Tales from Others’ Closets

It’s crazy how in love everyone is with vintage. In the former words of Marcia Brady, the Bee Gees, or your parents, “here’s the skinny:” with the advent of the Millennial hipster movement people want to look new and different, standing in contrast to everyone else, by incorporating vintage pieces into their closets. Yet my motivation for wearing vintage clothing is less about looking different and more about honoring the individuals who wore the pieces originally.

Style is truly an amalgamation of taste and experience, and I know that most of my fashion cues have come from my parents. I find particular significance in wearing their vetements past because it feels like donning pieces of my own history. 

Both the children of Ukrainian immigrants, my parents breathed that culture into our home. With that came traditional clothing. Growing up surrounded by shirts, skirts, pants, and jewelry of times and traditions past, I was imbued with a profound respect for the cloth itself.

Perusing through all the clothing I’ve collected from my family’s past, you won’t only find remnants of Ukraine. My parents have been heavily influenced by American culture. My mom’s a New Yorker with an easy, sporty style. The only girl in her family, her tomboyish nature gave her an appreciation for functional, practical clothes – like luxe sweaters. My dad, on the other hand, relocated often. He became accustomed to the all-American look – a comfort I don’t think he’ll ever let go – so his closet is filled with pieces that are classic, timeless, durable, and premium. These clothes, distinctive, unique and technically vintage, are a fragment of my heritage. Whenever I borrow pieces from my parents’ wardrobe, I’m not only wearing their style, but I’m also showing where I come from and who I am.

Vintage clothing fascinates me because it requires a deeper appreciation. Since many of these items were made before mass production, each garment has a story that can’t be matched by items like the Birkenstock knockoffs by Forever 21. We have a soft spot for poodle skirts, palazzo pants, and “Cosby sweaters” because of their distinctiveness incites nostalgia and respect. We want to rock them because they reflect a part of our shared history – wild pieces from another world, a statement of a time before now. 

Maybe it’s not just what you wear and how you wear it, but the story it carries as well…

Written by Larissa Sloniewsky


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