For Josephine and Her Mother

Josephine with her mother, the Maestra Sarta

My dear friend Josephine lost her mother last week. My heart is breaking for her. A few years ago, Josephine shared her mother’s story for TFIO. Today I want to share it again …

Josephine’s mother was a maestra sarta, a master seamstress, which was and still is a highly respected and honorable profession in Italy, where she was born. This is the story of Josephine’s mother and the gift she gave two generations of women …

My mom was born in a small town in Italy in 1931. She loved school and hoped to continue her education, but when she finished the 8th grade her family needed her at home to help out. It was the early 1940s, the country was at war, supplies were scarce, and my mother was the oldest of five children. Her mom was not well. She was needed: she sewed shirts, using parts of older shirts to fix newer ones, washed clothes by hand, and ironed for hours so that her younger siblings and extended family had the proper clothing to continue attending school or work. Her family was refined and tried to maintain a normal life despite food shortages and the other casualties of war. My mom remembers that her uncle, a shoemaker, made her high-heeled shoes out of a leather bag and wood. Growing up, I was often told about those shoes; my mom received many compliments when she wore the shoes with a dress she had made. Continue reading

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Eva says, “If not now … When?”

Rosetta Grey shoes – all of Eva’s favorite things: good height, good leather, retro style

I met Eva at work and was struck by her original fashion sense and creative style. But Eva and I really bonded when we discovered our mutual love of Loehmann’s and why we miss it now that it is gone. I understand so well how Eva feels about her clothes and the personal relationship she has with each and every piece. And I am familiar with Eva’s story about how her love of fashion started. Here is Eva …

My love of fashion started when I was a little girl, shopping with my mom. I learned everything about the art of shopping for a good sale from her. Of course, there was an effort to be fiscally responsible but shopping for a good buy was so much more; it was about learning to shop creatively. I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, home to the original Daffy’s  discount store. My mom and I would shop at Daffy’s and then head over to the Shoe Town across the street – that was our thing. We always had a time limit to our shopping day and I learned how to have fun with shopping and to be creative within constraints, something that is a big part of me to this day …

I grew up in a school environment which required me to dress with certain restrictions. I can trace my love of shoes to this time in my life. Shoes and accessories were the elements that helped me to stand out and step away from the conformity and simply, be myself. When I went to college and experienced total fashion freedom that was the moment I fell in love with vintage shopping – and learned how to fully express my individuality …

My husband calls me the vulture when I shop: I circle with great patience and wait for the right moment to make my purchase. It is really the thrill of the hunt for me. Continue reading

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Shocked, At Bloomingdale’s!

I have always thought of Bloomingdale’s as my go-to department store – my store for my entire life. But today, I was truly shocked in Bloomindale’s. As I paid my bill I asked the young sales person if she could point me to the Diane von Furstenberg department (I was intrigued to see more after my last post). She looked at me as if I had three heads and asked me who that was – a designer? “Yes, a designer,” I said. She then suggested that the department might be found upstairs on the 3rd floor. I looked at her, seriously dumbfounded. And said, “No!” Still shell-shocked, I asked another salesperson where I could find DVF, and she told me that Bloomingdale’s hasn’t sold the Diane von Furstenberg line for at least two years. That came as a surprise to me but it wasn’t the shock. The real shock was that the first sales person didn’t know who Diane von Furstenberg was. Really? Are you kidding me?? Shame on you Bloomingdale’s for letting this happen!

I just had to share …

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