‘Ageless Style’ and sewing in UK Vogue

There’s a brilliant little article in this month’s UK Vogue, July 2013. It’s the ‘Ageless Style’ issue, and four sets of women and their grandmothers have been interviewed about fashion and clothes across the generations.


What caught my attention about this article was not just one, but TWO references to Burda magazine. See below:


The grandmothers are more interesting than their granddaughters, who mostly just reel off a list of labels. The older women have fascinating stories, from Natalyia, who was born in the USSR at the start of the 1940s and owned just two dresses, to Katholiki, who grew up in poverty on Rhodes and had to use petrol oil mixed with water to style her hair.

Most of the grandmothers are pretty sceptical about current clothing trends. All of them grew up either making their own clothes, or having clothes tailored for them, but this is not something any of the granddaughters have ever experienced.

My favourite bit is this quote on how sewing turns you from a ‘consumer of fashion’ into someone that makes fashion ‘work for you’. It’s kind of a radical statement to see in a copy of Vogue, which is all about the dream of the £5,000 dress.

vogue text1

The grandmothers are able to describe the clothes they’ve worn and made in their life in so much more detail than the granddaughters. You can visualise them perfectly.

Please excuse my giant hideous thumb

I love written descriptions of clothing, don’t you? I’ve always enjoyed reading about ‘sprigged muslin’ and ‘biscuit coloured pantaloons’ in Georgette Heyer novels, even though I have no idea what the hell they are.

The pictures are nice too. Check out the shoes and handbag on the left of this photo, belonging to a lady called Dora Yang. She was born in Shanghai in 1928 and always had tailored cheongsams made for her.


It seems unusual for Vogue to cover such a wide spectrum of clothing options. I guess the fact that it’s all in the past makes it okay. I can’t see them writing an article about sewing your own clothes in 2013.

Anyway, it’s worth picking up for a read, or flicking through in WH Smiths if you don’t want to spend £3.99 on a copy.


17 thoughts on “‘Ageless Style’ and sewing in UK Vogue

  1. giddyauntlola June 11, 2013 / 5:36 AM

    What a wonderful article; I would never have expected such a thing from vogue. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be as savvy and resourceful as the older women. I have started sewing later in life, so have a lot of catching up to do.

  2. Zoe June 10, 2013 / 6:00 PM

    Aww, lovely! Thanks for sharing the highlights with us. I can’t abide even holding a copy of Vogue with all those 14-year-olds with deer-caught-in-the-headlights expressions advertising £3000 handbags! Those Grannies are clearly legends. Can you imagine only owning two dresses? I remember reading about a women who was young in the 1940s. She’d wear her ‘good dress’ to the dance on Friday night, then hand wash it Saturday morning and pray it’d be dry to go to the Saturday night dance! This sounds mental but it makes me want to somehow go back in time and make her another dress. That really sounds mental doesn’t it?

    Zoe xxx

    • yesilikethat June 11, 2013 / 8:59 AM

      Ha ha, it makes you sound awesome! The sewing time traveller, could be a good TV series… xxx

  3. elaineoc June 7, 2013 / 5:51 PM

    Sounds interesting! I need a good mag to take on my holidays so will be picking it up most likely.

  4. didyoumakethat June 7, 2013 / 9:21 AM

    So interesting! I’ll have to buy this copy. Thank you

  5. gingermakes June 6, 2013 / 3:08 PM

    Cool! I’ve got to dig up that article!

  6. Handmade Jane June 5, 2013 / 8:49 PM

    I’m going to buy Vogue tomorrow, just to read that article, it sounds fascinating!

  7. abinadressmaker June 5, 2013 / 6:38 PM

    Fascinating post, but I really had to comment when I saw the Georgette Heyer reference. LOVE her and her crazy made up insults and especially the clothes, and not just when their bodices are being ripped. High five!

    • yesilikethat June 6, 2013 / 2:28 PM

      Yes, love a bit of Georgette Heyer! You can get nearly all her books on Kindle now, that’s my holiday reading sorted this summer…

  8. Roobeedoo June 5, 2013 / 11:26 AM

    Interesting! There was a time when Vogue magazine showed Vogue sewing patterns – I used to flick through my aunt’s copy (we are talking about the 1970’s here). I don’t suppose the two are owned by the same company any longer.

    • yesilikethat June 6, 2013 / 2:30 PM

      I think Vogue are owned by whatever big conglomerate owns all the Big 4 pattern companies. Not sure though.

  9. kathryn June 5, 2013 / 9:59 AM

    This sounds like an interesting read. Thinking back through my cothes-buying, the things I can still remember are the things I spent time over buying or really fell in love with – so many impulse purchases from Top Shop/Primark etc that I couldn’t even bring to mind now. I love that sewing has made me so much more considered in what I purchase. Similar to Emily though it’s given me a cloth-stroking habit, and a bad habit of eyeing up clothes I see on other girls and trying to work out how to make it – need to try and reign the staring impulse in a bit!

    • yesilikethat June 6, 2013 / 2:29 PM

      That’s an interesting point, although I do have one H&M jacket that has lasted me over 10 years, most of my fast-fashion buys are long forgotten.

  10. Emily June 5, 2013 / 9:19 AM

    I might have to get my hands on a copy – I’d love to read the whole article. Every time I think about it, I’m always slightly amazed at how taking up sewing has completely changed my attitude to clothes and clothes buying. Items I wouldn’t have thought twice about buying before I wouldn’t consider spending my money on now. It has however made my habit of going round and stroking clothes (!!) much worse. I’m an absolute sucker for beautiful fabric…..

  11. sylkotwist June 5, 2013 / 8:57 AM

    I find all that fascinating, quite refreshing to see it in Vogue (if you can ignore all the other stuff!). Have you read My Mother’s wedding Dress by Justine Picardie? I read it years ago but remember feeling quite inspired as at the time I thought it was just me that got so nostalgic about the history of my clothes and the memories I had of them. Then, years later I found blogging and realised there are lots of us!

    • Handmade Jane June 5, 2013 / 8:47 PM

      I’ve read it, it’s fab! x

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