Storied Collections: Andrea’s Not-So-Ordinary Coat

March 22, 2012


What is it about grandmothers? It’s as if they have a magical way of making the simplest things priceless. I’m so pleased to introduce you to Andrea and the story of her grandmother’s coat. I dare say a coat this meaningful is more extraordinary than ordinary.

From Andrea:

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I’ve been reading fashion magazines for as long as I can remember, starting in my early teens.  I’ll tell you, one of the things I recall most would be reading an article about some amazing designer or socialite and the beautiful pieces that were passed down to her from her mother, grandmothers, cousins twice removed.  Hermes bags, Louis Vuitton luggage or Pucci scarves.

Those types of things never existed in the world I grew up, and I don’t believe it did for many of you I’m sure.  Just about the only thing that’s ever been passed down to me from my mother was an old children’s size silver and turquoise ring she got on a reservation in New Mexico, and a cowbell necklace from a brief hippie phase.  True story.  My mother’s never been much for fashion, and even if she was, she certainly couldn’t afford anything remotely designer.

From what I remember about my grandmother, she wasn’t the most stylish women either, and that’s okay.  Like my mother, she has passed on many other invaluable things to me like recipes and a love to cook, and a ridiculously amazing milk glass collection (it’s seriously drool worthy).  No fancy cookbook will ever give you the same feeling you get when you cook a dish you vividly remember eating around your grandmother’s kitchen table.  That is indeed a true story.

So while I treasure and love the milk glass collection, and the recipes (there’s a collection of them in my recipe section labeled Grandma Tita’s recipes), and even an old spatula she used to frost her cakes, I have to admit I always for some reason longed to have a clothing item of my grandmothers.  I don’t know why and it certainly isn’t rational, but maybe it’s just because I’m a fashion girl, I love clothes and there is just always something so romantic to me about owning a piece of history near and dear to your heart.  Maybe it’s my way of trying to be like the girls in the magazines I remember reading about.  Who knows really.

About 3 years ago my mother and aunt were going through old boxes of my grandmothers and came across a camel hair coat.  A coat that is by all standards very ordinary.  Ordinary in color, cut, material, and about 2 sizes too big.  My mom asked if I wanted it, perhaps I could have it taken in.  Of course I said yes.

And 3 years later it sits still in my closet, unaltered, hanging in its all too ordinary state, taking up valuable space in my teeny tiny closet.  I doubt at this point I’ll ever have it altered or I’ll ever even wear it.  But everyday I slide my closet doors open and rifle through my clothes looking for something to wear, I move the coat aside in search of the gem that will carry me through my day, and I touch the coat.  And it reminds me every single day of my grandmother.  A very ordinary women with an ordinary wardrobe that wore an ordinary coat, but had an extraordinary impact on my life, and all those around her.  And that feeling is not something only passed down through a Hermes Birkin bag.  True story indeed.       

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Do you have a cherished and storied item that you’d like to share? Come find out more about Storied Collections and submit one of your own. We’d love to hear about it.

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One Response to “Storied Collections: Andrea’s Not-So-Ordinary Coat”

  1. Kate Says:

    ANDREA!! I just love you. I have a black lambskin coat of my grandmothers. It is too big, there are couple of seams coming loose, it will probably never ever be worn. But it’s a beautiful coat. Probably one of the few truly BEAUTIFUL pieces of clothing my grandmother had. It hangs in my too small closet and makes me think of her too. Thanks for making me feel better about holding onto something simply for it’s emotional beauty.