A vintage collection with heart and history

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Aimee, a school friend of my wife, who explained that her father was clearing through his late mother Eileen’s collection of clothes and she had thought of me.

It was the first enquiry of this kind that I had received since starting Mrs Fox’s and it was important for me to be respectful of the memory of their loved one, particularly as I would be looking through her treasures and trinkets, possessions and clothing collected over a lifetimeAfter all loving vintage isn’t about money, it’s about having a love of history and people, my favourite thing to do is imagine what occasion an item of clothing may have been used for and how it could be used again.

Within a few weeks I had what seemed like endless bags of clothes in our dinning room (I do like to take over the house) all full of pieces that had belonged to Eileen. I fed back what I thought of the collection and it turned out there was more still to see!

I was lucky enough to be welcomed into Aimee’s dad’s home to look at the rest of the collection. It’s an odd feeling looking at piece’s of someone’s life you have never meet before and would never have the chance too. It did make me feel a little sad but I had a plan I thought would help me with this (more on this later).

It was clear from her wardrobe that Eileen had loved fashion and wasn’t worried about mixing it up, a lady after my own heart. I got the impression she loved life, her range of colours and styles showed she liked to move with the times but also had her own style. She seemed to have had a love of scarves, with a collection that could (almost) give me a run for my money. The more I learned, the more interesting Eileen was, she had in fact left school at 14 and spent the rest of her working life in the jewellery trade in London’s West End progressing to the title of store manager. I knew this lady had style. 

As I was looking at the pieces I was told some wonderful stories about her life.

So I am very proud to introduce the very special collection called ‘Loved by Eileen’. This is a small way to honour her memory, even though I never met Eileen hearing these stories and looking at all her pieces I felt that I had the opportunity to know her a little. I didn’t take everything but the bits I did I knew other vintage fans would love. I hope wherever Eileen is now she is pleased that her memory lives on and others will have the opportunity to treasure her once loved items. As I write this piece I am wearing a navy blue jacket of hers. I would also like to thank Aimee and her dad for allowing me to look at her things and hear a little more about someone so important to them.

I asked to see some pictures of Eileen to create some labels for the clothes, the family were welcome to this idea and I got the impression they were pleased with my plan. The first photo I opened was of Eileen in her later years but still looking very glamorous. I got a little upset about this (well after all I am someone who cries at almost any chick flick with a sad ending or in fact even a happy one!). I loved seeing the older photos of her in her hey-day and with her family.

Her son Barry said Eileen was always particular about the way she looked right into her later years and he recalled that when he went to visit her he always found her looking her best. She was always smartly dressed and had continued to have her ‘set’ weekly (one of the blue rinse brigade – he said this). What’s more if he forgot to compliment her on her appearance it wasn’t long before she would prompt him by saying ‘You haven’t said how nice I look today’. 

Here are some of the other pieces from the collection:

I have kept a few pieces from the collection as I felt I had to, one is this great bag:

It shows me that life does go on but the people you meet along the way can change you, I am glad to have crossed path’s with Eileen through the memories of her shared with me so generously by her loved ones. It was my first contact of this kind and I am sure not all case’s will be like this or maybe they will and that’s just me but I cannot wait for Eileen’s pieces to be loved by others. I really do think she would have liked that.  

10 thoughts on “A vintage collection with heart and history

  1. A beautiful blog piece. Feel like you and Eileen were destined to ‘meet’ each other. A wonderful tribute to the things you share a passion for.

  2. I have found the best vintage treasures are to be found in situations like this and you’re right – although its very exciting to see a room full of fab vintage clothes, you have to be mindful of the situation. It will be interesting to see how your customers react knowing who the clothes belonged too. Lola and I were invited to a customers house – mum had moved into a home – we offered to model some of the clothes so mum could see new life breathed into them. Apparently she was over the moon. The other thing that happened was that Lola found a stash of cash hidden in a glasses case! We got such a shock and obviously told the son what we had found. He was most grateful and gave Lola some Christian Dior glasses in return!

  3. What a lovely story, thank you very much for this.
    I think it’s a lovely idea to label the pieces with her name. I always feel a little sad that I don’t know anythink about the people, who owned the dresses I wear before me.
    I keep some scarves that belonged to my grandaunt and I love the thought that some of the things she kept around herself can life on in a way, I hope that is it a consoling thought to the family of you school friend, too, knowing that those things will find their ways in good homes.

  4. So lovely, I love vintage which tells a story. It’s wonderful that things continue to be loved even after their original owner has past. It’s a testament to the clothes of the past that they last so long. The labels are a wonderful idea and it was lovely that you shared these photos. xxx

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