The One Antique Clothing Item That Should Be in Every Holiday Suitcase...
...I'm not going to keep the suspense going, as you might have a plane to catch - so here goes: it's the classic white cotton slip. Romantic and timeless, an antique cotton slip is a holiday suitcase essential if heading out for a warm climate. Here is a few reasons why:
1) Truly organic - you've heard me say it before, and I'll continue to say it: antique cotton is unlike anything we get to experience today. If you're lucky to be within reach of antique linens, one touch is all you need to recognise the difference with a contemporary fabric. Ideal for sensitive skin, antique cotton is also thermo-regulating and will keep you cool in the hottest temperatures.
2. Helping the planet - from a sustainability point of view, unlike its antique counterparts any cotton produced today relies heavily on heavy toxic pesticide use, demanding water needs and can involve poor pay conditions for farmers and the overall effect of agrochemicals - all of which has earned it the title of world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop. By purchasing antique, you acquire an outstanding cotton piece yet you bypass contemporary production completely and don't add to the problem. Win-win.
3) Hand-made beauties - the vast majority of antique cotton slips would have been lovingly hand-made and/or hand-embroidered by their owners, sometimes as a 'corredo' or dowry set for their wedding day - they were often monogrammed and sometimes even numbered for this purpose. The quality of making something by hand with care and intent will always outshine items made cheaply and quickly on a factory floor. Again, when you hold one of these pieces and look at the work that has gone into them, you can instantly tell the difference.
4) Versatility - a cotton slip can be your best friend not only for its heat-defying characteristics (and yes, wearing white in the sun does help! As a Southern Italian I can absolutely confirm that.) but also for its versatility. With their floral and geometric embroideries, fine lace and adorable straps, antique slips can of course be used to sleep in on hot summer nights, but they truly shine as sun dresses, worn nonchalantly over swimsuits as beach cover up with simply the addition of sandals or espadrilles. And at night you can add a belt if you'd like a more cinched in look, swap sandals for higher heels...et voilà! Of course you already know that white makes your tan look even deeper, right? So go show it off!
5) Travel companions - 3-in-1 versatile as we have seen and also light as a feather, cotton slips are your best friend at check in as they won't weigh on your luggage. Remember to roll up the slips rather than fold them to avoid any creasing (if you do have creasing on arrival and there's no iron available, simply hang them in a bathroom while you take a shower - the steam will help iron those out!) Washing them is also a doddle - simply dry flat and they'll be as good as new.
I hope you've enjoyed this little run through the many joys of antique slips. If you'd like to explore some up close and perhaps add one of these beauties to your collection, I have a small selection of antique slips in the shop right now - from lace-trimmed 1920s A-line slips and antique French monogrammed beauties, to ribbons and broderie slips to romantic floral embroideries...fits range from XS to XL. I hope you'll enjoy them!