I’ve always coveted vintage-inspired patterns, but my love for them and clothing, in general, goes far deeper than simple nostalgia: Both of my grandmothers were in the industry, which means that the fashion bug first bit me when I was small.
I remember summers spent at my mother’s mother Mimi’s clothing boutique in Delaware, Ohio, The Suburban Shop. Mimi, who was always dressed to the nines, let me perch in the backroom, where I would excitedly eavesdrop as she met with vendors. My second favorite Mimi-based activity was going through her closet. Once in a while, she’d let me borrow a garment or — even better — pass it down.
Then there was my father’s mother, Mimmers, who designed bridesmaid dresses in New York City before I was born. By the time I entered the picture, she and my grandfather were living in an A-frame in Boone, North Carolina. They had built their house themselves, along with a small sewing cabin that was nestled at the bottom of the hill. There, Mimmers would make my sisters and me matching outfits, keepsake stuffed animals and gorgeous quilts. I loved watching her work almost as much as I loved her creations.
While Mimi and Mimmers’ influence is with me every day, this season I’m celebrating it with our new Maude sweater. Directly inspired by a black beaded cardigan I inherited from Mimi, it is knit from cozy merino wool and embellished with glitzy sequins and beads.
True to our mix-and-match sensibility, the Maude can be layered over a favorite dress or skirt (Mimi-style) or combined with leggings or jeans — I used to pair mine with old Levi’s. You could also wear it in ways that we have yet to imagine…
I wish Mimi and Mimmers were still here to see how their lives inspired mine, I think they would be proud.