Whenever a package arrived from northern Germany, you could smell it in the stairwell. A whiff of mothballs hung in the air and what that meant was clear: the big cousins had retired. Pants and skirts that had become outdated came out of the boxes. Sweaters that were a bit out of shape and blouses with ruffles. It was the 80’s and plaid pleated skirts definitely aren’t what a teenager feels good in. If the term uncool had been fashionable back then, it would have hit it. Even pimped up with matching tops or bottoms, the clothes were an impertinence, I thought. Saying no to every single piece was out of the question for my mother. So one or two checks made their way into my closet with gnashing of teeth.
Putting away and sending to relatives is pretty much out of fashion these days. Worn clothes are sold on E-Bay before they become outdated and on online platforms such as Vinted, for example. If the new sports pants somehow don’t fit properly, someone is sure to find someone online who has a use for them. Shirts, trousers, skirts and dresses are also available in second-hand shops and at flea markets. This is sometimes cheaper and sustainable and better than cheap clothes from discounters. However, the financial aspect often plays a secondary role, especially with young adults. The sensitive use of resources, the environment and nature is central. Recently, at a family party, an 18-year-old beamed to me that the shoes he found in the give away box by the side of the road were exactly his size and fit great! So why buy new ones?
But sometimes favorite clothes also have stories that go beyond the I-got-it-from-the-gift-box. Stories about the wedding dress, for example, which belonged to grandma and was modified to fit the granddaughter – after being guarded like a treasure in the attic for years. Or about the bikini that was forgotten on the beach on the last day of vacation and was put in the envelope and forwarded by a nice holiday acquaintance.
We are looking for these stories for a small summer series. Please write to us if the pantsuit from the 70s was able to survive and who is wearing it. Or for whom the purple balloon silk from the 80s still looks good today. Checkered pleated skirts can also be there.