The September Issue

Last week I received a call from Mr. Blandings’s aunt. She is something of a grande dame. She and her husband are movie star gorgeous. They look a bit like Lauren Bacall and William Powell. Only more stylish.

When we see them Mr. Blandings says, “I hope we look that good when we are their age.” And I say, “Darling, we don’t look that good now.” And he knows that it is true.

Clothes, as you know, are not so much my thing, but as I was talking to Mr. B’s aunt about Valentino she said, “Oh, I have a bunch of old stuff you could have. Too bad you’re so tall.” Never in my life, not for two seconds, not even when I had a crush on a pre-growth-spurt boy have I ever wished I were shorter. Until then.

But I went last week to see the “stuff” as she assured me she had a seamstress who could work wonders as well. Her house, well, her house is simply stunning and I try not to gawk when I am there but I don’t think I succeed. Like her clothes it is classic and chic but never boring.

She carefully pulled open the doors of the two closets in the spare room and we began to pile clothes on the beds. She told me stories of trunk shows and runway shows and shopping in New York. She recounted tales of parties large and small, of things she thought worked and things that didn’t quite when they arrived, and she told me of finagling a coat from Pat Buckley who had had it on hold.
“Take it, take it,” she said, “I’ll just end up giving it to the thrift shop.” She reminded me that this bounty did not come from a single spree, but years and years of careful investing. “I don’t think any of it looks dated,” she declared. And she was right.
There was not a pair of harem pants in the lot.
All illustrations by Virginia Johnson from Kate Spade’s Style.
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27 thoughts on “The September Issue

  1. Mrs. B. what a delightful story, I know what you mean about some couples-now it seems more rare to find in the young-they lack that stay together style, not just the classic clothing style…
    Hire a tailor tout de suite. G.

  2. Going through her beautiful clothes (along with her stories) must've been like Christmas ! So Fun !

  3. Birds of a feather should stick together.
    A nest (and a wardrobe) does indeed involve careful investing. Just think of it as life-enhancing daily.

    love VJ's illustrations.

  4. I love Aunts like that – they have the best stories and I'll bet she had one for just about every outfit she pulled out.

  5. Yes, Yes, Vintage Valentino. But did you get any that fit? Do tell what great finds you snagged. You can't stop at the no harem pants.

  6. Oh Families, you can't pick them–you can only love them just the way they are! What a treasure–the clothes and the aunt. Great heritage to pass on to the boys. Have a super week (the second week of school).

  7. You lucky lucky gal!! Please post an update — and show us some of the clothes! Please!!!! (whining and wheedling here …..)

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  8. No harem pants and no blue jeans either I'll bet. Now with regard to size, I happen to be just the right size for everything you can't wear.

    My Mother had a friend who was a fashion illustrator for a big department store. Her friend would gift my Mother with some of the most wonderful frocks and jackets. Unfortunately my Mother was a blue jean queen and never wore those things. All of them are gone now including my Mother.

    They say the good you do lives on so I'm carrying on the tradition of blue jeans and envying those clothes gifted to you. Ann

  9. thank you for sharing such a wonderful story with us, Mrs. B. My aunt had an amazing wardrobe, but was 4.9 (to my 5.9), alas.

  10. What a lovely story!! I am so jealous both of the Valentino & of the opportunity to spend an afternoon hearing her stories!

  11. Oh how much fun. I imagine the stories were captivating….

    When I see women like that…I realize what a frump I am! heehee


  12. How wonderful for you! My grandmother was very much the grande dame like that and had saved a collection of clothing from more than 40 years of shopping. Vintage Valentino, Bill Blass, a Chanel or two, Givenchy, even some original DVF wrap dresses. Unfortunately, she was a 5'2" with black hair (which turned a beautiful white) and I'm a 5'12" redhead. My mother couldn't really use anything, either. After my Gram passed, we each took a few things to remember her by and then donated the bulk to a charity re-sell it shop, which made quite a windfall once word got out.

  13. GAH! Great aunt indeed!

    It does my heart good to know that these pieces have more than just a new curator. All good things, Mrs. B., … (and a seamstress who is a marvel!)

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