Thursday, April 15, 2010

Traditional Thursday

Today's topic is all about recycling! Well, not really.....but it is all about passing classic clothes down from generation to generation.  This is a rather long post, but we believe in keeping our clothes, so there are quite a few examples!

Many of us have the traditional things we pass down. For instance: the family christening/baptismal gown. Our family gown was originally my father's (as shown here from 1914):

I would wear this same gown when I was baptised (1959)

As would my nieces (in 1989 and 1990) 


Older Daughter (1991 at just 2 months old)
Younger Daughter (1996)

As I am the family keeper of the dress, I have it ready to go for the next generation!

I am also the keeper of the family wedding dress and veil, which is from my mother's side of the family.  When my aunt became engaged, my grandfather sent her, my mother ("Miss Betty") and their other sister to New York to look for a wedding dress.( I believe the search actually started in South Carolina and covered major cities from Atlanta to New York.) The plan was that three of them would choose something that they all liked and could all wear eventually.  My grandfather was a smart fellow!! They chose a wonderful dress of a beautiful cream colored silk satin, with antique Brussels lace down the front.  The veil, purchased elsewhere, was Brussels lace as well, and was over 100 years old.  

My aunt wore it, when she was married in her early 20's.

My other aunt wore it when she was married in 1961, at the age of 32.

My two cousins both wore the family wedding dress...
As did I.

And it's here waiting for my daughters, too.....

But Miss Betty, who was 34 when she was married (more unusual in the 1950's), decided that she was 
"too old" for such a dress and a big wedding and opted for a lovely tea length dress and smaller wedding. 
(No one, not even Granddaddy, argued with Miss Betty. 
Even as a young person, hers was the ultimate word on what was proper or appropriate!)

The tradition of recycling a dress was definitely strong in Miss Betty's family!  
My grandmother made Miss Betty (her eldest) a dress when she was little, and had her picture made in it.
(In the South, when you are doing a special picture, you don't have it "taken," you have it "made!")

Miss Betty saved the dress and had my picture made in it:

And I had my daughters' pictures made in it as well.
It, too, is in my safekeeping....

....and we all are on display in my upstairs guest room.

I have other examples of clothes "through the generations," but I will save them for another time. I am sure you have them too.  It's a classic preppy thing..  It's never to late to start this kind of tradition in your family, either....Well made clothes last forever!  

In closing I will leave you with just one more.....a little smocked dress of mine that got a lot of wear when I was growing up, but here it is today, washed and pressed and ready for my granddaughters or grandnieces to wear!

  It is a precious little dress from Best & Co.

and I certainly didn't sit still when I was wearing it almost 50 years ago (1961)...


  1. How wonderful to have such treasures to pass on. The pink dress and smocked one are adorable. As are the pictures!

  2. Darling, especially the baptism gown. The passing on of clothes is a fabulous tradition and one I think more common in the South.

    My son came home from the hospital in the "coming home" outfit my mother had if I turned out to be a boy. She also kept the outfit I came home in, but I was a about bringing my daughter home in something I picked out. (Wish I hadn't done that.)

    However, my daughter did wear my first birthday dress on her first birthday.

  3. You always have such beautiful posts! I especially love the ones like this where things are passed down from generations. I am the keeper of things in my family as well. Although my parents came as immigrants to the states in the late 70's with just about only the clothes on their backs... I am the keeper of all our family photos since they've been here in the states. :)
    It's so special to have such wonderful treasures to pass on to younger generations. You're right, it's never too late to start this tradition... I'd like to.
    Have a great day!
    XOXO- Vy

  4. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tradition of passing clothing down the generations! I have a dress that my mother made for me that my daughter also wore. It's packed away and ready for a granddaughter when one comes along.

  5. My sister, cousin, and I all wore the same kid gloves my mother wore when she made her debut at the same balls we did twentysome-odd years later. They are lovely.

  6. What a beautiful tradition you are carrying on! Could you imagine three sisters willing to wear the same wedding dress in today's 'everything is expendable' age. Such beautiful frocks should be preserved for many generations (as you have) and it should be viewed as an honour to have the opportunity to wear them. Great post as always, thoroughly enjoyed it!!

  7. I absolutely loved reading this post. Such a beautiful, meaningful tradition! I have saved many of my children's special, smocked clothes for the generations to come.
    All your family photos are fabulous!!

  8. What a special tradition in your family! My mother couldn't find the dress that I wore home from the hospital, so we searched high and low for something very similar until we came across a Feltman Brothers dress that was a nearly identical version. I am planning to save it for my daughter's children one day. I love all the photos that you have from your family in the traditional gowns over the years -- sure makes for extra-special memories!

  9. I love the story of these dresses! It's so beautiful to have tangible family traditions like that. I'm so glad you're taking care of them for your family.