Nana. We all miss her a lot.
1. Think outfits, not garments. Nana always bought entire matching outfits, so there was no worrying about whether a new blouse would go with what she already had. Even if coordinating pantsuits aren’t your style, I think there’s something to be said for coming up with an entire outfit plan when you sew or buy something new.
Nonna, in trousers and shirt
2. There’s no shame in dressing for comfort. Sometimes there’s a tendency to believe you must choose between chic and comfort. It’s simply not true. You don’t need to sacrifice.
3. Wear signature colors. Nana loved blue, and almost always wore soft and light shades. When I think of Nonna, I think red. As I’ve grown older, I definitely feel a pull towards colors that speak to me.
4. Know what you like. I think specific taste and an aesthetic point of view often come with maturity. We waste less time “experimenting” with other people’s ideas and stick to what we love.
Nonna, center, with friends in Alexandria, Egypt
5. Wear appropriate shoes. It goes without saying, right? Save your back and wear the right shoes.
6. Scent is powerful. Maybe it’s because we hug and kiss a lot in my family, but perfume always seems to be a part of the presentation of the women in my family. The soft scent of Shalimar instantly recalls Nonna to me. I don’t wear perfume most days, but I do love it and always will.
Do you have any tips passed down from older generations? Any fashion advice your moms or grandmothers gave you that stuck?