Familial Fashion

By Soja Moore
Photographed by Jacob Chvatal

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While style changes from generation to generation, how we’ve adapted our style from past eras and from our family is the most surprising and popular trend yet. Many people receive their older brother or sister’s hand-me-downs, and that has unconsciously shaped their current senses of style. As we follow the aesthetic journey of adolescent style, we see modifications of trendy fashion coming from brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and sometimes even grandparents. It’s fascinating to follow the personal journey of how siblings have adapted their style in an effort to bring back the old into the new generation.

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Oh Brother

One of the most prominent trends in current men’s fashion is overalls. Popular brands such as ASOS, Urban Outfitters, and PacSun have recently been producing spin-offs of the classic overalls. This trend can come in blue denim, black denim, patterned, ripped, “short-eralls”, and many other different adaptations. When someone first thinks of overalls, one might think of what their grandfather wears.  However, they have become quite notable in the current fashion community.

Another popular trend in the men’s fashion community is the  vintage tee. Most people own vintage tees, and even if they do not, their parents definitely do. It has become popular to steal your parents old clothes and use them to develop your own style, while still instilling that piece of familial pride. With this trend,when your friends ask you where you got your shirt you can say “Oh yeah, it was my dad’s.” Many of these tees have obscure meanings or sayings, old fraternity or sorority chapters, or old concert graphics. Other familial hand-me-downs include varsity jackets, vintage suits and the occasional pin covered denim jacket.

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Sister’s Keeper

Sisters take each other’s clothes constantly, and it’s almost like an ongoing game of “who wore it better”. This is quite common for the fashionable Li sisters Karen (22), Winnie (19), and Judy (14). Winnie is a current second year at Northeastern University and her family is local to Boston. This trio of sisters have been into fashion ever since they were young, and Judy even attended a modeling camp over the summer. “She steals my clothes all the time, but she reinvents it and tailors it to her own looks,” Winnie says. A lot of the clothes that Winnie and Karen have are sometimes too big, but Judy has an affinity for baggier, oversized clothes so this has become part of her style. The sisters have bonded over fashion trends and have established their own unique sense of style using each other’s products. They get some of their most prized possessions from their mother: “A lot of my fashion is inspired by some of my mother’s older more vintage looks,” Judy says. “They’re the current trend and you also get to reuse any garments that may have been thrown away or sold otherwise.” Some of the favorites passed down from mother Li include striped hand-knit sweaters, vintage beat up adidas, and blue track pants. “When I tell my mom I love her clothes, she takes pride in them and tells me the story behind them, whether it used to be my sisters or belonged to her during her early residency in America. These stories live within the embroidered stitches of every piece of clothing passed down through generation.” Judy says. It is now the girls’ turn to weave their own story into the fashion adopted from their mother and from each other.

Fashion is a flowing river of change, shifting its course from generation to generation. It is evident that these trends have not only repeated through eras, but have become almost timeless in their own way. The constant reinvention of every vintage trend, through family culture, is what has really made an impact on fashion today.