We’re getting all nostalgic with fashion journalist Isabella Silvers who takes us through her very own timeline of some of her most sentimental items of clothing…
Do you remember the first time you fell in love with fashion? Was it when your grandmother let you raid her jewelry box and keep a broken gold chain for yourself? Or did you used to wait for your older sister to leave the house, then pillage her grown-up wardrobe? Don’t think I didn’t notice, lil’ sis.
I remember my first time; I was six years old and my mother bought me a black and white Dalmation-print coat (faux obviously, I’m no Cruella de Vil). I refused to take it off, even in summer. Going to school? I wore the coat. Visiting family? Give me the coat. Bedtime? Coat. I think I loved that monochrome fur more than my own mom (…sorry).
That fluffy little jacket (which I would totally still wear today) started a lifelong obsession with fashion and a wardrobe stuffed with sentimental pieces I just can’t bear to get rid of, even if my style has moved on.
Case in point, the first pair of high heels I ever bought. The store had a sale on and one pair left in my size, which made it a sign, right? The shoes are fuchsia pink and covered in glitter with a big bow on the front; in short, my 13-year-old dream. They obviously came home with me, where I wore them with stripy socks and skinny jeans for a casual shopping trip (brave). Now, they’re piled up with the rest of my beautiful, impractical footwear.
These days I’d pick these Public Desire fluffballs, or Jessica Buurman’s satin mules.
As the pink glittery heels prove, I’ve never been a minimalist. The first thing I lifted from my parents’ wardrobe was a vintage leopard-print jacket, with torn seams and fraying sleeves. This was actually a second-hand steal; the jacket was my dad’s, until my mom ‘borrowed’ it to hang out with Aerosmith. Now it’s mine, and has been since I was 14 years old. Since then, I’ve raided my mom’s jewelry box and looted old band tees from my dad’s drawers – it’s like vintage shopping, only free. Thanks dad! If your dad wasn’t the leopard print type, try Topshop or Urban Outfitters for your feline fix.
The one time I did keep things simple was for prom. It was our first formal dance, we were 16 and all anyone could talk about was what to wear. I knew the whole glitzy gown look wasn’t for me, but I fell head over heels for a short, strapless black dress with a big skirt and silver beads all around the waist. I didn’t have a job, so I had to suck up to my mom to get her to pay for it. I used various tactics, including explaining how much I NEEDED this dress and that I’d never speak to her again if this dress didn’t appear in my wardrobe. Reader, it worked! I got my dress, swished my way through prom and never wore it again. I’ve still got it though, just in case.
Today, my wardrobe is approximately 80% LBDs, but I’m still lusting after these styles from Motel and Free People.
I might not have had a romantic kiss at prom, but my next sentimental item was, again, ‘borrowed’ (stolen) from my first love. We were 19 and met at college, but lived in different cities so the holidays seemed endless. While we were apart, I would sleep in his Fred Perry t-shirts, or slob around the house in his way-too-big jumpers. How cliché. I still sleep in his blue striped shirt from a brand I’ve never found again, but if he ever wants it back, Cos and J Crew sell some similar styles.
By 22, we’d broken up, but there was no way I was returning his re-homed clothes. You never forget your first, do you?
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