I get told often that I have an old soul – that I appreciate things and values from times past. Not only do I find this to be a massive compliment, but also a gift. Nothing brings me joy quite like listening to the stories of powerful women that came before me or are living beside me now.
I’ve always believed that western fashion is timeless – it consists of pieces that can be cherished from generation to generation with as much character as when it was pulled from the box for the first time. I want to bring back the honor of clothes that mean more than a handful of likes on Instagram. I want to see the traditions of our treasures inspire like they have in the past. I want to bring honor to the women from every generation, to remind them they haven’t been forgotten and they still have the power to change the world through their personal expression.
So to kick off this series, I had to start with one of my biggest inspirations in fashion and life – my grandma, Ruth. Ever since I was young, I always admired her. She has timeless style and wears grace as her primary accessory. While I admired her when I was little, my admiration only grew as I got older, especially when my interest turned to western fashion.
When I got serious about fashion blogging and doing regular photoshoots, she was kind enough to pack up bag after bag of turquoise jewelry for me to borrow. I see so much of myself in her and want to show her off to the world not only for her style, but her heart.
I recently decided to take a trip to my dad’s hometown of West Union, Iowa to spend an afternoon with my grandparents and explore their treasures kept in the home they’ve lived in for 51 years. A huge part of my admiration for my grandma comes from her marriage to my grandpa Bob. They’re celebrating 71 years (yes, that’s right!) of marriage this year and have so many stories of their time together.
I adore their banter back and forth – they’re still saucy, full of wit and definitely still in love. If there’s such thing as relationship goals, they are the ultimate for me. I’d also like to add that she dressed him for the occasion of getting his picture taken. He thought she did a pretty good job.
Grandma has been collecting turquoise and other western treasures for decades, whether or not Grandpa knows about every purchase. One of her favorite places to pick up new pieces for her collection is in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She had a favorite maker there who she visited often for new treasures. She and Grandpa went to the Cheyenne Frontier Days almost every year for over a decade.
Upstairs in Grandpa’s room, he has what he likes to call “the Museum” – also known as his collection of ticket stubs from each rodeo performance they attended together. This find was made even cooler for me since I just attended my first Cheyenne Frontier Days last summer, which quickly became one of my favorite events of the year.
In the same room where “the museum” is displayed, is a painting of one of my grandpa’s favorite horses. They named him Troubles because he was a difficult foal – they almost lost him during his first winter, but Grandma saved him by warming up some milk and nursing him back to health. He ended up being so loved that his picture earned a spot above Grandpa’s bed.
While we’re talking about Grandpa’s treasures, I think it’s only fair to acknowledge his great taste in cowboy boots. While he’s given many away in the past few years, he’s held on to a few favorites that have their permanent spot in his closet. They’re pretty snazzy, so I assume these are date night boots, exclusively.
One room over from where Grandpa keeps his treasures, Grandma is pulling out boxes of jewelry to show me. She has shoe boxes stacked by the dresser, each full of pieces she’s collected. She keeps herself adorned with jewelry on every finger, on both wrists and her neck as well. I definitely see where I got my love of accessorizing from.
While she showed me some of her favorites, I noticed a beautiful picture on her dresser. I asked if it was her – it was. This picture was taken in 1946, before she was headed to a school dance. The locket and flower she’s wearing were gifts from my grandpa, who was her date.
Finally, we got to my favorite piece she owns – and hers too – her prized squash blossom. Of all the pieces she’s collected through the years, she never took the plunge and bought a squash blossom necklace, even though she’d always wanted one. I was lucky enough to be there the day she found “the one” – during a girl’s shopping day in Cedar Falls. She saw it on the owner of the store and bought it right off her neck. She wears it like a crown and I couldn’t love seeing her wear it any more than I already do.
I was just floored to see that it not only has its own special place in the house, but is stored in a vintage Dior box. I can’t think of anything more fitting. A classic piece is always classic, whether its a designer staple or a one-of-a-kind art piece. The same theory rings true for women with genuine souls – while they may grow older, they only get more cherished with time and character.