Nostalgic Style

FDR Armband

Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.


2012, in all its entertaining splendor, also confronted us with tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, devastating floods in Haiti, and the intense eight-day escalation in conflict in the Gaza Strip. Even the most recent season of Downton Abbey seemed preoccupied with death, leaving millions of US fans in mourning, inspiring David Horsey’s February 19th comic below.


Death isn’t the only thing surprising us though, as proven by the many unexpectedly heartwarming stories from grievers around the world. Who would have guessed that turning heartbreak into hashtag could unleash so many intentional acts of kindness, or that 16 year oldMalala Yousufzai’s near death recovery would spawn Pakistan’s commitment to opening schools for poor children in her honor?

 The main connotation we have between mourning and style is the color black, which was first recorded in 1364, when Edward III outfitted his court in it after the death of John II of France. Although fashion rules for grievers are not as time-intensive as they were in the 19th century, there are still ways to express our inner mourning in outward ways. Here are four more modern takes on translating nostalgia into style:


ssense silver cufflink necklace1. Repurposed cufflinks:

Inherited cufflinks don’t have to sit in a jewelry box. Take inspiration from Maison Martin Margiela and turn them into a necklace, either for yourself or for a sister or cousin. Etsy also hosts a variety of vintage cufflinks-turned-earrings (and check out Sociology of Style’s novelty cufflink picks).

mom tatoo2. The signature tattoo:
Although the “mom” tattoo is one of the most iconic American tributes, a memorial tattoo doesn’t have to involve chubby red hearts or wings. Now there are whole sections of sites devoted to memorial tattoos, and one classy option is to get the signature of the loved one in an inconspicuous spot, like feet tattoos in honor of those that keep us grounded.
shirt quilt3. T-shirt quilts:

Memory quilts became a heartwarming way for pioneers to preserve family history in the mid-1800’s, and they still have the potential to cheer us up in the midst of loss. The blog lil blue boo offers a helpful tutorial for how to turn grandpa’s tucked-away t-shirts into an everyday luxury.

braclet4. The updated armband:

FDR wore an armband (pictured at top) — though it’s debated whether he wore it to mourn his mother’s death or the lives lost in Pearl Harbor, and athletes have done the same since 1909 when baseball lost its National League president, Harry Pullman. If not in the oval office or on the field, one of Janine Payer’s delicate cuffs — each engraved with an inspiring quote or poem — can easily serve as the updated arm memento and a meaningful tribute.