I do not know how to describe my grandmother's style to you, but I'm going to try. Think leopard print couches, bleach blond beehive, red velvet flocked wallpaper, deep red shag carpet, half-shirts, teeeeeny tiny shorts, terry-cloth strapless pantsuits, little tank tops with nautical themes, burgundy velvet evening dresses, high high heels, fake fur coats, cigarettes, Manhattens, and coffee. Get the picture? An awesome mix of EllaMae from Beverly Hillbillies, Dolly Parton, and French bordello. I LOVE it!
|This isn't too far off. Just add a beauty mark above her lip.|
My grandmother did not have a lot of contact with us growing up. After about the fourth kid, we never seemed to see her. She was a mystery recluse, who never managed to make it to big family events even though her husband always seemed to. I'd like to think I *almost* got her out to my wedding.
However, I have over the years learned more and more about her. Though she barely saw us, she often talked to my father daily at work. And having to do a project on my family history, I was able to learn more about her childhood. She was very hesitant to share much, but my understanding is that she and her family went through a great deal of hardship in rural Virginia. Her father left the family when she was very young, leaving her mother to care for a large brood of children on her own. Her brother died very young, tragically. She married young, divorced young, and often struggled to make ends meet and find happiness. Things improved when she remarried an amazing man, who was able to support them well. But she still struggled, finding unhappiness still followed her.
When I inherited my grandmother's clothes, I was super smitten by her amazing style sense. It was always apparent that her appearance meant a great deal to her. My father often said that aging was very difficult for her, as she had put so much value in her appearance.
This pair of pants was one of the pieces that I took home. They fit me really well, and I always loved the wide-leg style even if I am short. I was tickled to learn that they were from Frederick's of Hollywood, as it perpetuated that glamorous yet slightly trashy mystique that I imposed upon my grandmother.
I never wore them, because the seams were coming out, and I needed to resew them.
|hand-stitched seams, after the first one came out|
No, she wanted others to see her as the epitome of glamour, of financial stability. A good life. Not the hard one she came from. Maybe that was another reason why we barely saw her in later years: it was just too hard to feel confident when you felt tired and unattractive. When you couldn't be sure that you could hide that you were just you.
I wish she realized just how amazing she really was.