What Does Burberry Mean to You?

For me, it reminds me of my grandparents. It conjures memories of the lining of my grandmother’s raincoat, of the blouse she wore for Christmas dinner, and of my grandfather’s classic cashmere scarf, straight from London.

Flashback to London, May of 1994. My grandmother and mother are in London for a week-long girls trip. Between going to tea at the Savoy to traipsing through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, my mom and grandma are soaking up everything that the city has to offer. One day, they decide to go to Harrods - the crown jewel of London’s department stores! After all, what’s a trip to London without stopping at one of the world’s largest and most famous department stores? Turning on to Brompton Road, they spot their destination. I mean, how could you miss it? Excitedly hurrying inside, they wander through the hundreds of departments, stopping to admire beautiful silk dresses and luxurious perfumes. Suddenly, something catches my mom’s eye across the room. Her eyes meet the Men’s Burberry Department, filled to the brim with their infamous plaid print. She thinks of her dad back home in Syracuse, New York. While warmer there now, she was all too familiar with the numerous snowstorms and harsh weather that the city received each winter. She knew she wanted to bring her dad something special. Her eyes scan the Burberry section again. What a classic print. Something that would never go out of style. My mom and grandmother head over to browse the department, sifting through button-down shirts, ties, and coats. Then, she spots it. A tan perfectly folded cashmere checkered scarf. She picks it up, feeling the soft fabric against her skin. Her fingers find the price tag, and she flips it over, doing a double-take from the numbers she sees on the back. Should I do it? He would really like it. She thought about all of the cold Syracuse winters she’d experienced in her twenty-six years of life and pulled the scarf to her chest. My grandma gave her a knowing look. He’s going to love it.

Even though it’s a men’s scarf, so many people in my family have enjoyed it. It started as a special gift from the London trip, as my mom wanted to surprise her dad with something classic. Even though it was something he might not normally buy for himself, she knew it was classy and would never go out of style. He loved the gift and wore it on the coldest winter days. His youngest daughter also wore it from time to time, as did my Grandmother.

Flash forward to June of 2020. It’s a scalding hot day. The day of my grandfather’s funeral. My extended family is gathered at my grandparent’s house, going through some of my grandfather’s favorite items. And there was the scarf, folded gently in a pile on the kitchen table, waiting to be given back to my mom to keep her warm and be passed down for generations to come.