We’ve all received the odd hand-me-downs from our mothers and grandmothers: coats, handbags, maybe jewelry if we’re lucky. But amongst all those classic trenches and clip-on earrings, there are definitely certain items one should never, ever accept from their older family members. After all, while many wardrobe staples remain consistent from generation to generation, others tend to date—quickly. So we sat down with Lucky‘s own Senior Fashion Editor Elle Strauss to learn which of mom’s closet treasures aren’t worth accepting—and should probably just be donated.
1. Pearls: Many consider strings of pearls to be classic accessories—but Elle warns that they can look stodgy if they’re not of the endlessly-looped, Chanel variety. "I have a necklace that was passed down from my grandmother to my mom to me," she says, "and it’s beautiful—but would I wear it? It’s a little too buttoned-up, and I think it would make an outfit look stuffy."
2. Printed High-Neck Dresses: "Lots of them are cut really huge in bust area—and I mean, even if you do have a larger bust, it’s just not flattering," Elle says. "It’s like wearing a sack with a cute print." If there’s a dress you’re handed down in a print you particularly love, you could take it to a tailor and have the silhouette and hemline altered to make the piece feel more modern.
3. Fur: A rabbit coat or mink stole is a classic family heirloom, but Elle points out that the fur silhouettes worn in past decades don’t always translate to today. "My mom’s got this fox fur stole that literally has the fox head still on it—it’s the most hideous thing ever!" laughs Elle. "She’s always planned on bringing her old furs to be re-cut and altered…but until that actually happens, I’ll never wear them. They’re all the wrong shapes. Very The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."
4. Velvet: "This one’s a big no-no," says Elle. "It can work, but it has to be in a modern shape. ’80s debutante velvet is the worst."
5. Shoes: Not only is it difficult to preserve vintage footwear—stitching tends to come undone, heels break, glue peels away—but shoes from years past often look frumpy. "I have a pair of silver glitter platforms from my grandma," Elle explains, "and even though silver, glitter and platforms are all big right now, these ones still aren’t quite right. A shoe can have all the ‘cool’ ingredients and still not work for today."
6. Denim: This one should come as a relative no-brainer, but mom jeans aren’t the easiest to pull off. "At the end of the day, there will always be someone who can get away with them," Elle says. "But in general, weekend brunch probably doesn’t call for high-waisted, pleated, oversized acid-wash jeans."
7. Delicate Fabrics: One false move in a silk slipdress inherited from your mom, and you might just end up splitting the entire side seam. And in addition to the obvious risk of a wardrobe malfunction, Elle points out that such materials often look worse for the wear as years pass. "Fabric does date," she says. "It fades, it yellows, it sags. And that doesn’t look good on anyone, no matter how well the dress itself might fit you."
Photo: CN Digital Studio
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