By Carly xo
Opening the box of photographs we got when clearing out my great aunt and uncle's house, is like stepping in to a time machine. It's a box of wonder. Amongst piles of photographs, there are newspaper clippings from 1953(!), ration books from the war, their national ID cards, and many army related documents. Until recently, this box had the most amazing 100+ year old brooch in it, along with a whole load of medals. I inherited the brooch, along with a pearl and topaz ring.
I inherited my great-aunts sewing kit, and button collection. Though, meaningless to some, they mean an awful lot to me. One
of the women in these photographs taught me to knit. She was the only
woman in my family who I felt I had a connection with, in terms of
fashion and its craftsmanship. Her name was Mary, though most knew her
as Neda. Neda worked as a seamstress for an awful long time, and had a
passion for clothes. In the eighteen years Neda was in my life, I don't
think I ever saw her wearing the same thing, or carrying the same bag.Even in her eighties, she wore things I'd wear today.
She was a true and honest style icon, in my eyes. My mum went to see
her in the Chapel of Rest after she passed, she told me how perfect her
hair was and how peaceful she looked. The nurses had done her hair and
makeup the same way it was when she was admitted to hospital a week prior. It touched me that someone took the time and effort to notice this fantastic woman, and to make her look as amazing as ever, even on her death bed.
One thing that struck me about the photographs, was how well everybody
dressed. How perfect their hair always seemed to be, how fantastically
precise their lipstick was. How perfectly proportioned their bodies
looked, even if they were a little on the large side. Fashion is so
very different nowadays. Craftsmanship is not the same. The way people
dress is not the same. It's hard to come across people who appreciate true style. These women knew how to dress. It seems no one makes much of an effort anymore. We should take inspiration from our elders, as these women are by far, some of the best dressed women in history. Find photographs of your grandparents, and sit and really think about the way they are dressed, and ask yourself how often you see people as well dressed as that today.
To me these photographs belong in the pages of magazines.
In these photographs; top right & bottom left – my great aunt, center – great-aunt and unknown, top left, great-aunt, my nana and I'm assuming their sister, bottom right – unknown. All photographs dated 1940-1950.