June 27, 2022 3:29 pm

Woman Tries on Grandmother’s Honeymoon Clothes from 1952 — and They Fit ‘Like a Glove’

A 27-year-old South Philadelphia woman went viral on TikTok after trying on her grandmother’s honeymoon clothes, which had been tucked away in a suitcase since 1952. But she says the experience means “more than just clothing.”

Madeline Bill tells PEOPLE that growing up, she always knew about her 91-year-old grandmother Marie D’Alesandro Donato’s capsule wardrobe — “a far-out-of-sight kind of thing.”

When her mother passed down the family heirloom to her, Taos Sneakers  Madeline instantly thought that showing off the clothes “would be a really cool TikTok,” but she assumed it would be something only “a few friends would see.”

Once the post — which now has 6.6 million views — began taking off, her sister suggested she start trying the clothes on. Then those videos went viral too, and strangers began calling her grandmother a “style icon.”

TikToker Madeline Bill Tries on Grandmother’s Honeymoon Clothes from 1952 -- And They Fit ‘Like a Glove’
TikToker Madeline Bill Tries on Grandmother’s Honeymoon Clothes from 1952 -- And They Fit ‘Like a Glove’
Left: Madeline Bill | CREDIT: MADELINE BILL
Right: Madeline Bill | CREDIT: MADELINE BILL

When Madeline first went to try on her grandmother’s clothes — which include blouses, dresses and some fabulous accessories — she was taken aback that they “fit perfectly.”

One outfit that made her particularly emotional to wear was a black halter dress with a matching cardigan, which she grew up seeing in a photograph that her grandparents kept in their living room.

For Madeline, who works as a social media strategist,NOBULL Shoes Canada  the fact that the clothes fit her “like a glove” felt “really symbolic.”

“Ever since I was little, she’s just been someone that I’ve idolized,” she says of her grandmother. “She’s 91 now and I’m just happy that I’ve been able to share her story with everyone.”

TikToker Madeline Bill Tries on Grandmother’s Honeymoon Clothes from 1952 -- And They Fit ‘Like a Glove’
Marie D’Alesandro Donato on her wedding day
| CREDIT: MADELINE BILL

Madeline says style has always been important to her grandmother. Although Marie and her family didn’t grow up with much money, they “took a lot of pride in the things they wore.”

She met her husband out dancing right after he came back from WWII — and after a year of playing hard to get, her sister finally persuaded her to “give him a try.”

The rest is history. They got married in 1952, and then traveled to New York City on their honeymoon, where they stayed at The New Yorker Hotel.

TikToker Madeline Bill Tries on Grandmother’s Honeymoon Clothes from 1952 -- And They Fit ‘Like a Glove’
Marie D’Alesandro Donato and husband on their honeymoon
| CREDIT: MADELINE BILL

When it came time to let her grandmother in on the big surprise, things got emotional.

“She was so surprised and teary-eyed,” Madeline says of her grandmother. “I’m her little girl and now I’m a grown up, the same age, a little older actually from the age she was when she wore them.”

“Those outfits symbolized something way bigger than clothes,” she adds.

Madeline’s grandmother Marie, who turns 92 in August, tells PEOPLE that the entire experience has been “very special.”

“Seventy years later and I still remember that rainy honeymoon in New York City with my honey. We didn’t care that it rained, we were just excited to be together Oofos Canada and for the future ahead,” she says. “That time in my life was very special and to have my granddaughter bring it to light 70 years later is really remarkable.”

Madeline recalls that a striped dress brought back particularly happy memories for her grandmother.

“She said, ‘I wished I was young again and could do it all over,’ ” Madeline shares.

TikToker Madeline Bill Tries on Grandmother’s Honeymoon Clothes from 1952 -- And They Fit ‘Like a Glove’
Madeline Bill and Marie D’Alesandro Donato
| CREDIT: MADELINE BILL

The social media specialist says it’s been really special to see how many people have been touched by her videos — including her late grandfather’s sister.

“It brought her to tears that her brother’s memory was out there,” she adds.

Although Madeline has been wearing some of her grandmother’s blouses out on special occasions — “I always feel pretty good in them,” she says — for the most part, she plans on tucking the clothes away again.

“I want to save them,” she says, “for maybe future kids in my life.”

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