by Dina Lobo
In this bi-weekly column, I will be exploring and reinventing some clothes I stole from my mom’s closet. A closet that is full of stories, experiences, and memories from around the world (even some she has never worn). I’ve been incorporating pieces from my mom’s closet into my own wardrobe for years and only now am I unpacking where these pieces come from. My mom is my top fashion icon and the reason why I feel strongly about self-expression through style. She taught me to look at fashion in an unmaterialistic way and that I didn’t need money or high-end brand names to look a certain way. Our strongest form of communication has always been through fashion so I dedicate this series to her.
My mom bought this two-piece suit in either 1979 or 1980 from Damascus, Syria when she was in her last year of university at the age of 24. Here is the story behind her love for this piece:
“I was downtown at my friends place and I was bored. I thought to go take a stroll at the most famous shopping area in Damascus called Souk Al-Salhiya. It’s a big fashion district. So I went walking and after looking at a couple boutiques I saw this two-piece suit on a mannequin and it caught my eye immediately. I was drawn to it. I loved the colour because I love dark brown and nude colours.”
“I was a student so I didn’t have much money to spend so I asked for the price to see if I could afford it. I won’t say the price, but it was expensive. I didn’t buy it that day because he was about to close the store and I remember I was waiting for my dad to send me some money for rent and food that week, because he would send me some at the end of each month. I decided that I wouldn’t eat or drink and I would save that money to buy that suit. For that time and especially as a student, it was really expensive, but my heart was set on it even if I couldn’t afford it. I told my friend that what I had saved isn’t enough for it and I was sad because I needed a little more. She offered to loan me some money and told me I could pay her back next month. I didn’t ask her to, she was my best friend though. I ended up buying it and I love it so much.”
“The first picture I took with it, I made sure to get my hair done and I went to a professional photographer, it was for my graduation. I wore it a lot that year actually. I wore it to university, I wore it to visit my friends, and it was the outfit I wanted to graduate with.”
“I love the colour, I feel it fits my personality. It’s a calm and comforting colour. I also love the shape of it. I was short and skinny and it fit my body right. It made me feel elegant. I felt like I’m a queen in that suit.”
How I wear it now: I like to honour this set by wearing it together as it was intended, but sometimes I wear the skirt and blazer separately. I tend to wear the blazer with denim pants and a white button down for a casual look. The skirt is harder to downgrade into a casual look so I keep it simple with a black t-shirt or a black turtleneck.
pictures by Brandon Young