Style For The Next Generation: Modern Heirlooms

We’ve all heard of the concept and perhaps some of us are lucky enough to own some heirloom pieces – usually jewelry, sometimes a fur, or maybe a designer handbag or scarf. However, these items tend to be fairly traditional or even dated – classic doesn’t always mean it will last forever. That said, personal style will continue to be your hallmark, so consider whether or not something can become a “modern heirloom” before you invest in a noteworthy piece. Here are some tips when looking for modern heirlooms.

Leather Lasts. Leather jackets, belts, shoes, and other accessories tend to last longer than their synthetic counterparts (sorry vegans and vegetarians, but it’s true!); plus there is something luxurious about a real leather piece that just can’t be replicated. Also, this is where you may want to go for something edgier or with a more unusual cut, like this leather vest/cape by Gareth Pugh that will always be interesting, never dated.

All Cashmere Everything. Properly cared for (and stored) cashmere and wool will keep you warm forever, so a luscious shawl, sweater, or even a coat or cape will be cherished for years to come. Go with your favorite or most flattering color and keep the detailing to a minimum if you want the style to last, like this soft blue Loro Piana cashmere scarf.


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Statement Jewelry. We’re not talking about bubble necklaces from J.Crew or whatever costume jewelry Baublebar is currently featuring (not to knock those items – costume jewelry most definitely has its time and place!), but rather jewelry made from real precious metals and gems that has some personality or uniqueness to it, like this amazing Panthère de Cartier necklace made from yellow gold, onyx and mandarin and tsavorite garnets.

Silk Scarves. These have become a classic for a reason, particularly ones by major design houses like Chanel, Ferragamo, and of course the holy grail, Hermes. And they can be worn in so many different ways! This navy, turquoise, and gold Au Pays des Oiseaux Fleurs Hermes is an intricately detailed piece of wearable art that can be worn a variety of different ways – or even framed if the future owner isn’t exactly a Hermes type of girl.

Iconic Bags. The Hermes Birkin and Kelly, the Chanel Flap, the Dior Lady bag, the Louis Vuitton Speedy, the Gucci Jackie, and others all have become classics for a reason; moreover, it’s highly unlikely that anyone regardless of their age will turn one of these away. However, newer but just as memorable bags like this deep royal blue Balenciaga Motorcycle bag, a Fendi Baguette, or a Bottega Veneta Intrecciato are a way to update the tradition with something that’s at once timeless and contemporary.

Cosmetic Keepsakes. Perfume bottles, compacts, and lipstick cases are some of the most feminine and coveted vintage accessories around, and besides, who isn’t a sucker for some beautiful packaging like this Estee Lauder limited edition “Shining Stars” powder compact?

Listen To The Music. Band and concert tees have a swagger all their own, and they tend to capture the spirit of the era they are from – don’t ever get rid of your own concert souvenirs, because the next generation will certainly covet them. Think about how many people buy replicas now – don’t you want to pass on the real thing? If you don’t have your own, check out Etsy and eBay for authentic vintage tees.

What heirloom pieces do you own, and what do you have that would be considered a modern heirloom? Or what are you considering purchasing that could become one? After all, “I’ll pass it down to my daughter/niece/goddaughter some day” might be the ultimate justification for a splurge, since the cost-per-wear becomes negligible over the generations. Besides, think of the memories that the piece will carry!

Pictured Above:

Gareth Pugh Leather Cape Vest, $2,350

Loro Piana Sciarpa Grande Cashmere Scarf, $450.00

Panthère de Cartier Necklace, $28,500

Hermes Au Pays des Oiseaux Fleurs Hermes silk twill scarf, $395

Balenciaga Metallic Edge Nickel City Bag, Royal Blue, $2,125

Estee Lauder Limited Edition Shining Stars Powder Compact, $250.

–Jacqueline Zenn

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