Welcome back to my monthly second-hand stories blog with Sarah London and if you are visiting for the first time and are interested in the stories behind clothes then you are in the right place.
My name is Jane.
I love clothes.
I love stories.
After graduating with an English degree, I became a journalist.
At first, I worked at weekly papers between 1989 and 1992, and then from 1992 until 2003 I worked as a news reporter and features writer at The Liverpool Echo.
In 2003 until 2010 I was a freelance writer for newpapers and magazines and between 2007 and 2010, a writer in residence at HMP Garth in Lancashire.
After the recession of 2008/9 hit I lost a lot of freelance work and re-trained as a teacher. Between 2011 and 2017 I was a tutor in a sixth form college until 2018 when I left to become a yoga teacher.
Despite my career changes, two things have remained constant: my love of clothes and my love of writing which is where this blog has provided an outlet and an archive for posts such as this.
Today Sarah and I will be discussing re-purposing our clothes.
And the star of the show is this Poppy Parker Dress which I bought in summer 2008 following a collaboration between Oasis and the Bath Fashion Museum.
To see it as a dress, please click on the following links when I wore it..........
To the baptism of a friend's baby in 2008
On Day 1 of this blog in 2009 here
To my nephew Seth's baptism in September 2009 here
To prison when I worked as a writer in residence in October 2008 here
For my PGCE graduation in July 2011 here.
To my daughter in law's 21st birthday in August 2011 here
At a Farewell Party in July 2012 here
And many more times.
I discovered a kindred spirit in former Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman when I read her memoir, 'Clothes... and other things that matter.'
She also shares the ability of time travel through a simple glimpse of a piece of her wardrobe.
The memories are there forever, unlike this dress.
Yet sadly, I will never wear this dress again.
For it is now a skirt.
Do you see this rocking horse?
It was once a coffee table.
My dad re-purposed it in December 1992 for my son's second Christmas.
Our parents are always our first teachers and for my dad, a war baby, re-purposing was a way of life.
Thanks to the gift of the menopause I have been left with a pair of boobs that no longer fitted into the bodice of this beautiful dress.
But there was no way I was going to throw it out.
As Orsola de Castro explains in her fabulous book: 'Loved Clothes Last' - our relationships with our clothes are forever and we should find ways to wear them when our needs and lives changes.
We should, she says learn how to Mend, Alter and Make - which serendipitously, is the name of my local seamstress' business.
The lovely Tor, who luckily lives in the next road to me took one look at the dress and said she could rescue it as a skirt.
And I rather like the way the skirt sits a little lower and a little longer.
The dress was made using an original 1960s pattern and the detail is wonderful, including the addition of a litte tulle under the skirt.
And its not just this dress Tor has helped me with.
When I felt my 27-year-old Four Seasons black velvet coat was wearing me, rather than I wearing it, she shortened it for me.
|The long version I wore for my son's gradutation, November 2012|
|The shortened version I wore for my Nephew's Wedding, December 2017|