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The Story of Bomē

Bomē — pronounced like ‘homie’ is what my family called my great, great grandmother who was born in the late 1800s. I’ve only seen a picture of her once which was also the first time I heard about her.  

As the story goes, I was visiting my grandparents for the weekend and was in my bedroom catching up with my grandmother, Mimi. She is elegance, femininity and strength, and my admiration for her has been present since I was a child and only grown as I search for my own sort of grace. She was telling me about her mother, Alene, who’s name coined my middle.

Alene was an impeccable seamstress. Mimi would go to school and sketch designs in class and present the ideas to Alene when she got home. She would go into her drawers and pick out the fabric she wanted the garment to be made of. By the time she came home from school the next day, the garment was ready for her to try. Her craftsmanship, attention to detail (and patience, I can only imagine) are beyond any I’ve seen. Especially for someone who had plenty of obligations to fill her day and only sewed when she found the time. But passion is perfection.

The majority of Mimi’s clothes were made by her mother. Mimi designed every detail of her own wedding dress and Alene sewed every stitch down to the last satin button.

My grandmother no longer has her wedding dress, a decision both she and I hated to admit. Though some 63 years later, she still has her most invaluable treasure, her husband and my grandfather. She still has a few pieces of Alene’s collection though, folded neatly in a drawer, no detail lost with time.

So it was in this room as my grandmother told me stories of my great grandmother, Alene, that we began looking at pictures. I saw one photograph on the dresser that I didn’t recognize and that’s when she told me about Bomē. She was my great, great grandmother who lived in Illinois, a good distance away from her family in Texas. My grandfather only met his grandma Bomē twice in his life as the Great Depression didn’t make it feasible to whisk away by train. The one time he did though, it was a special trip for just he and his mother where on the train on their way to see Bomē, they were surrounded by U.S. soldiers in transit to and from the second World War.

I hold that weekend dear in my heart because it was where I realized how much I still don’t know about my family and how many questions I still have to ask. It was that weekend my grandmother mentioned in passing that’d she’d always thought about being a clothing designer but just never got around to it. In mentioning this, she had no idea I was working on a design project of my own.

So born is Bomē and the Button Skirt. Born is new life to old stories and side projects. Alive is the passion for timeless, classic style that has been strung through the women in my family as far back as any of us can remember.