I haven’t been keeping up to date recently with clearing out my clothes. Life got in the way and it didn’t seem that important, until I wanted to find my blue striped cardigan. I knew it was there somewhere, I’d seen it only a few days before, but at the crucial moment it was nowhere to be found.
Half the cupboard had to be emptied before it was located, scrumpled up in a sad heap on top of a pile of shoeboxes. Another casualty of my propensity to keep every garment I’ve ever owned, it did however re-start the life-laundering initiative.
Today’s selection is a top I’ve not worn for years. I bought it when I went shopping with my younger daughter, before her daughter was born, so that is at least five, if not six, years ago. In those dim distant, pre-grandchildren days, we could spend hours wandering around the shops, trying things on, stopping for coffee and cake and a long chat about life.
She might be looking for clothes for work, or a specific occasion. I’m not a great buyer, just a humongous hoarder, so I’d often come away with nothing, but I was instantly drawn to this particular blouse. Not only was it a perfect fit, but at first glance I thought the fabric was Tana Lawn.
This amazing material, which is light as silk, and even though it’s 100% cotton doesn’t crease, was named after Lake Tana in the Sudan, by one of the buyers from Liberty, William Haynes Dorrell in 1920.
When I was a student in London, a boyfriend who was studying architecture would take me round various buildings he considered important. Apart from watching the original Barbican being constructed and a tour of Art Deco toilets in the Black Friar Pub, I was taken to Liberty, the famous mock Tudor store in Regent Street.
To my shame, I’d never even heard of the shop, let alone seen anything like this. It was a magical place of infinite wonder. Oriental rugs hung draped from the balconies that overlooked each and every floor. Amber jewellery, Art Deco furniture, leather bags and belts, silk ties and designer clothes, were on sale, the list was endless. Most was way beyond the reach of a seventeen year old on a grant. About the only thing I could afford was a lavender bag made from Liberty fabric and it wasn’t until much, much later that I made myself a skirt, which is still in my wardrobe, from their lovely Tana Lawn.
My top, however fine the cotton, isn’t of the same quality and while the skirt stays, the top goes. It has, however, sparked another slew of memories and with any luck will provide a little more space in my bulging wardrobe.