Closet Stories: Yuka Yoneda’s Family Heirlooms

EcoSalon: Closet Stories: Yuka Yoneda

Clossette’s Yuka Yoneda revamps vintage treasures for a living, but her favorite closet pieces are two family heirlooms that are perfect just as they are.

As Senior Editor of Inhabitat and Founder of style blog and revamped vintage fashion shop Clossette, Yuka Yoneda is a whirlwind of creativity. In the DIY section of Clossette she will teach you, among other things, how to turn your boyfriend’s T-shirt into a cute tank top, how to turn a sad-looking pillow into a summery top and, my personal favorite, how to make a Chanel scarf into a silk tank. Some things take some serious guts to put the scissors too, but luckily courage is not something that Yuka lacks in the fashion department. While, for work, she finds vintage treasures and remakes them, her favorite wardrobe pieces are two family heirlooms that are perfect just as they are.

EcoSalon: Closet Stories: Yuka Yoneda

“The first is a gold zodiac Tiffany medallion from the 70s that belonged to my dad,” says Yoneda. “It has a Libra sign on it (both of us are October babies) and the fact that he owned such a pimp piece makes me imagine that he was some kind of ladies’ man before he became a dad. I actually have a stack of photos of him surrounded by pretty girls with feathered hair and bell bottoms, which further leads me to believe that this hypothesis is true.”

She continues: “My dad isn’t around anymore but when I wear this medallion, it reminds me of my favorite memories of him, which ironically, aren’t very stylish at all. In fact, one of them is how we used to mix together SlimFast shakes (I was a more-than-just-chubby child and he had a middle age belly), chug them and then go get fast food, which, as you know, totally defeats the purpose of a meal replacement drink. A friend of a friend recently saw the medallion and it turns out her dad has the same one, though it’s a different sign. I wonder how many of our dads rocked a necklace like this one way back when!”

EcoSalon: Closet Stories: Yuka Yoneda
Yuka Yoneda wearing her dad’s medallion in one of her daily look posts for Clossette.

Inheriting something from our parents or grandparents not only makes us of think of them every time we wear it, but it also reminds us of the lives they had before we even knew them. Carrying on a legacy through style is a great way to honor our heritage as well as our ancestors, no matter how near or far they may be.

EcoSalon: Closet Stories: Yuka Yoneda

“The second piece is a gold ring that my grandmother gave me from her own collection last summer when I visited her in Japan, says Yoneda. “It’s definitely not a ring for the faint of heart — it’s big, gold and gaudy! — but if you know my style, that’s kind of what I’m all about. All of my girlfriends wear silver or platinum but I might as well be Goldmember from Austin Powers — ‘I luff goooold.’ So when my grandma handed me this ring all wrapped in tissues, I immediately saw it and felt it was made just for me. If I saw it in a jewelry case, I know I would love it more than any of the others there, and the fact that my grandma felt that same way about it so many years ago, despite trends or how styles may have changed, means the world to me.”

Really great pieces have the power to transcend cultures, something Yoneda proves by taking a piece purchased in Japan many decades ago and a piece purchased at Tiffanys in the 70s and seamlessly incorporating both into her NYC-girl closet.

True style never fades.

Johanna Björk

Johanna is a sustainable fashion writer currently based in Ojai, CA. Read her weekly On Trend column to learn what's new in eco fashion.