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Watch out! She's on a tear again

The other day my mother made an announcement. The denim pants (I can't call them jeans) she wears to "putter around the house" and has washed a zillion times finally had a rip in them.

"I bet they're worth a fortune now," she said to my daughter, who, at hearing this, lifted her eyes from the pages of People magazine.

"How much did you pay for those torn shorts?" my mother asked us, referring to the denim shorts my daughter wears that, yes, came with that well-worn look.

"I don't exactly remember," I answered, feeling sandwiched in by the two "shabby chic" females in my life.
The difference, of course, is that my mother wouldn't dream of stepping outside her door to even quickly retrieve the mail in her recently ripped pants.

My daughter wears her shorts anywhere she can get away with it.

This is not the first time my mother has turned from grandmother to fashion critic. The "clunky" sneakers my daughter – and other kids – wore back in elementary school baffled her.

"They want the kids to wear sneakers," I told her.

"What happened to white canvas?" she would reply.

And those sneakers with blinking lights favored by the preschool set? Don't even get her started on those.

Indeed, we would see little girls dressed in darling play dresses and matching leggings and socks, and sneakers that flashed like fireflies when they ran around.

But all this talk about ripped jeans got me thinking about the things that often do grow better with age, especially when allowed to do so naturally.

And especially when they are of high quality to begin with – such as good leather and denim .

Other things? Fisherman-knit sweaters. Polo shirts. Sterling silver. Bed sheets and blankets. Copper. Garden statuary. Terry cloth bathrobes. Summer flip-flops. Shade trees.

"So how much do you think my ripped jeans are worth?" my mother jokingly asked again.
"A small fortune," I replied.

Because, as I always tell her, she is one in a million.


Speaking of clothes best suited for gardening, note that Saturday is the start of the third annual, five-week National Garden Festival.

It includes garden tours throughout the area (including two this weekend), garden-themed bus tours, seminars, speakers, an Open Gardens schedule that allows you to visit designated gardens on Thursdays and Fridays, a front-yard garden contest on Crowley Avenue and more.

Learn more at And keep an eye on Garden Notes in the Friday Home & Style section, beginning today.