#whatiwore 2019w36 + Sunday links

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Orden a Tres podcast

The Orden a Tres podcast is on holiday this week, so use this opportunity to catch up with all episodes you haven’t listened to yet. As you know, on PodBean, Spotify, Stitcher, or iTunes.

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And here comes your bowl of brain porridge:

1. I’m really not sure how I feel about this… Made on the Inside, Worn on the Outside: ‘Brands are using prison labor to provide inmates with jobs and training. But is it possible — and ethical — to build a profitable fashion business behind bars?’

2. On the secret life of fabric scraps: Why are fashion supply chains so wasteful? ‘Consumer textile waste may be the larger problem, but the pre-consumer supply chain has its own wasteful practices built in to the way garments are designed and produced.’

3. I’ve seen so many love letters to Phoebe Philo that I assume I’m just not getting something… but this one alos has birks and how men’s toes became showable: How Philo Made Me Love Sandals.

4. A very soft intro to Montessori education: Can a Playroom Makeover Make My Kids Over? ‘Simone Davies, a teacher and author, helped make over my kids’ playroom using Montessori educational principles like creating a sense of peace and instilling autonomy in children.’

5. Many things come down to fragile masculinities, as we all recently learnt that a common reason for not recycling among men is that it’s not masculine/hetero enough, this, (in Spanish) ¿Es el zero waste cosa de mujeres? and (on online fashion communities) Why Are Fit Pics Headless?

6. I’m not sure if I buy the argument completely, but it is an interesting research question… Traditional Dresses as Resistance: ‘Rarámuri women in Chihuahua, Mexico, have made an indigenous style of dress a means of fighting assimilation.’

7. And the oh-so-common-but-still-very-valid observation that perceptions of the same stories, characters, and style change with time: Ripley Revisited. Bear in mind that the aesthetics of Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) is apparently sacred to many millennial menswear enthusiasts. It is a beautiful movie, though.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Fix it! Liisa bag and swap t-shirt. About the minion bag that became owl bag… and the little t-shirt that very recently became knickers!

What I was writing about two years ago: September swap + my outgoing pieces. That was a fun swap, many of those garments had been torturing me for years, being just there between ‘I can make this work’ and ‘ugh, but do I really want to?’ Out! was the correct answer.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w36 + Sunday links. Also this week: birks and Veja Wata Pierre, c’est ça!

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w36. Still wore this week: Kristīne’s stripe skirt, Veja Arcade sneakers, and my mom’s gingham dress.

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Are you ready for the ‘new year’? Are you – like me – an adult that never gave up thinking in academic years and making plans/resolutions for September-May? What are you starting anew this September?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w35 + Sunday links

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Orden a Tres podcast

Your favorite podcast combining KonMari method™ and Spanish is still here, this week chatting about the kitchen komono: Ep 7. Más komono: Komono de cocina. You can also listen us on Spotify, Stitcher, and – finally! – iTunes.

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Here, feed the brain! The new schoolyear is almost here, so have an extra portion of what this blog is all about:

1. The walk of shame is nothing when you have the CO2 calculator for your air travel… Apparently, all my ‘lifestyle’ stuff gets me the rough equivalent of two round trips to Rīga per year. And, of course, the ‘this buys me’ logic is a fallacy as we have no rights to those emissions to begin with. Ouch.

2. As for interesting pieces on fashion production, covering the range from best practices to ‘ugh, really?’:

(a) a very reasonable 4 things brands should do for the environment instead of launching a new sustainable line;
(b) from the best practice shelf comes Inside the Denim Factory Your Favorite Sustainable Brands Use Loyally;
(c) How Ethical are Haute Couture Brands? The short answer: ‘not at all, unless stated otherwise’;
(d) the feminist reminder The Impact of Fast Fashion on Women in Developing Nations;
(e) and the horror reminder: Report: Levi’s, Wrangler, Lee seamstresses harassed, abused. Again, unless you know it is different, assume that these are the conditions that all (fast) fashion is made.

3. On why discourse and greenwashing is not the same as reality:

(a) H&M, Zara, and other fashion brands are tricking shoppers with vague sustainability claims;
(b) The Problem with “Sustainability”? It Doesn’t Really Mean Anything;
(c) Fast Fashion’s “Sustainability” Endeavors Need to Be About More than Fabrics, Recycling;
(d) And – finally! – sb on the absurdity of ‘sustainable’ influencer economy: Why I’m No Longer Accepting Free Clothes or Paid Collabs.

4. The climate breakdown is stil ON:

(a) It’s raining plastic: Microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky Mountains;
(b) (in Spanish) Los piroplásticos: una nueva forma de contaminación por plástico;
(c) Ash to Ashes: Thanks to shocking failures of government, every tree, almost everywhere, is now threatened by killer plagues.

5. And our food choices are part of that problem America’s Obsession With Beef Is Killing Leather (that one is very weirdly written, though) and
Spectre at the Feast: The livestock industry is trashing the living world, and free-range, pasture-fed meat is the worst offender.

6. At the same time, Lady Gaga, Tyra Banks and the Disneyfication of Fashion: ‘Welcome to the Disneyfication of style: the convergence of entertainment, consumption and experience in a single, sensation-filled high/low extravaganza. Everyone has been on something of a roller coaster lately, after all. This just makes it official.’

7. And for at least some fun and symbolic value of fashion, At the U.S. Open, It’s What You Wear (keep an open search tab to look up the outfits mentioned, that will enhance your reader experience) and Serena Williams Won’t Be Silenced; Her Clothes Are Doing the Talking.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Swap masterpost, or all the resources so far. In preparation for the September 14th swap, there you have all the key steps to prep for the best swap!

What I was writing about two years ago: #100wears: The Red Denim Jacket launching the #100wears series.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w35 + Sunday links. Also this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress, Veja Wata Pierre, my mom’s gingham dress, the beige #memade midi skirt, and birks, of course.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w35 + Sunday links. Still wore this week: my mom’s little lace blouse, my mom’s gingham dress, pearl earrings, my mom’s dark blue silk dress…

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How do you balance all the overwhelmingly hopeless news with some basic drive to go on living? And adorning that with some frivolous fashion? We are a long way from a jute sack uniform… or are we?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

A week of waste, an assessment

Waste assessment is a basic first step for the zeroish-waste curious. This can be done by looking at the garbage in detail or looking at the incoming stuff. I’ve recorded all incoming items for our 2-adult household and the volume of outgoing garbage. It’s not pretty, brace yourself, and show me your numbers afterwards!

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Monday, August 19

IN

Lentils + glass jar + aluminum lid.
White beans + glass jar + aluminum lid.
Pickles + 2 glass jars + 2 aluminum lids.
Artichokes + 2 glass jars + aluminum lids.
Pickled beets + glass jar + aluminum lid.
Pickled sprouts + glass jar + aluminum lid.
Mayonnaise + glass jar + aluminum lid.

Soy milk + tetrabrick + plastic screw top.
Barretxa + 4 plastic baggies.
Cheese + plastic wrapper.

Cherry tomatoes + 2 plastic wrappers + 2 cardboard trays.
Chocolate + 5 paper wrappers + 5 aluminum foil (wrappers.

8 receipts, still unclear how much BPA-laden are those and if I’m fucking up all my recycling with this.

OUT

1 small compostable bag of organic garbage.
1 empty paper bag.

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Tuesday, August 20

IN

Bread + paper bag. Will be used afterwards to collect our paper trash, though.

OUT

1 small compostable bag of organic garbage.

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Wednesday, August 21

IN

Snickers bar + 2 plastic wrappers.

Nectarines + 2 cardboard trays + 2 plastic wraps + 9 fruit stickers.
Aubergines + 2 cardboard trays + 2 plastic wraps.

Watermelon + 2 plastic wraps.
Pimientos de padrón + plastic baggie.

Loose carrots in my own mesh bag.
Loose cucumbers.

Receipt (14 paper).

OUT

1 small plastic bag (from Sunday’s bread) of organic garbage.
1 plastic bag of plastic/aluminum recycling (in a bag that Marina had used to cushion her last package).
1 paper bag (from last week’s bread) with paper waste.

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Thursday, August 22

IN

Museum ticket.
Restaurant reservation note.
3 receipts.

Watermelon + 2 plastic wraps.
Cream cheese + box + lid.

OUT

1 small compostable bag of organic garbage.

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Friday, August 23

IN

Bread + paper bag.

Beer + 4 cans + 2 plastic bags.

OUT

1 small compostable bag of organic garbage.

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Saturday, August 24

IN

Chickpeas + glass jar + aluminum lid.
Turkey + plastic envelope + cardboard wrapper.

Potato chips + 2 bags.
Smoked salmon + plastic envelope.
Melon + plastic wrap.
Watermelon + plastic wrap.
Pimientos de padrón + 2 plastic baggies.

Mushrooms + 2 plastic trays + 2 plastic wraps.

Loose lemons + 2 fruit stickers.
Loose avocado + fruit sticker.
Loose nectarines + 7 fruit stickers.

Loose potatoes in my mesh bag.
Loose bell peppers.
Loose zucchini.
Loose cucumbers.
Loose lime.
Loose cherry tomatoes.
Loose onions.

Receipt.

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Sunday, August 25

OUT

1 small compostable bag of organic garbage.

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Totals

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Alternatives

As usual with waste, avoiding most of these would require me changing my routines and doing more housewifing. And that, as usual, circles back to the extent I am willing to dedicate more of my time to the pursuit of less waste (I already wrote a rant about this a year ago)… In order of ease of change, these are the ways of reducing our waste:

A) Designate a bread bag and stick to it.

B) Deciding that buying zero waste is more important than ‘we are throwing these out’ discount trays of fruit and veggies (this week: nectarines and aubergines). This is an unfortunate choice I’m not sure about… a classic in the universe of sustainability decision overwhelm.

C) Switching to buying beloved watermelons (and just melons) whole with the risk of buying an overripe and garbage-ready fruit it entails. I already had three of those this year, and really hate that disappointment after paying for and carrying those 5-8kg home.

D) The next step would be choosing my lemons and avocados based on if they have lost their stickers already. Bah! Or changing my fruit vendor. Changing would also be needed for pimientos de padrón and mushrooms. And adding an another shop – after finding one that’s fine with filling my own containers – to our shopping routine for all animal stuff.

E) Then, making legumes at home. We don’t own a pressure cooker, hence stovetop legumes imply several hours of some vigilance, and additional heat and humidity that life in Barcelona does not need. I’m still very unsure if this way of cooking beans is more energy efficient than the industrial ones. But buying cooked legumes leave their jars behind.

F) Mayonnaise. I have never tried to make the proper traditional mayonnaise (as opposed to several vegan options and replacements) but what I know about the care to be put into it does not make it appealing…

G) Soy milk. We tried it once with my grandma but without knowing that it has to be boiled. Internet says that dry soy beans can be used, so this sounds quite plausible although not that attractive. Again, time…

H) Beer. Buying on tap and in growlers is an options…

I) All the pickled stuff, ugh… we have done some very basic pickling, and olives can be easily bought zero waste here. Anything beyond that would rather mean foregoing then starting a wide pickling operation here.

J) As for other forms of preserving produce, only now – after 5 or so years of mild interest in the zeroish waste movement – it dawned on me that I would eat some stuff very rarely or never if they have to be zero wast, namely the veggies I usually get industrially frozen. In my case those would be green peas and edamames. A kilo of green peas in shell cost around 4-6 €/kg here when they are in season. Mostly they are not. Even when you get the fresh ones – and if you are not a green pea monster and are actually able to shell them without eating them all – a tiny bowl of green peas is what you get. And there would be no edamames… or only the very overpriced restaurant edamames that most probably came from the same frozen plastic bag that the ones I buy now. Well, one of my big issues with zero waste has always been the assumption that ‘if I didn’t see/touch it, it’s not my waste’…

K) Industrial shit, like Snickers or Philadelphia cream cheese, are not really an issue. Those happen quite rarely here. As for snacks like barretxa and potato chips… I’d have to explore the zero waste shop in St. Antoni.

L) Chocolate. For all my love for Casa Perris, their chocolate (no wrapper) is very much meh in comparison with our Blanxart favorites. And Blanxart’s supply chain is clearer and more eco. Ugh.

M) The amount of unnoticed paper going around is just annoying, and the Spanish internets do not agree about the recyclability of the receipts. And, as far as the alternative is giving people my email to send me the receipts, I’m not sure what’s worse.

N) And don’t even get me started on fruit stickers. I’m currently doing a little artsy project with them, as to channel my annoyance.

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As for the garbage, it is summer in Barcelona – hot, humid, and full of gnats wishing to make sweet love in our garbage – hence avoidance of the immediate compost is a priority. Public health first. And, no, home composting is not an appealing idea for us. C is outright disgusted by the thought, and I don’t feel strongly enough to try to cajole him. Rigorous separation for the city organic fraction is how far we are ready to go.

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So, I’m not very happy or inspired after this. I feel guilty, but I’m not willing to add more places to go to my shopping list… Also, a curious observation: I am more willing to do zero waste with stuff that lasts more. For example, for the quite occasional Casa Perris or Safareig trips I get all prepared, with a tight list and all corresponding containers. But I am far more relaxed about the plastic wraps that go into the garbage almost immediately. Minds work in curious ways…

Are you doing anything to reduce your waste? What have been the easiest steps? And the hardest? It is painful to understand how a life dedicated to zero(ish) waste would be possible if only we were ready to to actually dedicate much bigger chunks of time to it or restrict our consumption to only the easily available… neither is an attractive option.

#whatiwore 2019w34 + Sunday links

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Orden a Tres podcast

This week’s podcast episode is dedicated to komono, the miscellanea category of KonMari method™: Ep 6. La tercera categoría del método KonMari™: Komono. You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

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And for the English-reading gray cells,

1. Those funny cases when a notion changes its meaning completely: In Defense of the Boot Cut.

2. Probably because I don’t understand the importance of brand dressing, I also do not understand counterfeit economy. But this: 71 Percent of American Gen-Zers are Buying Counterfeits, Compared to 84 Percent of Their Chinese Counterparts. Especially together with this: Shoppers admit to feeling guilty for buying fast fashion. Dear consumers, why are you so weird?

3. And bits from the even more confusing influencer economy: Rampant Influencer Fraud is Costing Brands More than $1 Billion Each Year.

4. Cute but unclear what good this will bring now: England region plans world-first for climate change teaching.

5. There are sneakerheads that exact copies of *very* historical sneakers: Basketball’s First Shoe and the Re-birth of Colchester Rubber Company and Colchester Rubber co. National Treasure 1892 High Top Review. And to add some teenage-typical wear suggestions, Thrashin’: The Case For One Sneaker All Summer Long.

6. In case you’ve been forgetting why ‘made in China’ is often very problematic: Cotton On and Target investigate suppliers after forced labour of Uyghurs exposed in China’s Xinjiang and Schoolchildren in China work overnight to produce Amazon Alexa devices.

7. People writing out loud that summer is not good for being stylish: Take The Heat: Summer Sucks For Clothes and Looking Forward to Fall.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Beyond repair: White zipper blouse and lyocell shorts. The beginning of goodbye posts to garments that are, well, beyond repair.

What I was writing about two years ago: Is Sustainable Fashion a Privileged Affair? Yes, and…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w34 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: birks and Veja Wata Pierre.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w34 + Sunday links. And still wearing: birks, my mom’s lace blouse, the silk maxi.

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Do you agree with those claiming that summer is bad for good style? Or are you a happy summer dresser?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w33 + Sunday links

A detail A: Ha! I need more summer-appropriate tops. As this summer has unexpectedly turned me into a pants-wearing creature (pockets! no chub rub!), my current two summer tops are falling short. I had volunteered for a couple of bar shifts at Festa Major de Gràcia bar at carrer Ciudad Real without realizing that everything I wore for that will reek of spilled beer and need urgent washing. Then I dropped my lunch on the clean one, and ended up borrowing C’s gray stripes for my Saturday shift. So getting another summer top goes on my swap wishlist. If you have the right one for me, bring it along on September 14th!

A detail B: The Barcelona summer is being quite hard for me, so I took advantage of Liisa visiting me between her adventures to do a 4-in-1: (a) fulfill the undershave fantasies I’ve been having for a while, (b) have the therapeutic effect of a hairstyle change, (c) with no hairs sticking to my neck, it is indeed breezier, and (d) I saved quite few euros by having a trusted friend to operate the razor on my balcony. I’m very satisfied.

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Orden a Tres podcast

This week’s Orden a Tres podcast will take you to the tedious but oh-so-satisfactory-afterwards paper category. In Spanish, as always, Ep 5. La tercera categoría del método KonMari™: Papeles. You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

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And to nourish the little gray cells:

1. Marina sent me Brittney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage. To get you in the mood, a couple of quotes below and the following: (a) The Case for Reparations, (b) The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, and (c) the Combahee River Collective and their statement.




2. On the real life problem of bioplastics: (in Spanish) ¿Es la tarjeta de Triodos Bank biodegradable? Again and again, bioplastics biodegrade but do so properly in controlled facilities made exactly for that not in your balcony compost. So here goes advice for reducing your plastic, the usual ones: (in Spanish) ¿Cómo vivir sin plástico? Pasos básicos.

3. Workwear and Gender focusing on Emilie Casiez’s style and citing 1973 NYT’s Androgynous World. As usual, about women appropriating the menswear, not the other way around (except for the honorary mentions of Prince, Hendrix and Bowie). Also, as usual, without mentioning that the capacity for such appropriation depends on the body type. While I’m against the notion of ‘flattering’ and such, the same silhouette Casiez is wearing would look very different on me (and so many other people). Anyways, it’s a menswear blog and the whole point of this is ‘examples of how masculine attire can be worn in a feminine manner […] a treasure trove of menswear inspiration’. Oh, never mind, it’s clearly not my aesthetic anyways…

4. Does Extinction Rebellion Have the Solution to the Climate Crisis? The wrong question, imho, as XR are the only ones being honest and constructive about the climate emergency.

5. Eager for some depressing shit? Here, ‘as I struggled to carve out time in my crowded days for writing, a colleague suggested I read a book about the daily rituals of great artists. But instead of offering me the inspiration I’d hoped for, what struck me most about these creative geniuses – mostly men – was not their schedules and daily routines, but those of the women in their lives. Their wives protected them from interruptions; their housekeepers and maids brought them breakfast and coffee at odd hours; their nannies kept their children out of their hair. Martha Freud not only laid out Sigmund’s clothes every morning, she even put the toothpaste on his toothbrush. Marcel Proust’s housekeeper, Celeste, not only brought him his daily coffee, croissants, newspapers and mail on a silver tray, but was always on hand whenever he wanted to chat, sometimes for hours. Some women are mentioned only for what they put up with, like Karl Marx’s wife – unnamed in the book – who lived in squalor with the surviving three of their six children while he spent his days writing at the British Museum.’

6. More proof that (high) fashion is reckless and untrustworthy? Saint Laurent incident underlines environmental cost of fashion shows.

7. One of the weirdest fraud schemes I’ve heard about: Counterfeit Jeans and the Rise of the $24 Billion Returns Fraud Economy. People are strange…

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What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Vegan Birkenstock Gizeh. Heh, they are now at 240 wears, and refuse to fall apart. Not pretty, though.

What I was writing about two years ago: Capsule wardrobes trans-seasonally and beyond seasonality. That time my reading skills failed me… but brought an interesting idea.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w33 + Sunday links. Also wearing this week: the birks and my mom’s silver bracelet

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w33 + Sunday links. Was wearing also this week: the birks. Although the little denim shorts + little white top formula was the same, those were other garments. Note to self: that clearly is the summer formula!

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What have you been wearing most this summer? Do you have a summer outfit formula? The slight difference between a formula and a uniform being that formula = this type of x + this type of y (little denim shorts and little white top) while uniform = x + y (exactly this top which I have in 5 copies + these shorts which I have 2 of every day of summer).

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w32 + Sunday links

A detail: Giulia left Barcelona for good… 🙁 but I got a pair of hand-me-down denim shorts (and the unexpected knowledge that we fit into the same shorts) among other bits for the September swap. They are already well worn in, repaired and in need of some new patches. I’m up for the job!




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Orden a Tres podcast

This week for your simultaneous KonMari and Spanish lesson, a podcast episode on the second category in the method, books: Ep 4. La segunda categoría del método KonMari™: Libros. You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

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And a spoonful of brainfood, of course:

1. I already shared this, but all of us should read it again: How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation. And this: Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?

2. Yes, exactly as Marie Kondo would tell you, sometimes garments become sentimental items and are not really clothing anymore (and have to be treated accordingly): Cost Per Wear and the Nostalgia Variable.

3. If you haven’t red Laurie Penny, drop everything and do that: her books, her opinion pieces (this one, for example; or this one), interviews with her… She is one of my role models, and those are scarce these days.

4. Ugh, they are watching us and we are not looking good: Retailers Are Judging Consumers by Using Secret “Surveillance Scores,” Per New FTC Complaint and Consumers Will Spend More than $3 Billion on Single-Use Outfits This Summer, Alone. I can’t even…

5. Here, have a beautiful – and truly cool – visual respite: Jazz Style Behind The Scenes: Photographs Of Milt Hinton.

6. A series of articles trying to convince us that keeping sheep and using wool is the best thing ever: (a) Shearing and Welfare: Why are Sheep Sheared? (b) Inside the Shearing Shed with Kinkade Shearing; and (c) Choreography and Skill: How Sheep are Sheared. If you are sitting on the same hedge as I am – liking wool but not the idea of any animal agriculture, hence a Gordian knot alright – it’s always good to learn more about it.

7. Cleaning as therapy, akin to anxiety baking? Or just dealing with grime that keeps accumulating? Well, start by switching to white vinegar: Natural Alternatives for a Greener and Cleaner Home.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Book review: The Art of Discarding by Nagisa Tatsumi. Oh, there is magic in the message ‘you are surrounded by stuff you don’t need and don’t care about, discard it’…

What I was writing about two years ago: The Future of Riga capsule. It’s an ongoing thing, I just revised it again… Despite my unwillingness to have things laying around unused for such long stretches of time, the comfort of not having to pack any clothing for Rīga trips is priceless. So I still have a full capsule for all occasions (including harsh winters, harsh summers, and opera)…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w32 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: birks.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w32 + Sunday links. Nothing! The interim conclusion: my summer wardrobe has been heavily updated (and the corresponding 2017 week was spent in Rīga, so see the Rīga capsule note above).

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Do you have any mini-capsule laying around somewhere, in other countries, in other cities? Gardening clothes in the summer house or your adolescent stuff at your parents’ place? I can’t be the only one…

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w31 + Sunday links

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Orden a Tres podcast

Starting this week, in Orden a Tres we are starting an overview of the all five key categories of possessions in KonMari™ method. So this week it’s all about clothing, selecting – and honing the ‘joy-meter’ – and storing them. We also share the extent to which we ourselves follow all the guidelines of the method. Here you have it: Ep 3. La primera categoría del método KonMari™: Ropa. You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

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And reading matter too for those little gray cells:

1. A bit of American (and current tarrif) issues but still a reasonable explanation of how difficult it gets when one wants to create locally: The retail complexities of ‘Made in America’.

2. Although sponsored content, still one of the fluffy hopeful stories of garment business well done: Soorty is Pioneering Recycled Fabrics and Water-Free Garment Dyeing.

3. My sociologist self is so fascinated by the digital influencer economy… because that stuff is just bizarre: Why Are the Disclosure Rules for Influencers’ Sponsored Content so Different Than They Are for TV Product Placements?

4. And also fascinated by tech billionaires and digital monopolies: Warehouses at LWT and Amazon is Turning 25: Here’s How it Changed the World and What We Can Expect for the Future.

5. And apparently now the weird ‘new green’ trend that media is discovering is the simple fact that we are overwashing our garments, so (a) The Extraordinarily Sexist History of Laundry Detergent Commercials, (b) The next big thing in fashion? Not washing your clothes, (c) Is Stella McCartney right – should we stop washing our clothes? (d) Cleaning our clothes too much is bad for the planet, and (e) 100 days in one dress.

6. And some of that very detailed sartorial knowledge (of top menswear blogs): You Should Wear An Extended Shoulder and Shirt Anatomy 101: Collars, Hems, and All the Parts in Between. Knowledge as power and knowledge as care alright.

7. Plus some sportswear fanboying: The Unassuming Sweatshirt and Before The Bad Boys: Inspiration From Wimbledon In The Early 1970s.

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What I was writing about a year ago: The decision fatigue of sustainable living. The summer in Barcelona certainly is tiring, also for the ideals – and practices – of sustainable living…

What I was writing about two years ago: My take on “formal” and dressing up out of a capsule. trying to tell again and again, to myself and others that there is no need to get new garments for special occasions. True story.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w31 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: my mom’s dark blue dress, the birks, and the Veja Wata Pierre.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w31 + Sunday links. Still wearing this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress and the Street One jacket, although refashioned.

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What do you think of the ‘stop overwashing’ suggestion? Are you overwashing? Is that just a habit to throw everything in the hamper or do you really feel it definitely unfresh after just one wear? I’ve already done my part of this advocacy in 2017 and 2018: Breathe deeply, it’s clean enough and Yes, there are garments that I’ve never washed.

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w30 + Sunday links

How it looked at the moment (thanks, mom!):



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Orden a Tres podcast

In this week’s Orden a Tres episode we follow up on a joke we made in last week’s episode calling KonMari™ method one’s own personal Feng Shui… so we had our first guest ever – certified Feng Shui consultant Mercedes García – explaining how intuitive also Feng Shui can be. Here: Feng Shui flexible con Mercedes García. You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

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And now a bit of summery gazpacho and ice cream for your brain:

1. You might have wondered… How Forecasters Predict Fashion Trends. Yes, much of that is self-fulfilling prophecies.

2. After having read JUNK: Digging Through America’s Love Affair With Stuff, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? story was one that I was most interested in… so here you have NPR How I Built This episode about Brian Scudamore who created the service and Spark Joy podcast episode with Long Island Franchise Partner Brian Heiser. Still only the best impressions about that company.

3. One of those weird stories of fashion appropriation and unintended uses: The History of Timberland: Waterproof Boots and Rap Royalty. And another one: The History of the Tank Top: From Swimming Pools to the Silver Screen and Beyond.

4. #istayontheground (most of the time): (in Spanish) El aumento de las emisiones aéreas alienta un movimiento ‘antivuelos’ and Una hora en avión, dos en tren: la iniciativa ecológica para prohibir los vuelos cortos. And continuing on traffic, all the hilarious ways how car producers try to persuade millenials and gen-z that we need cars (because we have stopped buying them, hah): Urban Jungle. Also, remember who the real enemies are: Snake Oil.

5. The new Academic year is coming, maybe uniform is the right choice for you: These 4 designers wear the same thing every day. Here’s how to copy their look.

6. Ba-na-na-na-na-na-na… Left Field’s Latest Jeans are Literally Bananas, and it is not a crazy innovation. ‘Banana fiber harvested from the pseudostems and leaves of the plant has been used for textiles in Asia since at least the 13th century’, wikipedia dixit.

7. And for some cute menswear trolling, Just to be Safe on ‘zipper entrapped penis injuries’. Happy – and accident free – July to you too!

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What I was writing about a year ago: Liliana’s guest post Me, My Clothes and My Club. Remember to follow her FB page Green Swap Club!

What I was writing about two years ago: How to survive summer heat in Barcelona. Still very relevant. This week, even in Rīga.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w30 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w30 + Sunday links. As this week I’ve been working on these two dresses I’m taming – and, curiously enough, wearing sneakers and not birks – no items coincide between this week and the ones one and two years ago.

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In this summer heat (at least where I am at), are you wearing the same stuff you were wearing last summer or are your wardrobe heroes new-to-you?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w29 + Sunday links

How it looked at the moment (I’ve been vacationing with my mom, hence the paparazzi shots):


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Orden a Tres podcast

With the podcast it took us until the second substantial episode to start talking about what makes KonMari™ stand out among other organizing and mindfulness practices, here: Método KonMari y sus beneficios You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

And here comes the brain food, as always:

1. Just in case you didn’t have enough reasons to drool after Patagonia, have their videos about how great wearing to shreds and fixing your garments are: Patagonia | Worn Wear. This level of love and dedication to garments is what we need, not only to pieces that guarantee your survival in hostile environment, but also the everyday stuff. To get you even more inspired to learn some repair skills: I’m fed up with iPhone feudalism – viva the repair revolution! and Mending hearts: how a ‘repair economy’ creates a kinder, more caring community. And this guy who has the right make-do attitude while blaming Marie Kondo for all the evils: The life-changing magic of making do. For real, you can write about consumerism without blaming her…

2. All those plastic-looking disposables that have a ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ printed on? Yes, read up: What’s your biodegradable coffee cup made of – and how biodegradable is it?

3. A climate change adaptation researcher answering her friends’ questions on the climate emergency: Ask Me Anything. Mostly on USA Pacific area as that is her area of expertise, but very interesting anyways.

4. And a dash of Elizabeth Suzann just to reinforce the idea that clothing can be ethical, comfy and liberating: ES x Motherhood.

5. ‘Consumers feel that luxury brands have not upheld their end of the bargain to justify their premium price with clearly superior quality goods’… hah, color me surprised! YouGov Affluent Survey: “There Used to Be a Huge Gap Between Mass Brands and Luxury Brands”.

6. What to wear when it’s so hot you can’t even imagine wearing anything? (a) Things I’m Excited to Wear This Summer; (b) Warm Weather Collection: Midweight Linen and Silk Crepe, and (c) ough Love, Summer of Workwear. And to make some summer plans that earn you karma points, (in Spanish) Beneficios de limpiar la playa.

7. The politics of fashion: Dolce & Gabbana’s Expanded Sizing “Proves They’re Really about Selling Clothing,” Not Just Leveraging it. Funny how even in principle good news – wider range of people fitting in garments is a good thing, even if those are elitist, ultra-expensive, unethically made clothes – make us doubt the calculations behind them… Ugh, capitalism!

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What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Veja Arcade sneakers. The weird chunky sneakers that didn’t become my favorites but are being worn to shreds anyway. 196 wears and counting.

What I was writing about two years ago: Lessons learnt from the Fashion Revolution MOOC. tl;dr? Pretty useless indeed.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w29 + Sunday links. Also wearing this week: only the birks.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w29 + Sunday links. Repeating this week: still only the birks.

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How is your own ‘worn wear’ revolution going? Any exciting new skills or deep wardrobe finds? What would be the garment-related skill you’d like to acquire most?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

2019 first half money talk, or how expensive an ethical wardrobe is?

Money is the typical contention point of ethical fashion, because price is, of course, fast fashion’s forte. And once we have accepted that 5€ t-shirts are possible, how do you convince people that it has to be 30 at least? The fact that most online pushers of sustainable fashion either make it, distribute it or receive it for free to review it plug it in doesn’t help either. Even more, it is common to tell people to vote with their euros which is so class-biased and so insidious if you stop and think about it…

So to be the change you want to be in the world tell where at least my money goes while following my list of priorities in wardrobe detoxing, here you have
The first half of 2017,
The second half of 2017,
the first half of 2018, and
the second half of 2018.

This post is about last six months, January to June 2019. You have the full list and the total below, followed by more details ordering the purchases from most euros spent to least.

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Overall, I am very pleased with how 2019 is going. The only actual ‘fashion’ buy have been those Vejas that I desperately sought the internets for. And I’ve had three pairs of the same style before, so no risks (and this acquisition should imply no footwear worries well into 2020). Then I just needed some socks, and still want to learn to sew. Hell yeah!

As I have discussed elsewhere, several factors make this possible: (1) the amazing hand-me-downs from my mom (and other family members and friends), (2) the the swaps I organize, and (3) the occasional (new) gift from my mother. But even if your mom is very different or you are not yet organizing swaps (you totally should, take a look here and here), noting your clothing expenses down and seeing where the money goes is so very informative. Yeah, you guessed it, in a spreadsheet!

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Learning to sew, 64 hours: 624€.

Yeah, I’ve taken a lot of classes in these six months, and I have been LOVING every minute of them. As I’ve been repeating on money posts since I started taking the sewing classes with Carmen at Opció Taller (web, FB, IG) in March 2018, it is, of course, more than direct spending on clothes. I am learning a skill I really want to have, materializing much of my politics (hello there, mending, fixing, upcycling and self-reliance!), and having a great time.

During these 64 hours I have received a course on pattern-making and made my own base pattern + (a) fixed my mom’s jersey dress, (b) made the second yoga mat bag, (c) made my first dress based on my very own pattern, (d) fixed (again!) my mom’s lace undershirt, (e) fixed the yellow swap pants, (f) thought through and prepared materials to make a patch pocket out of my current embroidery. All that thanks to the generous support of Carmen. I am making significant savings on materials and notions as I mostly use workshop’s notions (that’s Carmen’s politics, and a big thanks for that) and I still haven’t bought any fabric for my projects, they just keep appearing magically.

So, as always, I wholeheartedly recommend Opció Taller for anybody looking for sewing, shoemaking or painting courses in Barcelona in Spanish. Carmen and Cristián are great!

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Veja Taua sneakers, two pairs: 130€.

If you have read this blog for a while, Veja Taua model keeps appearing as my all-time favorite sneaker that I was denied of renewing last year (to replace my first three pairs that had been worn to shreds) as Veja discontinued it. This: Swap VI and the problem with the threadbare. Unless a company has an explicit ‘timeless’ policy, you cannot repeat a garment that has turned out to be perfect for you. I bought the next most similar Veja sneaker in 2018 and – despite having worn them happily for more than 200 times – do not want to repeat them. So when kept stalking Amazon for some leftover Tauas, and got myself these two pairs from my teaching paycheck in January.

The blue ones are now at 50 years and finally comfy. They are size 39 instead of 40, so breaking in was a bit of a struggle and I can already see breaking points where they will disintegrate again. Ugh… Well, I have the purple ones waiting their turn once these ones fall apart. I have no clear plan for later on, as so far neither amazon.es nor amazon.co.uk – or anybody else I know – are stocking any in my size (out of those very few pairs still out there).

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Embroidery thread, second hand: 25€.

I got a sudden urge to embroider in June, and decided to couple it with a supply rescue operation through second-hand sellers. Throughout this first experience I got what I wanted: (a) a cool stash of pretty color 100% cotton Spanish embroidery thread and (b) a confirmation that, as I suspected, Wallapop is the weirdest place uniting in transactions the weirdest people. I’ve already finished all that stash, so my August mission will be to go out there or either start buying it from orderly mercerías or to carry on interacting with strangers selling their dead mothers’ crafting stash.

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A pair of stay-ups and several (5?) pinkie socks from Calzedonia: 19.75€.

I needed socks. And, after my calculations around Swedish Stockings in 2018, I just went to my nearest Calzedonia and repeated items I know very well, the opaque stay-ups with a silicone band and several pairs of the little invisible socks to get me through the summer. No regrets.

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Notions (needle, ribbon, zippers): 10.10€.

As I said above, I mainly use Carmen’s notions on my projects and wonder out to shops only for things she does not have. During these 6 months those have been velvet ribbon and a pearl needle (I ended up not being able to use) to fix the bracelet I had given to Jorge and zippers for the second yoga mat bag and the floral dress. The bracelet, as you can see, turned out great and much more solid than it was at the beginning. I love the fact that he gave it back to me with a ‘hey, I love it but it is falling apart, maybe you could fix it’… and I was able to do it! Hell yes.

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And that’s it. In comparison with the previous years, I have a feeling that my clothing and craft spending is very much under control and in line with my values. K-ching! While the number – 808.85€ – is big and scary, most of it is skill acquisition and working on maintaining garments alive for as much as possible. That’s a win in my book.

How are you approaching your sustainable wardrobe money-wise: free hand-me-downs, cheap seconhands, rather expensive investment pieces? Have you tried a ‘no-buy’ period to analyze your shopping impulses? Have you internalized so completely that browsing shops for fun – online or IRL – doesn’t even occur to you? Or do you indulge? Also, how are the rebajas going? Wink-wink.

#whatiwore 2019w28 + Sunday links

Orden a Tres podcast

This week’s episode of our first podcast in *Spanish* dedicated to all things Marie Kondo, Orden a Tres, is a powerful meditation to get you in touch with your future self and make that vision we talked about in last week’s episode. So close your eyes and let Andrea lead you into it: Visualización del Yo futuro You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

Nom-nom-nom, the brain said after swallowing all this:

1. Hah, even the new trends often come from old garments: How Thrift Stores Drive Fashion.

2. Oh, when people love designing this much (and are this clear about what exactly they are doing): ‘My cuts are minimal and simple, but not cold. The hand of the maker is celebrated, not erased, and our fabrics are understated but full of texture and life. This collection is no different, and in that vein I’m especially fond of the finishing technique on the hems and necklines of these garments. Organic, bias cut rolled edges trim all of the openings – a finish that honors the nature of the material and gels perfectly with the story behind the garment. This trim doesn’t interfere with or contradict the nature of the fabric – it feels more like an extension of the way the material wants to behave naturally. Continuous, organic form; deference to the nature of the medium; evoking emotion with simplified shape – that’s the story of each of these garments. The silhouettes we love in materials that enhance their form, not hinder it.’

3. Kate Fletcher has been part of establishing the Union for Concerned Researchers in Fashion and has given a mini-interview to Lucy Siegle about it: Cause For Concern – The Researchers Calling For Fashion Change. Heart-eyes! because all her writing is like this: ‘the other issues are around a lowering of expectations around the consumer’s ideas around garments. If the message is that clothing can be endlessly recycled, that’s a sign that it is disposable. All in all, there’s a constant undermining of the idea that clothes are precious and that you should take care of them and that they have an intrinsic value. […] The truth is, it’s predicated on consumption. Both consuming a new piece and then recycling it again and then consuming a new piece and that idea is fundamentally at odds with the finite limit nature of the resource base.’

4. On style, and taste, and courage to do (and dress) your own thing: The Spotlight Effect & Style Anxiety and On Taste.

5. I’ve been writing with fountain pens only for more than ten years now, this explains some of the reasons pretty well: The Joy of Fountain Pens. My favorite, however, is the bulky and decidedly non-elegant yet so comfy Faber-Castell Scribolino. My current one has lasted me so long that some of the coating has come off exactly in places where I put the most pressure.

6. Well, if you are somebody like me, a ritualistic and zealous recycler, you won’t like this: We’re Buying Into a Giant Lie About Plastic. Most important point being that separating your garbage does not mean that it gets to be recycled as there are so many intermediate steps…

7. On cities, city planning, and how certain urban dynamics drive or asphyxiate the emergence of new exciting fashion: The Closure of Fashion Cities.

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What I was writing about a year ago: After 6 months of the big spreadsheet.

What I was writing about two years ago: Garment makers and fixers, I salute you. This is a true love story to the women of my family who have been sourcing, making, and fixing for much longer than it has been in vogue. Also, an explanation why to me all this minimalism, voluntary frugality, and upcycling comes so easy… this has been the basic setup for generations of Latvian women.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w28 + Sunday links. Repeating this week: the silk maxi, my mom’s silk dress, and the birks.

What I was wearing two years ago: my mom’s silk dress and lace top, the birks.

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Do you have any favorite writing tools? The perfect pen, the greatest highlighter, the one and only planner that you cannot imagine replacing? Tell me about them, I’m all ears…

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

After 6 months of the big spreadsheet in 2019

2019 is halfway through, and here comes the previous 3-month update on my big spreadsheet. If you are new to this, between 2014 and 2017 I was doing season capsules of stashing away the ‘unseasonal’ items and doing the whole ritual of ‘seasonal change’ every couple of months while tracking the number of wears in. And then it felt like too much fuss… So I started tracking the number of wears without doing the ‘now you go away’ ritual…

My primary goals with this exercise is (1) to stop relying on perceptions along the lines of ‘I wear this all the time’ as I have realized that those are not to be trusted, and (2) to remind myself and all of you that the mystical #30wears are so easy-peasy to achieve. Not only you should wear your garments as many times throughout their life span, you should wear them at least as many times every year you own them. I know, I know, there are items that do not got there, but you should be at least aware of which ones are those and why. Informed decision making ftw! Also, the satisfaction of going over #100wears is the sweetest…

Here is the outset post on January 2018 explaining the change and including a link to an example Google Sheet,
here the 2018 January-March update,
here the 2018 January-June update,
here the 2018 January-September update,
here the 2018 January-December recap.
Then 2019 started, and here is January-March post.

We are three months into 2019, and here comes the next update by categories with the acquisition year and number of wears in parenthesis coupled with the total wears recorded since 2016 (older items might have had many more non-accounted wears but there are no perfect datasets)! If you think that this is for weirdos quantitative sociologists only, Marina is an example how less spreadsheat-inclined normal people might get value out of this exercise too…

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Layers

Most worn: Street One jacket (2005, 44/135).

Runner-ups: Red flea sweater (2015, 34/182), Hummel Madeleine jacket (2009, 31/150) and Zara swap cardigan (2018, 31/89).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: Julie’s pink cardigan (2017-2019, 45).

Not worn: my mom’s Primark cardigan, still (2018, 0/3). I picked it up when we organized her wardrobe in December, wore it a couple of times around Christmas and then left in Rīga. I’m confident that its time will come as light fast fashion cardigans get worn to bits here.

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Dresses

Most worn: my mom’s MnS black dress (2013, 21/91). This is a funny one, as I don’t really treat this dress as something special, a wardrobe hero or treasure… but I really keep wearing it throughout the year and for six years already. This is the kind of findings I like having a spreadsheet for!

Runner-ups: my mom’s Violeta gingham dress (2019, 14/14) and my aunt’s ‘PhD dress’ (2014, 8/73).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: the second-hand kaftan (? – 2018, 16).

Wore the least: my floral dress (2019, 3/3). Makes sense, I just finished it…

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Tops

Most worn: Kristīne’s MnS kaftan (2018, 24/57). Another unexpected wardrobe hero…

Runner-ups: Liisa black lace top (2016, 21/81) and my mom’s lace undershirt (2012, 19/86).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: the demon t-shirt (2014-2018, 40). That t-shirt became applique to my second yoga mat bag, though.

Not worn: my mom’s purple paisley top (2005, 0/22) and my mom’s green bird top (2018, 0/1). They both live in Rīga, so that’s why so few wears. The purple top is probably the best quality jersey I’ve ever seen: that thing is 15+ years old and looks mint. Also, serves both as lounge wear and a decent top if need be. The green bird thing is pure plastic, still very new to me, and might make sense to keep for my Rīga (winter) mini-capsule. Not for Barcelona weather, for sure.

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Bottoms

Most worn: ZIB orange flower leggings (2019, 34/34).

Runner-ups: C’s HnM jeans (2019, 30/30) and ZIB blue flower leggings (2019, 26/26).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: ZIB black leaf leggings (2016-2018, 42). Yeah, well, leggings are very important in my wardrobe… clearly.

Not worn: my mom’s green pants (2018, 0/2). A promising pair, let’s give them some time…

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Footwear

Most worn: Veja Wata Pierre (2018, 89/210).

Runner-ups: Veja Taua Nautico (2019, 34/34) and Veja Arcade (2017, 31/196). Yeah, I also think that Veja should have a ‘get the 10th pair for free’ deal with me. I might be the most loyal customer ever… I’ve bought 7 pairs in 4 years so far.

Most worn in the same period in 2018: the Arcopedico wedges (2017, 78), as I still had an office – and a footwear changing routine – then.

Worn the least: Nokian Hai wellies (2016, 1/9) and Toni Pons espadrilles (2018, 1/11). These two are painful. The wellies live in Rīga and wait for rain, but having worn them less than 10 times in 3 years makes me doubt the purchase. And espadrilles hurt because those are my KonMari shoes to protect clients’ homes… yes, my professional organizing practice has been pretty much abandoned in 2019 so far because of the final thesis spurt.

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Adornments

Most worn: still the Little Bit Bijoux necklace (2019, 21/21). The prettiest golden snitch ever, and a gift from Giulia (and made by her cousin). Perfect!

Runner-ups: the Ban.do headband (2010?, 16/95) and the Little Honey Pies bird and flower headband (2012, 11/83).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: Jēkabs necklace (1995?-2019, 24). I gifted it away recently…

Worn the least: the ‘pearl’ necklace (2011?, 1/70). My relationship with adornments, especially necklaces, fluctuates a lot, ranging from consistent use to ‘they all choke me, f*ck it’, so let’s see where this will go…

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And there you have it… tl;dr? My wardrobe is still in expansion since late 2018. It feels weird but correct, so I’m just observing. While I love the thrill of achieving spectacular numbers of (few) possessions and (a lot of) wears, I’m also learning to let go a bit of that urge to restrict and control. Let’s see what the Barcelona summer will bring…

Garments that live in my mom’s house in Rīga is a source of constant thought: it certainly makes more sense to travel without any clothing if I can have my mini-capsule there, but have I built it tight enough? I’ll spend a couple of weeks there in July and another few in September, hopefully there are insights ahead.

Have you ever tried any type of wardrobe tracking: turning the hangers, a paper list, a spreadsheet? How was that? And, if not, can you see any advantages and what is keeping you from not doing it? Please, get me right, I’m not saying that everybody has to track their wardrobes, but – being a person so fascinated by counting the wears – I would really like some feedback from out of my happy spreadsheet bubble. Take care!

#whatiwore 2019w27 + Sunday links

Orden a Tres podcast

The podcast is *on*! We – me and Andrea and Louise – are having so much fun making Orden a Tres, and here you have the first substantial episode talking about the importance of curating your future vision before starting a tyding festival: La importancia de la visión en el método KonMari™. You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

Here, nourish the brain:

1. If you ever need a reminder or a good education site to forward to friends just finding their way out of fast fashion, the people from Clean Clothes Campaign will explain.

2. Just the cutest irritated response column on the municipality of Barcelona – in 2011, with the previous mayor, this is old stuff – claiming to have launched the first vertical garden in Barcelona. Well, this lady knows better and tells you where to find the truly first one, clearly a fascinating building: (in Spanish) ¿El primer jardín vertical de Barcelona? An urban trip, anybody?

3. Beanie weather is far away in Europe, but learning can be good even if you won’t be wearing it anytime soon, so History of the Watch Cap: From Monmouth to The Monkees and the Wikipedia entry for the Phrygian cap. I thought myself rather well informed and here I am, discovering the glorious history of the knit hat…

4. For a chilling and moving read about something you probably never though about: What Do Doctors Owe To The Dead People They Dissect?

5. One of those funny news about people looking for solutions that would be as comfortable as disposable packaging but more sustainable: A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform. Cute, but don’t hold your breath… or, well, prove me wrong!

6. And if you like your anti-consumerism messages from Vogue, this: Is There Really Such a Thing as “Ethical Consumerism”? tl;dr? NO, obviously.

7. More edutainment: What your skirt length can tell you about the economy? What wiki says? Hemline index, also Men’s underwear index. The research papers referenced are these:

van Baardwijk, Marjolein and Philip Hans Franses. 2010. The hemline and the economy: Is there any match? (No. EI 2010-40). Report / Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam (pp. 1–11). Erasmus School of Economics.

van Baardwijk, Marjolein and Philip Hans Franses. 2012. “Hemlines and the Economy: Which Goes Down First?,” Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, issue 26, pages 27-28, Summer.

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What I was writing about a year ago: 2018 first half money talk, or how expensive an ethical wardrobe is?

What I was writing about two years ago: How expensive is an ethical wardrobe? 2017 first half money talk. Out of my frustration about the money-silence in ethical blogging (and way too many ‘the brand sent me this as a gift’) come these posts. Also, fun data.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w27 + Sunday links. Repeating this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress, the silk maxi, Kristīne’s M’n’S blue kaftan, and the birks.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w27 + Sunday links. Also wearing this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress and the birks.

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Have you observed any recent fashion moves that coincide with bigger economical-socio-political trends? Do you think there is sth going on there or was only an industrialist phenomenon that died out in the postmodernity?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w26 + Sunday links

Orden a Tres podcast

The great novelty of this week is that – together with two other KonMari™ consultants, Andrea and Louise – we have started the first podcast in *Spanish* dedicated to all things Marie Kondo: Orden a Tres. If you listen to Spanish (or are working on improving it), here you have the first episode introducing ourselves and how the podcast came along: Bienvenidos!! Quienes somos? You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

Here, a spoonful of brain food:

1. I’ve followed the work of Gemma Correll for years – and given and received enough of her stuff as presents – so this was too good to be true: Welcome to Menstrualand, the world’s first period theme park.

2. This is paradoxical to write her and in English, but… in case you read Latvian (and haven’t read this already), this: Vieta, kur izdzīvot.

On a related note, Stephen mentioned Latvia for the first time ever and not as anything good, of course. The American embassy in Latvia, among other embassies, had requested a permission to fly the pride flag during June. In this case, not only to demonstrate their general stance in an EU country where it is still needed (!), but – I imagine because I wasn’t able to find anything on their homepage about it – in response to the recent refusal of the Latvian parliament to legalize same-sex unions. Trump administration said no, and we got a Colbert joke about gray skittles instead.

3. To take that bitter taste away, here, have an optimistic palate cleanser: Wear Sunscreen by Mary Schmich. Still needs reminding that Baz Luhrmann didn’t write it, and nor did Kurt Vonnegut: “Wear Sunscreen”: The Story Behind the Commencement Speech That Kurt Vonnegut Never Gave.

4. This is almost a fashion blog, so let’s refine our vocabularies: The Types of Pockets, a Pocket Dictionary.

5. And some garment construction ABC from BuzzFeed: Here’s How To Tell If A Piece Of Clothing Is Actually Well-Made. I’d argue a couple of these – especially the one about avoiding rayon! – but it’s OK if you are feeling clueless and want to establish some criteria for your future acquisitions. On the rayon point, here’s the counterargument from people who actually pay attention to detail and fabrics: Rayon: Summer’s Magical Fabric.

6. A couple of cute craftsmanship stories, you should know by then that I adore such tales of ethics and pursuit of quality: Logging the History of Dayton Boots, a Canadian Heritage Staple and Modern Cotton Blends the Best in Their Quest for the Perfect T-Shirt.

7. While so far most consumer behavior research seemed to suggest that, at least in apparel, people said that sustainability mattered but then did not invest in it, this one suggest otherwise: Research: Actually, Consumers Do Buy Sustainable Products. It is about everyday supermarket items, though, not the slow fashion premium price, but ‘consumers are voting with their dollars — against unsustainable brands […] the legacy companies that will thrive are those that accept this shift and are willing to pivot’ is a soothing idea.

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What I was writing about a year ago: The time squeeze of sustainability attempts and blogging. Hah! I’ve experienced similar frustration this year – with the thesis revisions and such – but didn’t even bother to create content out of that frustration.

What I was writing about two years ago: #30wears and 18 months of counting, the first thing on outfit repetition and wardrobe tracking.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w26 + Sunday links. Look at that outfit repetition! Wore this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress, the silk maxi skirt, Veja Wata Pierre, birks.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w26 + Sunday links. Repeating so much: my mom’s dark blue silk dress, my mom’s gingham dress, my mom’s black M’n’s black, the silk maxi skirt, the red wooden bead necklace.

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Where do you stand on regenerated fabrics – called rayon, viscose, modal, lyocell depending on the original wood pulp used and the producer – aye or nay? Have had any experiences putting you squarely into one camp or the other? I’m writing this fully clad in viscose, so I’ve already made my mind up…

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w25 + Sunday links

A detail: I’m finally acting upon my urge to dumpster dive! This week alone I have picked up from garbage a fun fabric that will become something awesome and a jade plant that clearly needed a new home and repotting. The poor thing has cigarette butts in its pot! My absolutely inexpert reasoning is to use the common sense, get a good look before you bring it home, wash all fabrics at 60ºC (if they dissolve in the process, well, bad luck; this yellow one just tinted a couple of my tea towels), and be happy! Think about how things magically slip in and out of being ‘garbage’, one moment its somebody’s possession, then it’s garbage, then, suddenly, it’s a useful thing again…



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Here, feed the brain:

1. For my stitching inspiration – yeah, that craze is still on, I wish I could spend all my time doing it – starting with the one that has moved me the most, repeatedly (a) Paint Splotch Embroidery by Olya Glagoleva and Lisa Smirnova; (b) Graceful Figures and Shimmering Peacocks Embroidered on Tulle are Inspired by Haute Couture; (c) Intricate Landscapes and Tiny Houses ‘Painted’ With Multi-Colored Thread; (d) Richly Textured Portraits of Native Arctic Residents and European Explorers by Preta Wolzak; (e) Joyful Embroidered Photographs Embellished with Colorful Floral Motifs by Aline Brant; (f) Inner Worlds Revealed in Michelle Kingdom’s Intricate Narrative Embroideries; (g) Self Portraits Embroidered With Images of Blood Vessels, Bones, and Muscle Tissue by Juana Gómez; (h) Garden Vegetable and Plant Embroideries by Veselka Bulkan; (i) Colorfully Embroidered Vintage Photos of Artists and Cultural Icons by Victoria Villasana, and especially this (j) A Seamstress’s Autobiographical Text Embroidered Onto Her 19th-Century Straitjacket.

2. The quirkiest thing: fashion education exists! And they seem to be realizing that the lessons taught so far haven’t been optimal: (a) Do you really need a degree to work in fashion? and (b) How Fashion Schools Are Tackling the Sustainability Puzzle.

3. Although it’s not the right season to be thinking about duffle coats here in Barcelona, these history lessons are always fascinating: The History of the Duffle Coat.

4. I’ve run into one of those annoying ‘I want to be like you when I grow up’ role models… Oh, Lucy Clayton! She has a podcast dedicated to fancy dress, a TEDx talk on the political importance of fancy dress… and she is the CEO of Community Clothing. Dude, I’m in awe!

5. And a couple of links on a topic I know very little of but like the tone of these articles: (a) Bitcoin as big oil: The next big environmental fight? and (b) Why I won’t Touch Cryptocurrencies and Neither Should You.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Body positivity, the average user’s guide. This is the post I am most proud of out of all 230+ posts I’ve written here, and, as we are surely heading into another record heat summer in Europe, I invite you to be kind to your body. Also, How to survive summer heat in Barcelona.

What I was writing about two years ago: Heirlooms in the age of fast fashion: Do they still make any?

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w25 + Sunday links. Funny, I’m repeating only the shoes this week, the Birks and Veja Wata Pierre.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w25 + Sunday links. Oh, most of these things are gone, either because of their age or poor fit. The Dana Zēberga ‘Russian’ set is still here, though, this one:

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Do you ever pick things from garbage? What have been your best finds? Or are you afraid of bringing bedbugs and bad karma into your place? Tell me! I keep seeing discarded garments on the pavement, and try to come up with an idea on how to organize a serious rescue program… All input welcome!

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

Garment Stories: Floral Dress

This is a new category born out of my burning wish to tell this one thing… It’s not #100wears just yet for this one, and it is long way from being beyond repair, but it’s a lovely gem of a garment and the story behind it makes it even lovelier. In this case, because I made it!

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If you have followed this blog for a while – or met me in person more than once – you should have gathered by now that I am a dress person. For me those are the most comfortable and versatile garments, and I pity Western men for having stopped using them. On the other hand, in the era of skinnies and t-shirts, there is an air of something special around a dress, just because of their scarcity. Here, have a blogger quote about all that amazingness:

I wore only dresses for three months in 2017 just to make a point about their versatility (1, 2), and now I have finally made one myself. Aplaudiment! But it started with another dress and my desire to refashion… I picked a dark blue summer dress from my mom’s wardrobe during the same purge that the gingham dress. But this one is not made from jersey and is way too big for me as it is, so fixing it is not that straightforward. I brought it to Carmen at Opció Taller (the best place ever in Barcelona to get your sewing or shoemaking classes, for real) and she, finally tired of me winging it, suggested I finally do a pattern-making course because then I’d have my ‘base pattern’ to fix garments against.

So I joined one of her joyful mini-classes (sharing the professor with only two other fun ladies) in February, and went through the motions of measurements and pattern construction once a week. Just to calm my productivity anxiety, I was sewing the second yoga mat bag meanwhile.

What normal people do for the base-pattern class is to buy cotonet – the rustic 100% cotton used mostly for 3D pattern making – or to use some other no good fabric (old sheets, etc.) to do he second stage of pattern making, actually stitching it all together and trying it on a body. With no malicious intention but with my waste reducing subconsciousness clearly alert, I just ignored the idea and showed up without such material. Carmen proceeded to get out of her chambers of deadstock magic a loud floral fabric for me to practice on… and I fell in love. It even has a second-order story: it comes from a textile plant that Carmen’s family still owns, and they have made mostly bed linen out of it. Carmen took a bunch to Spain to cover her sofa, but Cristián protested it and to the cupboard that fabric went

Sooo… the practice went on and it just made perfect sense to actually make it into a garment instead of tossing it all out, mistakes and all. My 3D pattern got a skirt, and hand-basted all together, this is what I had:

Then on to the machine it went for some proper sewing:

Many firsts happened on this dress. Not only my first bust pattern, first darts, first sleeves, first pockets, but also my first neckline facing

…and three invisible zippers, because I really wanted trustworthy pockets (and no purses)!

I hadn’t taken into account that this floaty volume is not backpack friendly: it rides up and exposes my bum… Bah! So no backpack with this dress until I finally make the tulle petticoat I’ve been wanting since forever. Meanwhile, as you can see above, for additional comfort it works fine with trousers underneath. We’ll see how the fabric will feel in the sweaty Barcelona summer and how it will wear, both my stitching and the fabric. Already after the first few wears it seems that it is prone to piling, ugh… This is what happens when you live off random deadstock. Will keep you updated!

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What have you been up to, my talented friends? Have you done any life-giving fixes recently? Made any garments? Or is there something you would like to fix and don’t know how to? A fun fabric you keep looking at and sighing wistfully?

#whatiwore 2019w24 + Sunday links

A detail: I got a sudden embroidery urge last week – inspired by my craftivist friends and ‘I wish we were friends’ Mara, Kate, Ezra, Liisa, Liza – and went all in on it. I got a bunch of beautiful Made in Spain 100% cotton threads through local classified ads, and my eyes have suffered since then. Now my problem is doing anything else when all I really want to do is to sit there and stitch while listening Harry Potter audiobooks. Threadpainting is such a pleasure!


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And a couple of nibbles for the brain:

1. Let’s begin with a ‘all is fucked up’ reminder: The end of the Arctic as we know it. And usually it would come accompanied by bullshit like 6 Small Ways To Make A Big Difference This World Oceans Day on reducing one-use plastic and turning off your AC… but I suggest you listen to George first: “Here, life is collapsing even faster than on land. The main cause, the report makes clear, is not plastic. It is not pollution, not climate breakdown, not even the acidification of the ocean. It is fishing. Because commercial fishing is the most important factor, this is the one we talk about least. […] The fishing industry is protected by a combination of brute power and bucolic fantasy. When you hear the word fisherman, what picture comes to mind? Someone who looks like Captain Birdseye: white beard, twinkly eyes, sitting on a little red boat chugging merrily across a sparkling sea? If so, your image of the industry might need updating. […] Save your plastic bags by all means, but if you really want to make a difference, stop eating fish.”

2. The usual refresher on fibers and textiles: (a) Shifting the Impact of our Clothing: Tips from the Fibershed Community; (b) What Are the Most Sustainable Fabrics? and (c) Know Your Product: A Quick Guide to Organic Cotton.

3. For a weird anthropological story about the 1990s, It Smelled Like Gen X Spirit: “It was billed as “one for all,” though what that really meant was one for all in this age group, and was greeted as revolutionary. In point of fact, the first perfumes were genderless, and only in the 1930s did the sexes start getting separated. It was then that it occurred to beauty companies that marketing to men might be lucrative. That is to say, CK One wasn’t the first unisex fragrance; it was the first openly marketed unisex fragrance. Which, with its whiff of cynicism, was in itself somehow very Gen X. That was no accident: According to Mr. Fremont, the original brief came from an extensive study Calvin Klein had conducted on what would appeal to this particular disaffected consumer group. […] It was criticized by those who didn’t like it for ultimately being, as one review went, “so intent on being gender-neutral from a perfume aesthetics perspective, that it literally comprises notes that act to neutralize each other, making the most anonymous and androgynous of beige pleasantries ever smelled at the time.”” I’ve never really understood perfumes, so this is just a bizarre alien tale for me… A carefully crafted scent reflecting and defining its decade? Fascinating!

4. Is Fast Fashion A Class Issue? Obviously, yes, but it’s also more complicated than just blaming poor people for wanting cheap things… The piece has some sound points from my new favorite Dilys Williams. Like so: “This is not proof of a democratised fashion industry – this is evidence that fashion is now regarded as disposable – as a cheap commodity not worthy of our love or care […] As humans, we are stimulated by novelty and curiosity but an overstimulation, running on adrenalin, is not healthy. We are undervaluing fashion.”

5. And a couple of cute stories just to calm your anxiety a bit: (a) Weaving as a Way of Life at Oakland Fiber and (b) Forget fast fashion: Slow style pioneers on the clothes they’ve worn for decades.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Train travel long distance in Europe. One of my favorite last years posts and experiences! Lesson learnt?! Trains are great and I want to take them more often.

What I was writing about two years ago: The wardrobe ins and outs of spring 2017. My attempts to do a formal capsule and document it all…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w24 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: Zara swap cardigan, my mom’s silk dress, Veja Wata Pierre sneakers.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w24 + Sunday links. As those outfits are mostly from the Riga capsule before much of it went away, no coincidences!

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Have you ever caught a crafting fever when all you could think about was to steal some hours for your projects? Which is *your* craft? And have you ever felt a sudden urge to start doing sth you have no idea of? That’s me and embroidery right there…

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

All my swap finds

Swap X was an important accomplishment for me, and we are innovating in the next one – see you next Saturday for fashion joys and Belgian beer – so I’m marking it with a personal recap of all garments I’ve ever taken from the swaps I’ve organized. In total, 18 items / 10 events = 1.8 per swap. And 12/18 are still in my wardrobe. Only in the first swap I was apparently so excited about having pulled together an actual event where my envisioned swapping magic could happen I didn’t even look for things…

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Swap I – October 1, 2016.

Nothing, according to my data… I know, cute.

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Swap II – January 28, 2017.

(1) Liisa MnS lace dress (out in Swap V) and (2) Liisa velvet skater skirt. This was so funny for us because I was hanging out with Liisa so often then we could’ve done this without organizing an event. I love it when people tell me of similar swap interactions: ‘I picked up this and this amazing thing, and you know what, my best friend had brought them here, isn’t that cool?’ It is, darling, it is the coolest thing.

The lace dress was clearly not meant for repeated rough wear, and piled and felted with other layers. I wasn’t familiar with de-piling technology back then, so out it went after 20 wears. A good bodycon has been on my swap wishlist since then. The velvet skater skirt is still going strong at 63 wears.

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Swap III – May 27, 2017.

(3) Julie cardigan (out in Swap IX) and (4) HnM striped mini. I wore that cardigan 96 times (plus some uncounted lounging around the house) before I grew tired of it and passed it along. The little skirt is at 31 wears and has been difficult this winter: it requires a pair of black opaque tights to be worn comfortably, and in Barcelona that means November-February only. Maybe I’ve just outgrown little jersey miniskirts? It’s an unclear ‘stays’ at this point, it will have until the end of 2019 to prove its worth.

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Swap IV – September 30, 2017: pre-post, recap post.

(5) Laura polka dot dress (out in Swap V) and (6) Esprit floral shirt (out in Swap IX). The blue dress was pretty, twirled beautifully, and so plastic it suffocated me as if I was a sausage in cellophane. So out it went after 11 wears. The Esprit shirt was 100% cotton, beautifully finished, and oh! that floral pattern… but just too big for me. For it to keep a cool shape I needed to be very crafty with my waistlines, otherwise it just looked sloppy. So 51 wears and by-bye.

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Swap V – February 3, 2018: recap post.

(7) Forever 21 and (8) Atmosphere shorts. This is where my swap finds started to slide into loungewear… happily, so far. Both are with me still, most of their wears not counted (in the spreadsheet: 66 for the t-shirt, 31 for the shorts) as I mostly lounge around in these. I already mended a hole in the t-shirt – it is flimsy Forever 21 cotton mix jersey, after all – and it’s getting some new ones. Help, where will I find another incredibly soft and perfectly body-hugging t-shirt??? …at the next swap, I hope.

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Swap VI – May 12, 2018: pre-post, recap post.

(9) Home slippers, (10) winter gloves, and (11) Zara cardigan. This one went really well, mostly thanks to Margareta who had seen my wishlist online, spotted these things at the swap, and then just gave me the slippers and the gloves. The gloves are what they look like, basic and protect my hands from the bicycle wind. The slippers were exactly what I wanted: loafer style, warm and fluffy, rigid sole, *my size and width*, and made in Spain… I still have them but the sole is crumbling away, so – despite my efforts with the glue – they will end in textile garbage pretty soon. But what a glorious ride it has been!

The cardigan stands at 87 wears now. I did a basic mending of a hole it had when I picked it up and then added a fun ribbon (with duckies; from Carmen’s archives) on top of it to begin with, and now it’s unraveling again. Oh, Zara, you and your stupid nylon/cotton blends not meant for walking… my new plan is to just embroider it all over the edges, hopefully in the style of Liza Smirnova (especially, this!) and Ezra W. Smith. A glorious 3-in-1 plan: (a) mending the unraveling parts, (b) learning to embroider, and (c) improving this little cardigan beyond the wildest dreams of its creators. Hell yeah!

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Swap VII – September 15, 2018: recap post.

(12) Pink lounge kaftan. A no brainer: the thinnest viscose posible for the those summer days when having a thin layer of fabric feels better than the naked stickiness… Barcelona, pum-pum-pum-pum-pum, Barcelona, oooooh! The material is very flimsy and the hem splits are already breaking, we’ll make an assessment once the summer is over.

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Swap VIII – December 1, 2018: recap post.

(13) Fake Vans slippers (out in Swap X) and (14) black Mucha dress. I really like the idea of skater slip-ons, but Vans are just not good enough people to buy them new… and these ones turned to be made for sitting, not walking. despite being my size and having a pretty pattern, that sole was basically cardboard and 12 wears was I all I could do in these. I haven’s worn the black Mucha dress yet (what is a Mucha dress in my head? here), but have high hopes for it to fill the relaxed flapper summer dress void in my heart…

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Swap IX – February 9, 2019: pre-post, recap post.

(15) Bershka cutback (out in Swap X) and (16) Benetton pink sweater. These are results for my perfect top quest. The cutback top had me widgeting with the bra all the time, so 13 wears together was all we could do. The wool Benetton one, after Mara’s embroidery intervention and some de-piling, and ten wears, is now happily waiting for cold weather to come again.

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Swap X – May 11, 2019: recap post.

(17) Red lounge pants and (18) yellow lounge pants. It has been only a month, but the red ones are happily integrated in my wardrobe and oh! so comfy. The yellow ones need that elastic change, I’ll keep you posted once that happens.

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So, what have we learned, folks? That swaps are great! It is the perfect playground to do so many things, and there is time for browsing even if your are organizing/helping out, wink-wink… You can experiment, and bring things back if they didn’t work. You can radically reduce your wardrobe knowing that garments are not scarce and you can always fill it again. You can pick up wacky garments for your upcycling and refashioning projects.

My strategy by now is that of having a clear, very visual, very exact wishlist (Pinterest is my tool of choice for that) but then still be flexible if something that truly speaks to your most authentic self jumps at you.

What have been your best swap/second-hand/hand-me-down finds? Do you have an explicit strategy for these events/places? Are you more of a wishlist person or the intuitive picker?

#whatiwore 2019w23 + Sunday links

Here, the first summer gazpacho for the little gray cells:

1. An honest look at courtroom dressing to influence the outcome: Does This Dress Make Me Look Guilty? “Her legal team was concerned that an appearance in Rikers Island prison garb would make her look guilty and prejudice the jury against her […] Just because it’s obvious doesn’t make it less effective.”

2. Oh, the beautiful difference when the fashion critic at large is serious and respectful and when she cannot hold her sarcasm…

Exhibit A: “Rihanna will become the first woman to create an original brand at LVMH, the first woman of color at the top of an LVMH maison, and her line will be the first new house created by the group since Christian Lacroix in 1987. It joins such storied heritage brands as Dior, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi and positions Rihanna as a breakthrough designer on a number of levels […] Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together […] Fenty, however, has made inclusivity of all kinds — size, race, gender identity — part of its identity from the beginning. […] LVMH’s first foray into original couture, Lacroix, did not end too well; it sold the brand in 2005, and the name is now largely associated with an unrelated sparkling water. Whether this story will rewrite the playbook of luxury remains to be seen. But the first chapter is about to begin.”

Exhibit B: “‘Yes, it may appeal to a small niche, but I think it’s worth doing regardless of its consumer potential,’ Mr. Sarkozy said — also with a straight face. It was hard to tell if he was in the midst of the most thoroughly considered conspiracy to hoax the fashion gullible since Laura Albert created JT Leroy and fooled the literary world — a test of how elastic is the desire for a famous face and an insider product — or if he meant what he said. […] The company is backed by the Spanish billionaire Juan Roig, the president of the Mercadona supermarket chain. […] The men were photographed in conversation with Mr. Sarkozy in return for shoes. Though Dr. Pinker normally wears cowboy boots, he said he quite liked the loafers.” The preposterous shoes in question can be looked at here.

3. The pleasure of doing a facepalm for the ultra-pure vegans (no wonder we are at the butt of so many jokes, much of that is deserved) and reading some reasonable ones: On Privilege, Priorities, and Processed Foods in Vegan Diets. “And while a steady diet of highly processed foods isn’t the best choice for health, it doesn’t mean that you need to eat only whole plant foods if you want to be healthy. That’s a perspective that plays to fears around food choices. It burdens people with undue worry about whether every single bite of food they take will protect or harm their health. Eating is not quite that precarious. If you are consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber plus foods that provide healthy fats, enjoying a fast food veggie burger once or twice a month is not going to make or break your health.”

Additional links from that article: Should We Condemn Hampton Creek and Impossible Foods for Animal Testing? and Yes, the Impossible Burger is vegan. Bah, now I want a Burger King burger, and they are not rolling those out in Spain anytime soon… it took three (!) years for the vegan Ben & Jerry’s to get here, after all.

An additional old one but good one one the ‘clean eating’ fallacy: Clean is for underwear, not food.

4. And just because it makes me giggle (yes, absurdly immature!), the whole culture around penises and tailoring: (a) Dressing Left; (b) Sir, Which Side Do You Hang?; and (c) 5 Theories For Men Dressing To The Left Or Right.

5. I am very tired of graphic t-shirts by now, but some people can still celebrate them alright: Is Your Tshirt Cooler Than You? and The Most Expressive Garment. I’ll take a break for a while in an aesthetic place where garments do not shout weird phrases at me… For such inspiration, see these beautiful people doing amazing stuff before neon performance fabrics – and slogan t-shirts – started to litter the view: The Amazing Style of British Cyclists.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Style mood board: me-me-me! Oh, the naughty idea that my own archives contain enough style inspiration already…

What I was writing about two years ago: Adventures of the spring 2017 capsule.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w23 + Sunday links. Wore also this week: Veja Wata sneakers, …

What I was wearing two years ago: Come, fund us! + #whatiwore23. Also, that time when I decided not to be a pirate and asked my friends to donate me money so that I could legally screen The True Cost. They did, and I will love them forever for that.

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What’s your take on the graphic tees (and sweatshirts, and pouches, and tote bags), aye or nay? Do you have that one favorite message you’d enjoy wearing all the time?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

Renova la teva roba: Barcelona’s municipal clothing swap

Yes, this is the post where I’ll tell you how the municipal clothing swaps work in Barcelona, and why I think my swaps are better than theirs… Brazen, I know, but bear with me. Most of it is about *how* it is done, not the fact that they are doing this or why would they. The overall goal, as stated in their website is to promote ‘el consum responsable, la prevenció de residus i la sostenibilitat’. Great, we are obviously on the same page!

To be more diplomatic, I see how their secondary objectives are very different from mine, and I don’t think that theirs work in their favor. My major disclaimer here is that I haven’t spoken with people in charge of this activity yet. I plan to do that once my thesis is out of the way, so I am oblivious to possible probable institutional squabbles that might have shaped the architecture of Renova la tev roba at the City council. So I hope there will be a second part of this post explaining how it came to be. And I didn’t go to all the locations (yes, plural, more about that below), so it could be that I just had bad luck… Well, this is my experience as a normal Barcelonina who wanted to take part in the municipal swaps.

Down we go to the details, and, gosh, how many details… and that is my first disappointment with the priorities of these swaps: you really have to pay attention to the small print. The idea clearly is that you learn that the month of swapping (twice a year!) is coming, download the bulletin (I also uploaded a copy here) and carefully study it.

Because there is a lot to study… (1) This May there were 18 spaces where you could go and swap, all across Barcelona. (2) Each of them had different days and hours when the swapping would take place. (3) You have to go at least twice because at each location there was a time window of gathering your discards and then another one for picking up new-to-you things. (4) There is a limit of what you can bring: 10 garments max, and only 2 max if they are winter jackets. (5) Only clothes and accessories, no footwear, no underwear, no linen, no other objects. (6) The same limit applies on what you can take: 10 garments max, and only 2 max if they are winter jackets. (7) When you give your discards, they are looked at by the staff/volunteers to check for stains, rips, etc. and, if accepted, you are given vouchers according to what you have brought, ranging from 1 point for t-shirts and accessories to 5 points for winter jackets. (8) When you come back to pick things up, you can take only what your points will buy you, e.g. if you brought three t-shirts, you now have three Renoves which can get you other three t-shirts, or a bag (one point) and a cardigan (two points), or a dress (three points). (9) Vouchers are valid only for the current edition. (10) But you can bring them to other spaces, i.e. discard in one location and go pick things up in another… Is you head spinning already?

It is clear that the second-order objectives are ‘decentralization’ and ‘justice’ as in avoiding free riding. The decentralization part makes certain political (keep the neighborhoods alive!), organizational (externalize this to already existing network of Centres Civics or Ateneus), and accessibility (people might be more willing to go if it is nearby) sense. However, it also means that the possible amount of garments and energy available is divided by 18 and scattered around. But I could buy that…

That acute fear of free riding is just weird, though. I know I had it before the first swap I ever hosted. And I have observed it at the Botiga Gratis of Banc Expropriat. It is this fear that, if you say that something is free, a horrific hombre del saco will show up and take everything. And you little helpless organizer will just stand there in your impotence because in your naïveté you had said that is was free… which is (a) absurd and (b) has never happened. For me the biggest argument against these formal ‘protective’ measures is that they promote the opposite of the idea that clothes are so abundant that there is no need to stress about them.

So, what exactly did I experience?

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Espai Intercanviat, Programa Millor Que Nou.
Dropped off on May 22, browsed on May 25, 2019.

I had been curious about Millor Que Nou for a long time, as it is the municipal hub for all kinds of activities that promote reuse and resistance to programmed obsolescence: repair and maintenance workshops, talks, and an ongoing exchange of objects. Take a look at their workshops, they sound great nad trying them out is on my to-do list! So I picked two good enough but nor exciting anymore pieces from my wardrobe: my mom’s gray cardigan (2012, 219+ wears) and her jersey dress (2016, 24 wears), washed and folded them, and went to Sant Antoni.

And that was swift: an employee of the Espai Intercanviat took my stuff and chatted a bit. I made her explain all the details to me again, just trying to catch her at ‘this is ridiculously complex’ but she wouldn’t. She did admit that many people brought too shabby things. I got my five Renove points (cardigan = 2 Renoves, dress = 3 Renoves) on a little slip of paper and went away. Having forgotten to take any pictures…

For the day I could pick stuff up I revised my Pinterest wishboard, and went back to Sant Antoni. It was a rainy Saturday morning, and I think there were only two other persons going through the clothing available, one of them with a baby and looking at baby stuff. The point system here was interpreted as needing to mark every garments with its ‘price’, color coded. And somebody had gone through all the garments putting little stickers on them. Tedious and a bit pointless, imho. These people have a lot of space, just separating by ‘price categories’ could have worked out fine. And the categories are pretty clear as not to create confusion at the ‘check-out’.


The supply was the typical lower-end second-hand one would find in a Humana on a bad day. Bershka, Decathlon, piling, worn out jersey, stretched knits, and the occasional hole… all that ‘no rips, no stains, our people will check this before accepting’ quality control is clearly just to weed out the complete aberrations that people should recognize on their own and discard in the orange container.

My purple dress was hanging there, looking quite sad and stretched on an unfriendly hanger… I didn’t see the cardigan. I hope that means that somebody had already picked it up.

And, if you came looking for a wallet, a belt, a bag, or a starfish fancy dress for your toddler, it might have been your lucky day! I came in looking for a headband, a short and thick sweater, a bodycon dress, and a basic 3/4 sleeve t-shirt, and went home empty handed. But I am very spoiled by now. For somebody whose luggage had been lost, there were plenty of options to start anew.



The weirdest thing I saw: used coffee capsule earrings. ‘Price’: 1 Renove. I’m all for reuse, but who thought that this was a good idea? And who would like to wear these, even if your beloved niece gifted them to you? If somebody gets this, please, explain!

The second weirdest: a jacket with a Humana price tag still on. Imagine all the travel and sorting this jacket has been through, dude, it deserves a comfy retirement by now.

The books and the shoes, and the toys, and the electronics were all off-limits until the Renova event ends it goes back to its ‘we swap everything’ policy. The year-round scheme is a bit more elastic: they also count your given up items to permit you to take some. Hold on, here comes the funny bit that creates even more questions about who thought the Renova la teva roba scheme: in the Millor Que Nou exchange clothing is given away with no strings attached, assuming – according to the employee of the space – that ‘clothing is a human right’ and that, if people came asking, they really needed it. She did not seem to realize the glaring contradiction between that statement and the setup for Renova la teva roba.


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Casa Orlandai.
Dropped off on May 29, browsed on May 31, 2019.

OK, for those uninitiated in class differences by neighborhood in Barcelona, Sarrià is posh… so I was curious. Maybe this was the magical place where rich people exchanged their beautiful frocks? Was this a possible entry point for the quality vintage that does not turn up in Humana?

Although I still had my 5 Renoves from Millor Que Nou, I also wanted to try out discarding garments there. C’s jeans that I had modified (2018, 30 wears) was the garment I had to get rid of. I had put a real effort in making myself wear them, and they never felt great. Bah… Jeans are not the easiest swap thing, as you have to try them on. And I was bringing a pair that wasn’t even true to its measurements, not even a pair of men’s pants anymore. I tried to at least warn people with this sticker:

The Centre Civic is a beautiful modernisme villa with a sunny backyard café… and as this is not a year-round activity for them, the clothing containers were in the hallway and I was attended by one of the reception ladies, don’t know if employees or volunteers. My data was taken down carefully… both the type of items I had brought and the sociodemographics: gender, age, neighborhood. She was somehow very surprised – ‘oh, what a great idea!’ – that I had modified my jeans, but lamented that I had only three Renoves. Then I asked about the possibility to use the other five from Millor Que Nou and she, after having checked if those points were truly from this year’s edition, confirmed that and said that, well, eight Renoves was already a nice amount…

And I was told that there are additional rules! Surprise. According to the lady who attended me, the event had been such a success in the past that, to avoid overcrowding, there would be raffled turns to control the number of people who enter in the swap. So not only one should come back on just one particular day, it also necessarily had to be between 17:00 and 18:00 to get my raffle number and then possibly waiting for your turn until 18:30. This already felt like so much effort…

So I did arrive 35 min before the magical 18:00 of the raffle, got my number – 35 – and read my book in that sunny backyard while eyeing others present. My field notes read: ‘The patio is filled with beautiful rich mothers and their wild toddlers. An English-speaking bunch too, the only ones that smoke. Unclear if they are all here for the swap or just part of the everyday routine of this place. How many people are doing the same strategy of going to the posh neighborhood? Few here look like they don’t belong.’ I was really hoping that that bunch of cool moms would be there to swap… seemed befitting.

As the designated time approached, I didn’t really notice any movement. I was waiting for those moms to move inside! A few minutes to 18:00 I went back to main door just to find it locked, and a run-around to the patio-door got me there at a moment of post-raffle frenzy. It took me a couple a minutes to figure out that they had actually opted for first-come-first-served model and numbers up to 45 were allowed to enter now. Then I got lost in all those modernisme stairs, and – after having my raffle number taken away at the entrance – stepped into the swap at 18:07 (that’s the time stamp on the first photos)… and it’s a memory blur there because I was so shocked about what I saw. I might have laughed hysterically. Maybe only on the inside. Here, do you see anything weird in these pictures?



Dude, I had never seen a swap were there are more people than garments! And such nervousness about grabbing sometthing, anything. This was the farthest possible thing from mindfully swapping. No changing rooms, no mirrors, just taking whatever there was. I actually saw an elderly gentleman taking a thick, sparkly jersey cocktail minidress. There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation to it, but still… And there were barely a couple of things left at that point. Only a heavy air of stress and scarcity. Add to that the final scrutiny and queuing to ‘pay’ at the exit, and it all smelled too much of my family’s mythology about soviet and postsoviet scarcity.

Maybe they brought in more things just after I left at 18:09… Maybe they had just started earlier for those with insider knowledge, i.e. numbers 1-20… I’m still unsure what to think of this. I came out shocked and texting Mara and C the photos. I just needed witnesses, I needed their confirmation that this was clearly ridiculous.

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So… this brings me back to my initial point of Un Armario Verde swaps being better than the municipal one. They are. Obviously, we do not cover such territory but we are also not a public entity with a network of spaces all around the city. Our overall offer is wider and nicer than in Millor Que Nou and, well, there are no feeling of scarcity, as opposed to my second experience. If the main overarching goal is to teach people – via material experiences – that garments are abundant and there is no need to shop new, one has to create places that feel that way. D-oh!

Being a confirmed obsessive compulsive data freak, I don’t think I’ve ever said this before but, these people are too focused on controlling and data gathering. Chillax! Make a party out of it. Teach people that there is an abundance of garments out there…

Until I get an insider’s perspective on this, have you, beloved Barceloninas, tried the Renova la tev roba swaps? Maybe it was a wild party at Lluïsos de Gràcia or Fort Pienc, and just happened to have chosen badly? Or, having read all this, do you think I’m overreacting out of self-interest and bias towards my own events?