In a suitcase on the top of my wardrobe is a lavender suit. It's from the 80s, a drop waisted fine woollen dress with a simple jacket. I wore it to the wedding of a university friend who married one of our lecturers. At her wedding in the summer after we graduated I sat next to the headmistress of Cheltenham Ladies who did her best to put me at my ease. The lecturer drove a battered Porsche and was 15 years older than his new bride. It wasn't surprising that he picked her as compared to the rest of us she oozed sophistication having spent a year at the Sorbonne before coming to university in Britain. She rode a little scooter and smoked Sobriane cigarettes.
I wore the suit to my first job interview in London on a steamy, thundery afternoon. The interview was held at the Barbican when the yellow line was still bright, and I thought I was going to melt. I also thought I was going to get the job. I didn't and spent the whole of the next day crying.
Really I should throw the suit out. It doesn't fit me and I'm scared to check just how ravaged it is by the moths. The reason I don't want to throw it out is because it's the only garment I still have that my mother made for me. We chose the pattern from the Vogue cataglogue in a shop called the Spinning Mill. My mother guided me towards the fabric. "That will hang beautifully!"
I didn't have many occasions on which to wear that suit. I spent the entire remainder of the 80s in a uniform of Levi 501s and DM shoes - me and every other hip young person.
When I was even younger I went on a school trip to Germany. Despite the lack of money around my mother was determined that I would have new clothes for the trip. There were copies of Honey and 19 magazines in the house and I combed them looking for the kind of clothes I wanted. She made me a long paisley skirt, a swingy navy jacket and a pair of white sailor type shorts. There wasn't anyone on that trip who had better clothes than me.
Today would have been my mother's birthday. I do still miss her.