Generational Dressing


This morning my lovely daughter Niamh (4) decided she wanted to wear my great grandmother’s beautiful smocked baby dress (which a: she wouldn’t fit into, and b: is over 100 years old so would perish, so I don’t want her to wear it). So when I said no to that dress, she decided to put on this dress, which was mine (and a handme down, though my favourite and best piece of clothing that I owned for some years).
Today, a large box arrived in the mail from Karen, Of a Certain Age, whose daughter played with Niamh when we were in the US in May, and decided that she’d like to send Niamh one of her dolls.
Niamh was very excited to open the box, and insisted I take photos of her with her new doll (top photo), and I found this photo of me wearing the same dress taken Christmas 1974 (in Ulverstone Tasmania at my grandmothers house, bottom photo) having just opened a present with a new doll in it for me.

It’s very tempting to keep lots of stuff from when your kids were young, I have kept 1 outfit each from the very early baby days, plus their first pair of shoes. I’m glad my mother kept this dress, but I wouldn’t want more as there is only so much ‘stuff’ I want to keep.
Do you keep your kids clothes or have you been given clothing from when you were a child?


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  • Lovely pictures – you are both so cute.
    I have kept one outfit for each of my four children from when they wer ebabies and they all wore the same christening robe that was bought for me when they were baptized.
    I also have a large box for each child full of memorabilia. My eldest will be 18 in three weeks and I am preparing a memory book for him so it will come in very hand!

  • Yes I have kept some gorgeous clothes that my kids have worn plus some old toys as well!!
    I love these pics how wonderful to see you both in the same dress!!!
    Jane x

  • I kept some – first shoes, favourite dress etc. Recently I let my teenage daughters go through the stuff i have kept and gave them a box and they decided what they wanted to keep. No more than the one box though!

  • Your daughter is just gorgeous! (As were you as a child.) and is that an American Girl doll I spy? 🙂

    I don't keep anything. I did keep a few things from the very early days but a) it's really not my style to keep and b) my kid has major issues throwing anything away (the bain of my life).

    I've been known to stealth clean at 2 am just to get rid of stuff. Not that I recommend it from the perspective of the mental health of your kid.

  • I don't have any children (yet! It's in my 10-year plan), but I know my mom kept several of my Polly Flinders dresses from when I was a little girl, that I'm sure will be passed to me when the time comes. I don't even know if Polly Flinders is still around, but that was my favorite place to get "round-and-round" dresses from when I was 4 til about 8-years old. "Round-and-round" means they flare out if you spin around in them 🙂 Gorgeous photos of you both!

  • I kept at least one outfit for each child, preferably a hand-crafted one. My grand-daughter has already worn the first wee sweater I made for her mother and has yet to grow into a rick-rack-trimmed calico dress and a pink princess-seamed coat. There are also some smocked bonnets and dresses tucked away. I do try to be careful, though, not to impose my sentiments and values, mindful of the limited storage space my city-dwelling kids have. If these garments don't get folded up and carefully tucked away for my granddaughter's someday children, that's up to my daughter — I've done my custodial work. Easier when it's something I made than if it were my grandmother's 100-year old dress!

  • I'm not much of a saver – I have two dresses (I drafted the designs myself) and a handknit merino wool sweater for my four-year-old DD (because she picked out the yarn herself, and it took me forever to finish it). Because much of her baby clothing was thrift-shopped or given to us by friends, it's long since been passed on to be used others. I honestly can't remember any specific clothing of hers unless I'm looking at photographs of her wearing them.

  • Wonderful pictures! No, my mother didn´t save anything for me, everything was passed on. I have saved some pretty dresses, my girls wore when they were small. Like I probably told already somewhere, I spent all my spare money buying clothes and Steiff toys for my children (+ rugs for my horses). I hope to become a grandma sometime and plan to pass these onwards.

  • Beautiful pictures and what a lovely comparison! I have kept most of my daughter's baby clothes and children's clothes, however, I have none of mine. I remember every dress I had though and actually feel excited when I see a similar fabric. I guess that means I must have been a clothes horse even then. I was particularly fond of Ladybird T-shirts with the little ladybirds all over them and a beautiful drop-waist dress in coffee and Wedgwood blue.

  • K.Line – yes it is an American Girl doll called Jess – Karen thought that Niamh should have one which was very kind of her!

    Mater – yes – I probably should do something more to preserve the 100 year old hand made, hand smocked dress!

  • Awww, what a great post! I keep a few things that have special memories for me, mostly my daughters baby clothes and the dresses I made for her.

    I keep the fleece sleep bag suit by Carters. They all wore it when I nursed them and I still start weeping milk when I look at it!

  • I have a nightcap (a real bonnet type of thing) that belonged to some old relative. I have no idea how I ended up with it, but it's easily the oldest piece of clothing I own that isn't a bought vintage piece.

    That is a lovely dress – how neat to see you both wearing it.

    Thank you very much for commenting on my blog!

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