The Best Kind of Hand Me Downs

7 years ago by

The Best Kind of Hand Me Downs

I always feel like my favorite things in my closet are the ones that are like a little piece of history.  More specifically I love the items that have been handed down to me over time. For example, a pair of heels from my mother or my uncle’s army jacket with his name still stitched on to the pocket.  As compared to anything I’ve bought in a store it feels like these clothes have some deeper meaning and I’m a continuation of its story.

milatary jacket nicole chan garance dore photo

This year my dad gave me his letterman jacket from his days as a varsity athlete in college.  For him it was a marker of achievement and a way to stay warm in freezing Chicago. For me it’s a personal authentic vintage jacket that I like trying to work into my wardrobe.  Even Elle has been wearing this incredible denim jacket that she told me was her father’s way back when!


Do you have pieces in your closet that hold a special piece of history?


– by Nicole, Intern at the Studio


Add yours
  • Ai-Ch'ng April, 7 2016, 10:20 / Reply

    Love historical clothing!

    My favourite two pieces are two top halves of my grandmother’s wedding day outfits. They’re part of the traditional Chinese wedding day “”kwa”- a simple box cut mandarin collared top with bell-shaped (braceket length sleeves on me because I’m so much taller than my grandmother was), that’s extremely ornately embroidered with delicate pure silver, pure gold, and silk threads, that is meant to be worn with the matching (equally he wily embroidered A-skirt long (on me, midi) skirt.

    Most “kwa” outfits are in red and gold (traditional festive and auspicious colours for Asians): my grandmother’s two kwa, however, are a huge break from tradition (she was always a rule breaker) in that the metal and pastel hand embroidery of Phoenix, dragon, dragonflies, butterflies and flowers, are scattered over the most gorgeous salmon peach silk (for her ceremony) and mint (for the wedding reception dinner). They’re about a hundred years old now, and still wearable- so I don them during the day a with tshirt and jeans and sneakers or flat suede boots, and at night with a plain silk singlet and black or olive velvet baggy pants or black suede capris, with flat shoes.

    I still have the photo of her in them on her wedding day: perhaps I should photograph myself in these same tops soon, so I can pass them to my son to put in our family photographic archives.

  • Martine April, 24 2016, 6:58

    OMG! That sounds amazing!!! Do you wear the skirts too? Seems like they would work perfectly with a t.

  • i agree: i like wearing pieces that have a special meaning for me! :)


  • OOOHH YES I DO! I just found a vintage denim jacket on my dad closet that I almost wear everyday! It was his everyday I-want-to-go-cool kinda jacket, handed to me or may I say that I stole it the first time I saw it hanging in his wardrobe, I feel more authentic in it than ever and everyone thinks that it’s my boyfriend’s jacket. I do not correct them.


  • Wow this looks great, definitely loving this kinds of hand-me-downs, it’s so much different than what we could get on the market, it’s the history and stories that matter the most…

    xx, Chloe // http://stylebychloe.com

  • I am wearing my mother’s engagement ring and a shirt of my dad’s. My dad died in October and my mom died three weeks later. I try to have something of theirs with me all the time.

  • It is so great when a pieces comes with a history.. I remember me and my mum in Milan buying my Celine Trio – a fantastic short trip and I got my first designer bag, unforgetable.
    xx. Mirjam


  • Oh, I’ve got too much of such clothes!
    All my mother’s clothes, my great-aunt’s clothes… My own baby clothes! Too many memories…

    I do wear some of my Mom’s dresses. (And I can’t believe how skinny she must have been when young!! :))


  • Viktoria April, 8 2016, 6:02 / Reply

    I wore first my mother´s clothes (age 14 – 16) and then my father´s (age 16 – 25, particularly his wedding suit which was the epitome of chic in the 80´s) to shreds. Loved those clothes. Now I have some gems handed down to me by my mum-in-law, particularly a black/white hooded jacket that always gets me compliments even though it fringes a bit at the sleeves. She wore it in the early 60´s, when she was expecting my husband – it had room for the whole belly even though it was not a particular maternity piece. I love clothes with history and do nearly all my shopping second-hand.

  • Monika April, 8 2016, 8:49 / Reply

    This is a lovely jacket!

  • Love the jacket! ;)


  • YES! My mum just sent me a navy designer blazer she’s had since the 70’s. Not only was I delighted when the parcel arrived on my doorstep in Australia from Scotland just in time for the cooler weather but it made my mum so happy to pass it on. My dad had bought it for her before they were married. He passed away a few years ago and it’s been so lovely to hear all her stories about their life back then. It like the jacket opened up a whole new conversation.

    Your uncles army jacket is so special. And looks amazing!

    Vari x

  • Definitely. My Grandma’s cameo brooch is a particular favourite. She was a stalwart of a women and I always feel her strength when I wear it too. Not to mention looking like an absolute boss!

  • What a fantastic jacket. I wonder if one of the big name brand stores like H & M might consider recreating something like this. I think it would be a great seller. Perhaps someone show suggest this to them.

    Ps – Love your stylish blog.

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