got it from my mama
from my mother's closet
In the late 70s, my mother's aunt Mary Nell made this top for her. It's a perfect chambray (one of the few pieces of clothing made from this fabric that I don't hate) onto which she embroidered folky designs – ladybugs, flowers, a chicken, a giant mushroom ! Great Aunt Mary Nell was "very crafty" and also painted some beautiful landscapes that my grandmother still has in her house.
Mary Nell was an aunt through marriage – to my grandma Pat's brother Floyd, also known in the family as "Junior." My mother thought his name was a funny and beneficial addition to the narrative. "Southern language awkwardness at its best," she joked. These are small anecdotal details, but through this top, I learned a bit more about the everyday ins and outs of this family I never knew yet who are a part of who I am.
The best thing about vintage clothing is that every old, well-worn piece meant something to its owner before you: a family history, a significant place or event where it was worn, a special person it was worn with. And whether or not I get to hear those stories firsthand, I love to imagine the many live and stories my garments have played a part in.
All the more reason to put a bit more thought into what you purchase - for the stories, for your conscience, for the people you're supporting by buying a piece of clothing or art, for the earth!