Homage to My Grandmother

An homage to my grandmother Dorothy Jane Howlett.  She had a hat collection to be reckoned with and was a true believer in investing in higher quality pieces that could be mixed and matched and dressed up or down.   She was a fashionista, who wore high heels and makeup until she was 90, unlike me–I gravitate toward comfort like Birkenstocks and Converse.  I always felt like a disappointment to her in the style department, showing up for holiday dinners in jeans.  Whenever I complimented her outfits, she’d say “well, yes honey, everyone always tells me I have flare.” She was not modest.


Newspaper clipping describing my grandmother’s wedding outfit.

When I told my grandmother I’d be attending law school, she burst out laughing.  In her defense, she was half senile by this time.  I’d spent the previous year teaching English in China, an occupation she found equally humorous.  She said something like, “I don’t know why you girls do these things.”  And like a marijuana commercial from the 90s, I’d reply “I learned it from watching you.”

In her youth, my grandmother had travelled the world sans man, as a passenger on freighters, playing cards with the captain and crew and visiting exotic locales.  Her well-collected interior design style was the real deal, treasures and art collected from travels and not department stores.  My grandmother is no longer with us–she passed away a day after her 90th birthday–but her furniture adorns my house and will likely outlive me as well.

I love how the Provincial Dress (cabi Fall 2016) featured in these pictures meshes with items from my grandmother’s wardrobe.  The Provincial has been my go-to piece this fall and winter.  I feel the looks featured below are a perfect fusion of my grandmother’s style and mine.