Express & Star

Treasure chest of vintage dresses forges link with the past for great niece

The Burch family found a hoard of clothes from the 40s and 50s that perfectly fit their teenager daughter.

Isabelle Burch trying on one of the outfits found in a 'treasure chest' full of vintage clothes belonging to her deceased great aunt, Margaret Burch (left)

A couple found a “treasure chest” of vintage clothes belonging to a deceased aunt which perfectly fit their daughter who bears a striking resemblance to her late relative.

Angela Boyd Burch and her husband were clearing out a family property in their home town of Eastman, Georgia in the United States when they came across several boxes stored in a corner of the attic.

Inside were dresses, blouses and shorts dating back more than 70 years.

Isabelle Burch trying on some of her late aunt’s outfits (Family handout/PA)

She said: “I knew I had stumbled on to something special. It’s a real treasure chest.

“I was completely in awe and so excited. I knew I was holding history in my hands.

“When I started opening all of the boxes it was like stepping back in time.”

The retired teacher cleaned the vintage clothes, which mostly belonged to her husband Edward Burch’s late aunt Margaret Burch Harton, then asked her daughter Isabelle, 16, to try them on.

Mrs Burch, 52, said: “I just had a feeling that if I could get her into these clothes she would see the potential that I saw.

“When she put on the yellow and orange dress, I could see her eyes light up – she kept the dress.

“After seeing her dad’s reaction to her in one of the vintage lace dresses I managed to restore, I knew seeing her in these items was special to him.

“It was like bringing a part of his aunt back for him.”

Mr Burch, 61, a technician, whose aunt died in a car accident in 1986, described seeing his daughter in the vintage clothes as “truly a living heritage” which extended beyond memories of his late relative.

He said: “Even though a majority of these clothes belonged to my aunt, I look at our daughter in them and feel like I get a glimpse of what my mother would have looked like when she was young.

“I know that all three women – my mother, my aunt, and my sister – would be happy to see her modelling all of these clothes.”

Isabelle Burch’s father said she bore a resemblance to her aunt (Family handout/PA)

High school student Isabelle said: “It’s so special to me that I get the opportunity to feel like my great aunt Margaret is living through me in a way.

“Although I never got to meet her, by seeing her clothing I am able to better understand her life and legacy.”

Since her discovery, Mrs Burch has joined a vintage finds group on Facebook, posting photographs of Isabelle in the clothing which have gained more than 20,000 likes.

Isabelle said the items have attracted attention when she wore them outside the house: “Every time I wear them I always get tons of compliments because they are definitely unique pieces that not everyone has.

“For me, the dresses really give me a glimpse into a completely different time in the world.

“Just by seeing and wearing the articles of clothing from the 40s and 50s, I feel like I’ve been transported into that time which is very special to me.”

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