Why We Love Our Mothers’ Clothes

This Mothers’ Day, team Eco-Age are embracing hand-me-down items from the women closest to our hearts. From cosy cardigans to custom-made creations, we share the stories behind our favourite heirlooms.   There’s something particularly meaningful about wearing a piece of clothing that has been passed between generations. Whether we have fond memories of our mothers dressed in the same thing, or perhaps have only seen it in photographs, items passed from mother to daughter hold a special significance in team Eco-Age’s wardrobes. Harking back to a time when fashion lived a slower-paced existence and clothing was built to last, hand-me-downs are a warm reminder that garments should be loved and looked after in a way that we could one day pass them on again. They remind us not to impulse buy, and to think of where each garment we purchase might end up. Yet perhaps most important are the tales attached to each individual piece, making them an everyday embodiment of our parents’ personality – not to mention a fun way to embrace female family connections. Here are just some of the stories behind the items from our mothers that most love to wear.   


This cosy jumper was my mum’s. My mum remembers walking past a shop window in Liverpool when she was in her early thirties. She adores rustic autumnal colours, most of her clothes are in those shades. I think as you grow older you learn to appreciate the value of things in life. Hand-me-down clothing, seen in this light, is like an heirloom – a thread that runs through and binds the family in a shared history. Whenever I feel like I need a little extra love, or I feel far away from home – I throw on this jumper and feel more grounded.


This bag was given to my mum in the mid-nineties when we lived in Argentina, and I always loved its simplicity and quality. The malachite necklace belonged to her mum and was bought some time in the 1960’s when she lived in Zambia. My Grandma was my original inspiration for fashion, textiles and sewing as she used to make our clothes – she’s undoubtedly the reason I do what I do today, both as a profession and sewing as a hobby.


My mum had this colourful creation custom made in Florence by a couture seamstress and wore it at the reception of her wedding in 1967. Since it was handed down to me, I have worn it many times though my life, including at the premiere of Relative Values with Colin when I was pregnant with my son Luca. I even passed it on my sister who used it for few years too, and then it found its way back to my wardrobe. Sharing the love!


My mum and I share a lot of each other’s clothes (probably me borrowing hers more than her borrowing mine), and I remember us being together when she bought this shirt about ten years ago. I loved it then! Now she doesn’t wear it so has passed it on to me, and this coat which I wear almost every day used to be hers too. She bought it at a sample sale in Battersea 20 years ago!


I love my mother’s cardigan! Every time I wear it, it reminds me her. It is super soft cashmere and even though it has given both her and me lots of wears, it still looks new. I often get hand me downs and I love it. I can extend the life cycle of a garment and get joy by wearing something of my mother’s.


When I go back to my family house, there’s nothing I love more than rummaging through the wardrobes of my relatives. My mum is woman after my own heart and has kept many of my grandma’s clothes too; I love to borrow bits from the collection based on the colours and shapes I’m currently lusting after. I know the contents of those wardrobes almost by heart, so you can imagine my surprise when my mother unzipped a suit bag and unveiled the coat of my dreams one day. Ankle length! Navy! Double breasted! She bought it when she was in her twenties working in London, and I don’t think I’ve gone a day without it since she so kindly passed it on to me. 


This skirt is not only a hand me down from my magnificent mother Ruthie Richmond, but it is also designed and made by her wonderful self too, so it is extra special to me! Nothing gives me greater pleasure than telling people this when they ask where it is from. The only thing I wish was that she made more and kept more of her old treasures like this skirt… nothing is more annoying that when she says, ‘I used to have a jacket just like but I gave it away!’ Note to future mothering self.