The 2019 second 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 just 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 my little money reports of
The first half of 2017,
The second half of 2017,
the first half of 2018,
the second half of 2018, and
the first half of 2019.

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

2019 was a good year in the Spendingtown… my total for wearables acquired in 2019 is 182.50€: two new pairs of reasonably sustainable sneakers, and hosiery. The rest of the money has been spend on skill acquisition and craft materials. I am very pleased with myself…

*

Learning to sew, 48 hours: 468€.

I have decided to finally start separating sewing and embroidery spending from dressing/garments spending from 2020, as they do not align perfectly: the learning part is not really the same as acquiring garments and part of my notions and embroidery thread money would have to be counted as gifts to others. Anyways, sewing classes is my big somewhat garment-related spending category of 2019.

It will continue in 2020. Opció Taller is home, and I still have so much to learn. An expense I didn’t make in these six months as it was a gift is my sewing machine:


*

Embroidery thread from Wallapop: 35€.

I bought embroidery thread for the second time. As I did in June, I found a bundle deal on Wallapop, and have been embroidering with it since then. Embroidery will certainly be a thing in 2020 too but so far I don’t have thread buying plans.

*

Calzedonia hosiery: 19.80 + 12.95 = 32.75€.

After my disappointment with Swedish Stockings (see me ranting at length here), I just turned to the made-in-Italy high street hosiery. At least these are more affordable while equally disappointing, and don’t require additional packages to be sent across Europe. The soft kind that like – a mysterious 60% viscose, 28% poly, 7% cashmere and 5% elastane mix – just keeps wearing out and ripping exactly like the expensive ones from Swedish Stockings which, as far as material mixes go, were a very similar 52% Viscose, 34% Polyamid, 10% Cashmere, 4% Elastane.

In these six months I have bought 5 pairs of knee-highs and a pair of tights. My mom bought me three other pairs before that (September in Latvia, d-oh!)… and they just keep ripping and being ugly. I don’t think that these will carry me through the sock season. Sad. There is still no optimal good hosiery options on my radar… suggestions are welcome!

*

Sewing notions: 13.40€.

These have been some basic notions: a couple of spools of thread, a zipper, and a thread-cutter (the pink plastic bird thing that allows me to fly without scissors). I’m buying notions as I go, it’s working fine.

The most fun notions acquisition, however, lately was a haul + extra gifts from my mom’s old sewing supplies. Yep, lots of beautiful colors of 100% cotton made-in-Finland sewing thread, a thimble, and third-generation-in-this-family embroidery scissors. Yay for timeless family vintage!


An additional point on money I haven’t spent is that, despite having been sewing learning to sew since March 2018, I am yet to purchase fabric. Fabrics just come my way mysteriously and abundantly. My first ever stash was a hand-me-down from Julie. My first dress was made from Carmen’s stash. I have been doing mostly fixes and little scrap projects otherwise, so there has actually been no need for it… Yes, ‘no need’ in this case meant controlling the I-can-make-things-now-excitement. But it has worked out very well. As I don’t go to shops to browse clothes (the last time I had that urge was in September 2018), I also don’t go to fabric stores to browse fabrics.

And this summer my grandma suddenly revealed that she has kept all my mom’s old sewing stash (she stopped sewing in 1995) and her own collection of random fabrics she has been saving at least since late 1980s, including some weird synthetics and some solid cottons. So now I might never have the opportunity to actually buy fabric. Only a part of my grandma’s stash:

*

I am very content with my 2019 fashion and textiles spending. I also have enjoyed several valuable gifts in this category that I’m working on fully accepting. In a culture where people spending money on things to give to you is the norm, I might as well specifically ask for certain gifts. And everybody’s happy!

As for 2020, I hope to keep it up this way: only the truly necessary purchases, trying to balance the practicality, locality, price, and sustainability. Yeah, a tall order, I know, that’s why I try to avoid purchases in general, none of them are truly optimal. Swaps (see you next week!) and hand-me-downs for the win… not having any money involved helps to reduce most sunken cost bias, you are left only with sentimental guilt.

How has your fashion spending been last year? What do you spend money on and what do you prefer to try find for free/cheapest possible? Are you acquiring new and formally sustainable garments or go second-hand even if it’s fast fashion second-hand? Have you tried shopping bans or similar strategies to reduce your spending? What do you think about the relationship between sustainable fashion and money?

Garment stories: the H&M dress that became a skirt

The beginning of this dress in my possession is one of those typical-sad stories of fast fashion fails: I was alone and depressed living in Brussels in late 2008, so I browsed shops for fun. And one day I came home with this flared strapless number. Fun fact, the proper name for a strapless neckline in Spanish is ‘palabra de honor’, i.e. ‘word of honor [that the neckline won’t turn into an embarrassing mishap]’.

I have no idea now how much I paid for it or what was the logic of this purchase as in ‘for what kind of occasions in my life will I be comfortable wearing this?’ I just liked the general air of it. It felt classy, elegant, dramatic, cool… all the desirables, you know.

From the very beginning the shape was good for taking photos but not that great for moving living in it… because, well, boobies vs. gravity made me constantly fidget with the neckline instead of just being dressed.


The little corduroy bolero I had custom made was basically intended to cover all that part and be happy. The only problem with it that it gets hot in there, especially in summer or at dancing occasions.

What I wore for my high school reunion in 2015. I have another one coming up, I might repeat the outfit!

But I still loved the shape of the dress! So at some point between 2015 and 2017 – after 7-9 years of having not worn it for the most of the time – our seamstress got a couple of fine straps on it. It got better!

…but not perfect, as those boobies will still stay where they are, of course! Some fidgeting still…

And I kept covering the bodice with something else, essentially treating this dress as an elaborate skirt:




This has been a weird – and a prolonged – experience when looking from my current vantage point. For 10+ years I had had a clearly suboptimal garment I just kept clinging on. My only reasons were that I had it already and that liked some aspects of it. Dude! It wasn’t new, it wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t particularly well made, it wasn’t sentimental… but I just kept lamenting the very few wears in my spreadsheet reports (examples 1, 2, and 3) while not having the guts to finally get rid of it.

Even more, after 10 years, even with relatively few wears and even fewer washes / dry cleaning (this dress picks up all the fluff in the world), there was some wear. The original bodice was ribbed to keep the shape, and the fabric covering the ribbing channels was already too worn out to honestly consider this dress to be in a mint condition and try to happily swap it away.

*

And then an inspiration struck… Fuck the bodice! The skirt part was the one that I liked, the reason why I was unable to let go of this. And it hadn’t lost shape or been worn out. It didn’t seem to technically complicated either: rip off the bodice and the original zipper, add a new waistband + a new zipper. I didn’t dare to try and do it myself, though, not yet… so our trusted Latvian seamstress did her magic:



She also added a quirky bias tape to the new waistband, because she, unlike the Bangladeshi children working for HnM, cares about quality finishings!

Yes! Finally! This is now a functional and comfy garment… 12 years later. The waistband is actually quite wide, so the skirt can be worn to all family Christmas feasts. And on its own it is just a cute black flared skirt, nothing too much… I can wear it to dentist’s or any other casual outing while – finally! – pairing it with just the right top (and a bra) for the occasion that will leave my headspace free for the actual living.

A fun observation linking this garment and my 2017 acquisition fail: before falling for the WAG set in Cape Town, I seriously considered getting a similar yet longer black skirt. Hah! I had the right black skirt all this time… it was just hidden in a body of a dress.

*

Have you had any similar experiences with a successful refashioning of a garment? I was quite afraid as in several occasions before this one refashions hadn’t helped the garment, just added to the sunken cost bias… Or have you had a similar experience with owning something for many years without it being optimal but just being unable to let go of it for no good reason?

Hubo… Hablemos de los intercambios

Although the great majority of content – and all blog posts so far – over here is in English, this one made more sense for me in Spanish… the event took place in Spanish, my notes for it are in Spanish, and, as it was basically about swaps in Barcelona, maybe it will be more useful in Spanish. You can count if I commit more mistakes in English or in Spanish now!

*

El viernes pasado hubo un encuentro de Un Armario Verde. Éste evento no fue un intercambio – y éste hecho causó mucha confusión entre un segmento de nuestras seguidoras – sino una charla sobre los intercambios de ropa con gente que los organizamos e, incluso, algunos que nunca han estado. Y ocurrió porque:

(a) Liliana vino de visita a Barcelona (todas a seguir su Green Swap Club, famoso por sus memes), y los dos días que coincidíamos entre que yo volviera de vacaciones y ella se fuera de vuelta a México marcaron las únicas fechas posibles.

(b) El intercambio de diciembre me dejó poco satisfecha. A mi me parecía que gente pasaba como por una tienda y no como un evento. Ya sé que no hay problema y, si la meta es circular la ropa, nos vale… pero me dejó una chinita en el zapato.

(c) Yo llevo 15 intercambios organizados en Barcelona entre 2016 y 2019. A veces hay que reflexionar para evitar la huida hacia adelante y quemarse por pérdida de sentido.

(d) A finales de diciembre asistí a una swap party más tradicional enfocada en comunicación y comunidad. Pese a las obvias ineficiencias y cansancio que provoca una cosa así cuando supera cierto número de gente, me entró el deseo de hacer los míos también más “fiestas”… pero tampoco vino alguna idea realista sobre cómo hacerlo.

(e) Tuve mi primer desencuentro desagradable en internet con una crazymaker maldiciéndome. Aquello propulsó muchas vueltas sin pegar ojo con “pero ¿por qué me pide lo que nunca prometí?” y “¿vale la pena pasarlo así de mal por trabajar gratis e, incluso, perder dinero?”

(f) Hacía mucho que quería conocer mejor a las chicas de Slow Fashion n Co. También para dejar de hablar sobre la importancia de la comunidad y las relaciones y hacer algo para tejerlas…

Una vez asumido que, en el peor más íntimo de los casos, vamos a estar las cuatro “protagonistas” – Liliana, Aïda, Clàudia y yo – cada persona más era una agradable sorpresa. Creo que en total, entre los que llegaron tarde y los que tuvieron que irse pronto, unas diez personas más pasaron por el evento. Se produjo una interesante mezcla de experimentadas y interesadas-sin experiencia, lo justo para asegurar que no estábamos hablando sólo entre nosotras. Aunque todas comprometidas con anticonsumismo, moda lenta y sostenibilidad, cada una a su manera. De hecho, la pregunta de cómo llegar a gente más allá de los de siempre salió… pero éste no era un evento de divulgación, sino de reflexión estratégica.

Espero que mis invitadas también se han quedado satisfechas, por lo menos son muy amables y en público dicen lo siguiente:

“Con lo que nos quedamos de la reunión es con la posibilidad de unir fuerzas para crear proyectos más grandes este año que empezamos, la importancia de la pedagogia y la magia de los encuentros!” dixit Slow Fashion n Co.

Lily ha escrito un post entero – A casi dos años de crear el Green Swap Club, allá estuvimos – del cual me quedo con ésto: “Aunque me hubiera gustado explorar ciertos temas a fondo, como porqué hay más mujeres que hombres relacionadas en estas iniciativas o el futuro de la resistencia textil, surgieron temas que me hicieron sentir acompañada y comprendida en este movimiento que a veces se siente un poco de lobas solitarias. Ese día compartimos estrategias y desahogos. Y aunque somos aún pocas lobas, al parecer ya somos una gran tribu que está creciendo en varias ciudades del mundo”.

*

Obviamente, la abuela que llevo dentro insistió en snacks. ¡Con razón! Fue la enésima confirmación que unas palomitas de microondas casi siempre es buena idea. El vino no se bebió tanto pero, teniendo en cuenta el entusiasmo y risas que hubo estando serenas, a lo mejor no hacía falta.


He estado pensando en cómo resumir la conversación y creo que me voy a quedar con las preguntas… Obviamente, no se llegó a una llave dorada con la cual perfeccionar todos los intercambio y convertir Barcelona en el modelo de economía textil circular. Pero de todas aquellas quejas, historias de malentendidos, fatiga y satisfacción, ésas preguntas:

La misión pedagógica de los intercambios: ¿Es más potente dejar que la gente experimenta la alegría de deshacerse de cosas y encontrar otras por su cuenta o guiarles con contenido educativo explícito? ¿Puede una charla superar la experiencia? ¿Tenemos una obligación de educar a la gente que está manifestando una clara curiosidad (i.e. su asistencia) por el tema? ¿Habría que facilitar relaciones basadas en traspaso de prendas entre personas o dejar que surjan espontáneamente? ¿Cómo asegurarnos que el intercambio no es sólo una parada más en una vuelta de compras? ¿Es nuestra meta y/o responsabilidad? ¿Todo intercambio tiene un potencial revolucionario? ¿Deber ser nuestro enfoque cambiar las mentes o circular las prendas?

La comunicación: ¿Qué nombre es el más preciso y el mejor entendido: un intercambio, un mercadillo, un trueque, una swap party? ¿Es “un intercambio libre” lo mejor? ¿Cómo evitar los malentendidos en comunicación de las metas y el formato de nuestros eventos? ¿Es posible? ¿Es gente confusa una señal de éxito ya que claramente habemos llegado a alguien que no conoce el concepto? ¿En qué clave nuestra comunicación es más efectiva, humor o seriedad? ¿Trabajamos para una audiencia concreta o intentamos a llegar a cuanta más gente posible? Trabajando en una ciudad con una elevada diversidad lingüística, ¿en qué idioma hacerlo? ¿Aspirar a tener todo en tres idiomas?

El público: ¿A quiénes alcanzamos y a quiénes – no? ¿Por qué los intercambios siguien siendo tan feminizados? ¿Nos falta trabajar más los discursos de sostenibilidad y hacerlo más en la clave de humor para atraer más hombres? ¿Debemos aspirar a cubrir todas las edades o podemos confiar que otras generaciones tienen/tendrán sus formatos de circular ropa? ¿Hasta qué punto nos debe preocupar el sesgo de clase social de nuestros eventos? ¿Preferimos público ideológicamente comprometido con la causa o “novatas” por seducir?

Los formatos: ¿Priorizamos control o agilidad y comodidad? Es maravilloso tener datos de las asistentes y de la cantidad de prendas pero ¿quién va a hacer aquel control? Podría ser beneficioso controlar la calidad de la oferta pero ¿quién va a hacerlo y según qué criterio? ¿Habilitamos espacio para descargar cualquier residuo textil ya que es más fácil para las usuarias o insistimos en conocimiento para discernir y mejorar la calidad de la oferta? ¿Intentamos garantizar un intercambio “justo” (puedes coger el equivalente de lo que has traído) o preferimos mover cuantas más prendas posible? ¿Qué hacer con los free riders y abusonas? ¿Cuáles son los pros y las contras de cobrar una entrada para cubrir costes y, a lo mejor, también para avanzar alguna causa? (Sobre éste tema hice un post hace un meses: Swap Goals and Money) ¿Cómo conciliamos la añoranza por un swap party íntimo con el deseo de garantizar suficiente variedad y no restingir acceso?

Las estrategias con lo que sobra: ¿Qué hacer con el agobio al ver la abundancia de la ropa y las montañas de “sobras”? ¿Es mejor restingir la entrada o dejar que salga todo que sobre en los armarios? ¿Debemos buscar proyectos para colocar las prendas sobrantes o es suficiente deshacerse tal como lo prevee el Ayuntamiento? ¿Con qué intensidad odiamos el sistema municipal y Roba Amiga? ¿Es un mal menor o el demoni por evitar? ¿Hasta qué punto es nuestra responsabilidad montar un sistema de gestión textil entero paralelo? ¿Debemos dejar atrás la noción de la escasez de ropa? ¿Podemos? ¿Hasta qué punto es nuestro deber satisfacer el deseo de la gente “que se aproveche” sus compras malas ganando así ellos karma points en diferido?

Y, por si era poco, para la siguiente conversación nos quedó… ¿Debemos hacer colaboraciones con otras iniciativas? ¿Con quién? ¿Cómo? ¿Hay que hablar de financiación o podemos hacerlo sin dinero? ¿Pueden haber marcas patrocinadoras? ¿O somos decididamente/necesariamente anticapitalistas? Entonces ¿cómo gestionar las voluntarias? Sobre todo, ya que suelen ser nuestras parejas y amigas… ¿Queremos expansión o nuestros proyectos tiene límites naturales? ¿Hemos tocado los límites ya? ¿Es preferible un modelo de una multitud de proyectos pequeños para que cada una encuentre su intercambio perfecto? Pero ¿cómo conseguimos que aquellos proyectos hablemos entre nosotras para tampoco vivir aisladas? A largo plazo ¿es el ayuntamiento que debería mejorar su Renova la teva Roba? (Renova la teva roba: Barcelona’s municipal clothing swap) En un mundo perfecto ¿la gestión de los residuos textil y la circulación de prendas en buen estado debería ser una responsabilidad pública, privada o a base de voluntariado? ¿O es la gente que dejaría de consumir tanto y nos haría obsoletas? …y a la vuelta a las preguntas pedagógicas nos vamos!

*

Pues eso, casi nada… lo más importante en ésta ocasión era airearlo todo un poco, compartir unas risas, afirmarnos que no estamos solas, que no hay un modelo perfecto pero que cada intercambio – incluso nuestros menos favoritos – es en general bueno para ganar conciencias y alcanzar gente. Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies… ¡y montones de ropa gratis!

Y, si tienes respuesta a alguna de éstas preguntas, ahí abajo están lo comentarios 😉

2019 in the big spreadsheet

2019 is now definitely bye-bye, so let’s see what I wore throughout last year… in case you are new to this, in 2018 I switched from doing seasonal capsules to having all my garments available throughout the year and just tracking every time I wear something outside home. You can learn all about the underlying logic in the previous quarterly posts:

The outset post on January 2018, including a link to a Google spreadsheet you can use too,
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,
here the January-June 2019 update,
and here the January-September 2019, update.

So here you have my wardrobe champions and laggards of 2019 by garment category, and thoughts on my wardrobe going into 2020:

*

Layers

Most worn in 2019: Street One jacket (acquired in 2005, worn in 2019: 63 times / wears counted in total: 154).

Runner-ups: Red flea sweater (2015, 63/211) and Zara swap cardigan (2018, 59/117).

Most worn in 2018: My mom’s gray cardigan (2012-2019, 62 times).

Not worn or worn the least in 2019: the floral corduroy bolero (2011, 2/10). This is probably the most complicated case in my current wardrobe… I like it but it’s not easy to wear. But it was custom made. The stats are bad, though: 6 wears between 2016 and 2017, 2 in 2018, and 2 in 2019. Not cool. I’m not sure what to do with it if 2020 is not suddenly better. Keeping it is against all this blog is about, but…

*

Dresses

Most worn in 2019: swap Zara Mucha dress – read here on my notion of a ‘Mucha dress’ – acquired in December 2018, so worn only in 2019: 29 times.

Runner-ups: my mom’s MnS  black dress (2013, 23/93) and my mom’s silk dress (2016, 22/87).

Most worn in 2018: my mom’s silk dress (32 wears in 2018).

Not worn or worn the least in 2019: swap apron dress (2019, 1). It is a very relaxed summer thing I picked up at the Trueque Market swap in October. It has a stain at the front to be embroidered over, a hole in one pocket and I’m planning to make a slit in one of the side seams… but the designs is quirky and the fabric feels very nice (feels like viscose, no label). So we’ll see how it goes in summer 2020. Meanwhile, remember that some summer dresses can be worn in winter too:

*

Tops

Most worn in 2019: my mom’s lace undershirt (acquired in 2012, worn in 2019: 41/108). My little trusted friend of Barcelona summers. By now it has had so many underarm patches (see here) that summer of 2020 might be its last one…

Runner-ups: Liisa black lace top (2016, 32/92), Humana Zara ruffle top (2018, 30/42), and Daniela’s Street One top (2019, 30).

Most worn in 2018: the demon t-shirt (2014-2018, 58 wears in 2018). In 2019 it became an appliqué.

Not worn or worn the least in 2019: WAG top (2017, 1/11), also my merino base layers that were my mom’s Christmas present. I got two of those, one with sleeves and the other without, I wore each of them only once in that week until the end of the year, but this is not worrisome. The WAG top does worry me… the situation is the same as with the corduroy bolero (and the shape is similar, eh!): I haven’t really domesticated it but I don’t think that anybody will do it better than I. Also, the sunken cost bias of having bought a new garment, and not being able to wear it enough. Ugh.

*

Bottoms

Most worn in 2019: my mom’s white pants (acquired in late 2018, worn in 42 times in 2019 and already discarded). I loved them while they lasted but the fake elastic ‘denim’ can only take a certain number of wears and washes before definitely losing its shape.

Runner-ups: ZIB orange flower leggings (2018, 39) and blue flower leggings (2018, 38). Yep, leggings are essential to my wardrobe.

Most worn in 2018: my mom’s rayon shorts (2016-2019, 67 wears in 2018). I copied their pattern this year to make similar shorts because I just shredded the originals.

Not worn or worn the least: C’s Nudie Jeans Thinn Finn (2019, 4). I did several attempts at sturdier denims this year and failed miserably. I just don’t like them…

*

Footwear

Most worn in 2019: Veja Wata Pierre sneaker was the queen of 2019 (acquired in 2018, worn in 2019: 155/276).

Runner-ups: Veja Arcade (2017, 65/230) and Veja Taua Nautico (2019, 53).

Most worn in 2018: Arcopedico wedges (2017, 132 wears in 2018). Well, I had an office life in 2018, and those were my office shoes… 7 wears in 2019.

Not worn or worn the least in 2019: Nokian Hai wellies (2016, 5/13). Still toying with the idea of bringing them to Barcelona now that I’ve swapped away the Muroexe boots.

*

Adornments

Most worn: Vicky Veiga hat (acquired in 2019, worn 41 times). I spent all summer in this hat that I found at a Glow Yoga swap! And I’m looking forward to many more days without sunstrokes.

Runner-ups: the Little Bit Bijoux necklace (2019, 34) and my mom’s silver bracelet (34).

Most worn in 2018: the red wooden necklace (31 wears in 2018; 6 in 2019).

Not worn or worn the least: ‘pearl’ necklace (4/73). I keep doubting if this is the moment for getting rid of this #memade kitsch wonder… but I really like it too. See, I am very far from being immune of the typical wardrobe doubts.

*

What else happened in my wardrobe during 2019? I had a big acquisition moment – as a result of cleaning out my mom’s wardrobe and several gifts and purchases – that left me confused about how to live in all that abundance. It took until October or so to feel balanced again. I have been working from home since June, so there have been days of just not leaving home or leaving it just to go to the swimming pool and back. There were several experiments with trousers that ended up confirming that having all those bulky seams in my crotch is beyond my requirements for comfort. My ears are still very sensitive, hence I mostly wear pharmacy earrings (220 wears). By the end of 2019 I had 48 pieces of wear-out-of-home primary garments + 10 pairs of footwear + 9 adornments + 6 pairs of earrings… and it still feels too much.

So life is confusing, politics are very confusing and my wardrobe refuses to be a static and easy thing. But I know that I’m not a uniform person either. Oh, constant flux, how I hate you…

How was 2019 in your wardrobe? Purging or/and acquiring? What were your wardrobe heroes? Did you do any experiments? How did that go?

#whatiwore 2020w1 + Sunday links


Well, hello there! As you can see, this space is going through a conceptual change. I realized that I was getting tired of taking outfit pictures, and I’ve been sulky about not having developed an ability to do fashion sketches since forever (more on that here).

So to develop a new skill and avoid drag, you will now endure at least a year of my drawings, hopefully by the week 52 I will like them more than now. When convenient, I will provide photos and a bit of a background story of the one outfit I’m drawing each week. Like so:

We did a family bowling thing after such a long hiatus that nobody was sure when was the last time we did that. My dad swore he had never bowled, my mom had some vague memories. And I looked dashing! This classy all-black ensemble was: Utenos Trikotažas merino long-sleeve base layer (2019), the refashioned HnM dress that became skirt (2008/2019), Calzedonia ‘cashmere blend’ tights (2019), and – when not wearing bowling shoes – my Veja Wata Pierre (2018) as it was a dry day and my ankle was sore. Not pictured: my old BikBok parka (2003). Skirt bowling was great, btw.

*

The lower part of the Sunday posts will stay the same for now, because brains read reading matter:

1. The Post-Trend Universe: ‘We live in a supermarket of choices, not just in what we wear but also in the kinds of food we eat, the music we listen to and the decorating styles we might choose for our homes. There is no single trend that demands our attention, much less our allegiance, as so many options are available to us at once. According to the theory of lemons, anything could be selected and prized for its very individuality and we wouldn’t look out of step.’ If anybody claims that x is in and y is out, laugh in their face. Always.

2. Unfortunately, so many of ecological catastrophes come from trying to make luxury more available: How Your Cashmere Sweater Is Decimating Mongolia’s Grasslands and Cashmere’s Contribution To Climate Change. Solution if you really-really crave something that fluffy? Buy it secondhand! More sustainable and almost certainly of a better quality than the ‘affordable’ fast fashion cashmere in shops right now.

3. What Does ‘Black Friday’ Even Mean Anymore? ‘It can be only a matter of time before we get Too Good to Be True Tuesday, Watershed Wednesday and Take-It-All-Home Thursday. Spend-a-Lot Sunday? That might be going too far. […] You have to be one of the most unlucky people in America if you are paying full price for anything these days.’

4. When mainstream media cannot really figure out the correct tone to tell us about how female politicians rent the formal outfits, oscillating between endorsing the sustainability discourse and clutching their pearls in outrage: (in Spanish) El fenómeno de Ocasio-Cortez y otras políticas jóvenes que alquilan la ropa para ir al Congreso.

5. This is mostly about ties but you get to see the scandalous first Vogue cover of a woman in trousers (May 1939). This one:

6. If you had believed that the magic of capitalism will cure the fast fashion problem because after Bangladesh there is no place with an even cheaper workforce, and a general economic growth there would improve all wages and conditions… nope! The Prices of Garments Coming Out of Bangladesh’s Massive Manufacturing Sector Keep Dropping.

7. And, of course, Climate damage to Pakistan’s cotton crop hits economy.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: Luisita 31 or 31 facts about me. Because sometimes this is just an ego trip…

What I was writing about two years ago: How expensive is an ethical wardrobe? 2017 second half money talk. Money is an important and often avoided ingredient of the whole ‘detoxify your wardrobe’. Well, I’m on a mission to divorce sustainable fashion from expensive fashion. The old and used is the most sustainable option after all.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2019w01 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2018w01 + Sunday links.

*

I wanted to be a fashion designer…

Me at 10 and 15, the time I started to want to be cool and the time when I considered it done.

If last year’s special birthday posts were more gossipy, today I have a fashion-related special edition.

As you might have heard from me or read in that last year’s post, between the ages of about 7 and 15, I was going to be a fashion designer. My classical drawing teacher (I went to her studio between 11 and 13) at some point lamented that I hadn’t used my ‘fashion sketching’ to also practice general figure sketching… because I went for patterns and ready-made figures. When I was younger, my mom drew me paper dolls and I had developed a ‘typical dress’ drawing on squared notebook paper that I could then beautify. Until I was 14 or so, I used to have a stash of copies with just an outline of a body that I could then draw on. Those black lines were visible through my design masterpiece and the posture was always the same, but I was OK with that.

Circa 1999 with the stuff I was drawing.

Classical drawing itself didn’t become a beloved activity, I found it tedious and could never perform well enough. But that drawing studio was an amazing place for an aesthetic education. It was full of people older than me, people planning to enter the art schools or the faculty of architecture, and I was very busy taking notes on how to look artsy, of what you *could* wear. There were times I would literally sketch what other people were wearing instead of the white setup of cubes and shit.

It was also very understandably a time of transition between childhood and adolescence, and my parents hadn’t yet made it to the economic status they achieved years later, hence I was reading teen magazines obsessively and looking at the shop windows but not really getting those garments. So welcome to the fantasies of *cool* of the child below. Every other millennial will recognize the butterfly clips and the frosty eye shadow, I guess:

December 2000, so I’m about to turn 13.

Unbothered with the proportions of the figures – and, looking from now, not with the quality of my sketches in general – I produced a lot of them and had a thick stash of my design masterpieces to be shown to anybody who would express any interest. At some point much later I got rid of most of them, scanning just a small sample. Here, this is what I was dreaming about 2000 and 2002:

These are just a copy of what BikBok was selling then, the essence of teen cool in 2000. Yes, gray jersey and uncomfy shoes… I know, random shit.

The rest is a bit more creative, but I know very well where most of the inspiration has came from: platform boots (that is exactly what Vagabond was up to at that time), transparent plastic details down to that bright pink yo-yo, faux fur, camouflage prints, skirts on trousers and other ideas came from… those chunky silhouettes, those waistlines that were always at the hips and never at the waist. Oh, 1999s, oh, teen fashion magazines, you had brainwashed my little head very well!

*

Did you act upon your future profession fantasies in any way when you were a child/adolescent? Have you actually fulfilled them as an adult? I didn’t pursue an education in arts or fashion, but I keep dragging it with me, through dressing myself up, and now mostly via swaps and sewing. There was something authentic in that childhood dream that is still alive!

…would you wear any of my ‘designs’? 😉

#whatiwore 2019w52 + Sunday links

So, the last bowl of brain soup before 2020 comes?

1. A reminder for those resolutions and those travel plans: Your Frequent Flyer Status Is Part of the Problem.

2. Our love/hate story with plastic is forever… and because of good reasons (includes a basic primer on how all synthetics are made): What is Fleece? Comfort and Warmth Through Plastics.

The response from the natural fibers? What is Melton Wool? On the Toughest and Arguably Warmest Woolen.

3. Oh, those teensy history bits, even for those who are not planning to buy vintage rarities anytime soon: Lee Storm Rider Denim Jackets – The Complete Vintage Guide.

4. Need a great conversation starter? ‘For a while, Gammarelli only sold socks to people in the clergy, and color was determined by a person’s position (so as to match the rest of their uniform). Black was for seminarians and priests, purple for bishops, and red for cardinals.’ Yes, bishops wear purple socks… The Return of Fun Socks.

5. The ills of fast and cruel fashion are still with us, even when truthfully it states ‘made in EU’ or ‘made in USA’ on the label: Luxury Fashion Brands and their “Made in Italy” Accessories at the Center of Sweatshop Scandal in Naples and Fashion Nova is Coming Under Fire for Alleged Wage and Labor Violations, But the Law is (Largely) on its Side.

6. The most valuable swoosh: Nike is the Most Valuable Apparel/Footwear Brand in the World, Making its Logos Some of the Most Valuable, Too. So get to know the history behind it!

7. And to finish the political year that has made very little sense, ‘Being angry and disappointed in your fellow citizens is not the same as thinking they’re evil, and it’s not the same as wishing them harm. […] As a dear friend wrote on Facebook, I can wish no worse on those people than that they will one day understand the consequences of their actions and be obliged to live with them. But honestly, nobody deserves what’s coming.’ Necessary Anger by Laurie Penny.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: The unwishlist for my 31st birthday. One of my weirdest posts ever: making a list of what I don’t want and then realize that I am obtaining some of those things… Oh, shadow, don’t we love you!

What I was writing about two years ago: Fashion, sustainability and tidying books I read in 2017. In 2019 I’ve mostly listened to Harry Potter audiobooks just to stay sane…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w52 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: my mom’s bird top, the BikBok parka, the fluffy Seppälä coat, the Crocs boots, the HnM sweetheart dress now turned into a skirt, and the Hunting Ensemble beanie.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w52. And was still wearing this week: the fluffy Seppälä coat, the Crocs boots, and the HnM sweetheart dress now turned into a skirt.

*

Garment Stories: Caravan Standard Boots

I have had these Japanese – made in Vietnam, though – boots since July, and I’m still figuring them out. The have got only 7 wears since then but already have a rich garment story.

Chapter I: The Acquisition. My dad is a bus driver. Of big buses full of tourists. One of those people who dares – and enjoys – carrying a full 50-person bus up and down an Alpine serpentine or Norwegian fjords. Most often those buses are full of people trying to squeeze as many countries and experiences as possible into a tight schedule of ‘seeing Europe’, tours where they get 20 countries in 20 days and such. And, although this is not the kind of travel that Eastern Europeans used to do to see Europe in the 1990s where one would literally spend several days living in the bus, even people who sleep at hotels and make their major distances on plane leave a lot of stuff behind in the bus. My dad also cleans his bus, so we are quite used to random foodstuffs (with unreadable labels) appearing at home because somebody just left it behind. But it’s small stuff typically: cookies, candy, snacks, napkins… something you would truly stash in the seat pocket and forget.

Hence when I saw a pair of heavy duty boots just sitting in the middle of our living room (yeah, that’s where he unpacks) in Rīga in July, I just though that my dad had bought himself a pair. Only later it was informed that it was – obviously – not his size at all and that this pair of boots was left behind by a client who first realized that she needed a pair of serious duty boots for exploring Norway in summer and then decided that she was not really happy with them after all. And the while she took for thinking it over clearly wasn’t a long one, as the boots had no trace of having ever touched ground. So, no, she wasn’t practicing the ‘trial period’ tactics I recommend for your garments.

My dad collects all the useful stuff people leave behind, so the boots were coming home. And they turned out to be exactly my size!

How else you can model a pair of heavy duty boots in July?

Chapter II: The research. Now I wanted to know more! By a coincidence, I handled a pair of Giulia’s boots for the Percentil experiment in August. A pair of Vibram boots. The only two words that looked brand-like on these new boots was Caravan and Vibram. But searches for Vibram only brought up the disgusting five-toe footwear… I apologize if you’re a fan but I just cannot see that thing. Weird, I know, as I have nothing against seeing actual feet.

At the end it looked like Caravan was the brand and Vibram was the supplier of soles. So it was a journey down the internet rabbit holes trying to discover what had I encountered there… ending up on the Japanese internets. I wasn’t able to find the boots on the Caravan homepage, although there are some similar ones for between 150 and 500€. Then, according to this blog – thank you Google Translate! – I finally found a photo of my boots and understood that they are are reboot of a Caravan Standard model very similar to what the author / his father had had, now retailing at below 150€.

And that blog linked to the full heritage story – with photos – of the Caravan boots, finally! Some Google Translate excerpts for your curiosity:

‘On May 9, 1956, the Japanese Mountaineering Corps succeeded in the first ascent of the Himalayan giant, Manasuru (8156m above sea level, 8th in the world). This is the first time a Japanese has climbed the 8000m class Kyoho. […]  In 1952 (Showa 27), when the next year’s first Manaslu expedition was decided, equipment was also required accordingly. Most mountaineering equipment was custom-made, but there were still problems with the shoes. From the base camp to the top of the mountain, we will continue to use heavy climbing shoes with durable leather in the upper and metal in the sole. The problem was the approach shoes used on the long way to the base camp. At the time, there were still people who climbed the mountain in the underground tabi, and Japan did not have the “light climbing shoes” itself. The harsh Himalayan approach cannot be walked with underground socks or athletic shoes. I absolutely needed shoes that were “light and easy to wear, didn’t slip on the rocks, and didn’t rub”.’

‘In 1954, Sato established Yamaharusha Co., Ltd. in Ginza (later renamed Caravan) and started selling caravan shoes. The production is of course Fujikura Rubber Industry. The first product was almost the same as the one made for the Manaslu Expedition. The upper ankle was proudly affixed with a mark engraved as “Recommended by the Japanese Mountaineering Society”. […] Compared to full-fledged heavy climbing shoes, it is much cheaper and its superior performance was proven by the Manaslu Expedition. Caravan shoes attracted the attention of general mountaineers and gradually became known.’

‘In 1959, the caravan shoes were remodeled to become “Caravan Standard”. There have been minor changes since its launch, but this year’s changes have never been so big. First, the upper cotton canvas is changed to rubberized nylon. This greatly improved waterproofness. The arch part of the sole is equipped with an iron spike called “tricone”. The anti-slip effect on wet rocky places has been further improved. However, these changes resulted in a slight increase in weight. There are two kinds of colors, navy and red.’

So I’ve got on my hands a classic Japanese mountaineering boot.  Completely unintentionally.

*

Chapter III: Wearing. On the empirical side, I experimented briefly with them in September. They are heavy. Surprisingly heavy for my feet so used to sneakers. And the upper was rubbing against my leg and leaving it sore for days. I suspect that is the type of footwear that you have to break in *a lot* to find supercomfy afterwards. So I left them in Rīga waiting for winter, with my fingers crossed that this could finally be a good replacement for the Muroexe boots that I was so longing to get rid of. They would make more sense in Barcelona for the occasional rain and slippery tiles instead of Rīga rain and winter… for that you might want a taller boot.

Now, after a couple more wears, I have a bit more information on how these beauties wear:

– The heaviness and chunkiness is real but not overwhelming.

– The height, though, is new, as all that superperformance sole ends up making it, well, a platform boot.

– I clearly walk wrong because the dark rubber parts are already staining the light brown canvas on the opposite boot.

– I had an unpleasant boot experience I still can’t properly disentangle. My old sprained ankle started hurting and went on like that for a week after one day in these boots and then next day walking a lot in my old Crocs boots. That made me to cool off with these and reconsider if I ever want to wear them again. But then I did – to Opera, no less – an I was fine afterwards.

– As for wearing hiking boots to Opera, yep, these felt cool enough for me to pull that off. In those old Crocs boots I felt like a peasant. Obviously, it’s Eastern Europe and many people change shoes in Opera or have a pair of pretty boots for such occasions… but we are minimalists around here and do not drag extra shoes to places where we’ll be spending only 3h.

An opera-going outfit according to Luisitas.

*

So the adventure is still on and only time will tell how this relationship will go. But the story is already a good one… Do you have any similar stories of having needed a lot of time to understand if a garment is working for you? How did that go? And what was the final verdict?

#whatiwore 2019w51 + Sunday links

A detail: Well, the thesis got defended. And pink dominated my outfit! Was it a protest outfit camouflaging as traditional femininity? Maybe. I already told you: The Pink Post: Instrumental and subversive uses of the traditionally feminine.

This is how it looked at the moment (and these pictures miss out on the magenta/bright pink combination of my Veja Taua sneakers, so look above):


*

What else is new?

1. Very cute and, also, correct: How To Own Things You Want To Use Forever – An Anti-Fast Fashion Manifesto.

2. 2019 was the year when I first stepped into a Uniqlo, and I understand why one would like it. It still *is* fast fashion, but the design aspect is much better executed. So, Uniqlo – A History of Simplicity to Global Domination.

3. When it comes to the climate crisis and the COP25 idiocy, I just can’t… (in Spanish) Viva el cambio climático, viva el circo mediático and Qué les molesta tanto de Greta y la revolución de los jóvenes.

4. Decluttering is not the panacea! While I am wholehearted advocate of getting rid of stuff you don’t use or enjoy, it has to happen *once* and responsibly, because (these are Canadian examples, but the logic of knowing and rethinking must be the same everywhere) Here’s where your donated clothing really ends up and How To Declutter Ethically In Canada.

Obviously, ‘The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,’ Says ‘Secondhand’ Expert.

5. In case you were in doubt: More than 60% of Counterfeit Fashion Purchases Were Knowingly Made by Consumers, Per New Study.

6. The Rise of Review Culture: ‘The thing about review culture is that the promise of finding “the best” is never fulfilled. For one, the best doesn’t exist — particularly in fashion, which is subjective. Second, too many people lean on the idea of buying “the best” to abdicate responsibility in developing a sense of taste. But most importantly, the reason why we never find the best is because that gnawing urge that compels us to find it in the first place is never satisfied.’

7. Let’s talk textile crafts: The Full History of Navajo Blankets and Rugs and Understanding Persian Rugs – Two and a Half Millennia of Silk and Wool.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Street One jacket. That jacket has lived through so much!

What I was writing about two years ago: 7 dresses x 3 months: Lessons learnt. That was a fun experiment that confirmed that I am not a uniform dresser…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w51 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: the Portuguese cape and the red flea sweater.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w51. And still wore this week: my mom’s trench and the flower bomb headpiece.

*

December Swap (12th!) recap

As Douglas Addams had said about deadlines, swap nº12 made a wooshing noise when passing and then it was over… I had my excuses for a divided attention: my mother-in-law was in town (and at the swap already), my mom and my grandma were arriving the next day, and I was my PhD thesis defense on Monday (don’t ask about that, you can download the whole thing here). Insane, I know, but I had fixed the date for the swap way before I got my defense date… a girl has to have her priorities in order! So I just tried to breathe through it and survive.

Hence there are very few things that I noticed through the blur that those days were:

A morning beer sometimes helps to keep it all together.

A Christmas playlist

I made a thematic playlist, yes! I don’t remember when that happened, really. But I’m quite proud of the result, I – imho – that it manages to be festive and nostalgic without being idiotic or religious. And, judging by the feedback I received during the swap, some of you enjoyed it too. Here you have it for when the next ‘deck the halls’ season comes.

Clarinha-the-little-bear came by too to spread some love.

*

So many people, so little money, so little leftovers

While we do no formal tracking of attendance or the amount of clothes swapped (this wasn’t the most popular one according to the FB event stats), I have a feeling that this time there were a lot of people who passed through the event and a lot of garments that got circulated. So far so good, no? Well, yes, but… there were very few drinks consumed – 29.84€ for Ateneu, an all time low since I have data on this – and very few tips (18.23€). And that means that this event has cost me an extra 26.69€ out of my own pocket… Dear people, duct tape is an expensive commodity!

The overall feeling I have is that the great majority of people who came by did exactly that: passed by and was on their way after that. Without hanging around and having a drink. Or stopping to think that there are costs. Popcorn, duct tape, and such… If I would be to treat this like a learning opportunity (ugh!), it probably means that there is a space for a programmatic improvement so that the swap won’t be just a no money shop for people. I would prefer it to be a more intimate, social experience but I’m still a bit unclear on how to achieve it.

On a more pleasurable note, there were relatively few leftovers. That made the wrap-up much more pleasant! And we – thank you so much Coco and Cyntia! – also took care about the ‘what are the people thinking’ rag section on the same day by taking it to the closest orange container and thereby reducing the Botiga Gratis load to be taken to Banc Expropriat. This practice will be repeated next time. And I’m thinking about ways to make the ‘please don’t bring this here’ pieces more visible for some possible pedagogical effect.

*

Long live initiative (Coco is a godess!)

Through the above-mentioned blur, I had decided to take care of the leftovers for Botiga Gratis sometime… I just parked that thought while celebrating my PhD and doing touristy stuff with my family. And then magic happened! On Wednesday evening Raúl informed me that Coco had taken those bags to Botiga Gratis. Oh, sweet gratitude and relief!

She had even done some educational work with the Botiga Gratis ladies trying to convince them that using the orange containers for the discarded garments is a good idea. I had understood that their use of the gray landfill containers for that end was their rebellion against the Roba Amiga system… maybe it’s just ignorance. Or Coco might be clearer or more persuasive in her communication of the importance of proper recycling than I am.

This comes down to issues with delegation and my wish to control, of course… but also proves that dedicated-enough people can overrule those impulses by just doing what has to be done without even necessarily informing me. This is, of course, for those who know what has to be done! I still expect caution and ‘ask first’ strategy from first-time volunteers. Again, this filled me with joy. Thank you so much!


The little fluffy friends know that hanging around and enjoying the party is very important part of a swap.

*

While I’m brainstorming about the possible improvements, see you on February 8th… I encourage suggestions but also ask for consideration: be gentle with what you think is a brilliant piece of advice! Read my policy statement beforehand, please.

#whatiwore 2019w50 + Sunday links

Here, stimulate the brain:

1. In the spending news, As Gen Z Spending Habits Shift, Skincare, Natural Beauty Looks Continue to Outshine Traditional Cosmetics (hah, well, at least there are already things that Gen Z is killing; also, I find this trend quite wholesome) and Thoughts on a New Gilded Age.

2. Something I do wonder about is if I’ll see sewing skills coming back in by lifetime or dying out completely: From a Sewing Needle to a Laser Cutter, a New Approach to Fashion.

3. Politics through fashion at country music awards? Yes, please: In Praise of Jennifer Nettles’s Equal Play Pants.

4. Sometimes I just wonder about the audacity… How stupid do you have to be to copy a clearly recognizable print? Supreme-ly stupid: Supreme is Being Sued for Allegedly Hijacking Another Brand’s Camo Print.

The seemingly generalized disregard for trademarks keeps surprising my naïveté… How can taking somebody’s trademarked product and giving them ‘youthful upgrade’ be a successful (and legal?) business strategy? Well, Rolex Calls Foul on laCalifornienne and its Colorful “Counterfeit” Watches.

5. I’m not sure I’d like to wear the original 1940s and 1950s jeans models… Lee thinks I should: Lee Brings Back the First Women’s Denim It Ever Made. But, well, I am not a denimhead, those people know where to go: On the Hunt in Tokyo for ‘Authentic’ Denim.

In other denim news, (a) Levi Strauss CEO: ‘Sizes will go out the window 10 years from now’; (b) Denim Mills Show Confidence In Recycled Fibers but Will Brands Follow? and (c) You Can (and Should) Tailor Your Jeans to Fit You Perfectly. Here’s What You Need to Know.

6. I do enjoy long, romantic brand histories, what can I do… Eddie Bauer’s Legendary Parkas.

7. And there are people analyzing the links between fashion and politics, and politics through fashion. These who are being praised for just having the decency to think through their symbolic roles: The Duchess of Cambridge and Family Refine the Art of Pantone Politics and In Pakistan, Kate Middleton Aces Fashion Diplomacy. And, of course, dressing through *that* shitstorm, George Kent and the Bow Tie of History and How They Suited Up for the Impeachment Battle.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: Garment Stories: Hunting Ensemble Beanie. An ode to considerate presents!

What I was writing about two years ago: #100wears: Hummel Madelaine Zip Jacket. And a love letter to an unexpected wardrobe hero…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w50 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: the red flea sweater, my mom’s trench, Veja Wata Pierre sneakers, and Liisa’s velvet skater skirt.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w50 + Sunday links. And I was still wearing this week: my mom’s trench, the ‘pearl’ necklace, the red flea sweater, Veja Arcade sneakers, the Street One No Pasarán jacket.

*

The oldest garments of my wardrobe

These are among the actually oldest things that I own, but that’s another story.

This post from Rebecca from A Clothes Horse peaked my curiosity… First of all, great, I am always for bloggers with such big platforms showcasing that they re-wear things. That said, I got that typical post-2000 thought of ‘but 2011 was yesterday, what’s the big deal?’ until my rational mind kicked in half-second later pointing out that 2011 was 8 years ago. Dude, actually 9 years in a couple of weeks…

Hence I recognize that 8 years is a long time for a dress, especially if you have worn it a lot. (Because we all know the meanest paradox about old garments that looks like new: chances are that they haven’t been worn that much.) And I proceeded to explore my own archive.

To make it more real – and restrictive – I’m looking only at actual garments, not accessories and adornments because that gets into family vintage too easily and where is the research value of that. And only the pre-2010 pieces are included to put a limit somewhere. So everything below will be at least 10 years old in 2020. Yeah, most of it overlaps with #100wears but indulge me…

*

Since 2003: The Bik Bok parka (the #100wears post)

The warmest garment I’ve owned in the last few decades. It gets few wears nowadays, because this parka lives in Rīga and gets worn only when it’s below 0ºC. The fluffy inside layer can be taken out in order to turn the parka into a trench-like thing. The garment as such is a bulky one, and not really flattering… but who cares when it’s -17ºC?

This parka has been fixed a couple of times (buttons, closures, worn-out finishings, etc.) but there is no reason to give it away and look for another one with my current lifestyle. This garment has never lived out of Latvia and I’m not planning to take it with me. I need it back there where real winter does occasionally happen.

January 2004 vs. January 2019:

*

Since 2005: The green patterned secondhand top

This no-brand pure-plastic top came to me in a Humana shop during my first visit to Barcelona in 2005. And we’ve been together ever since. So much so that the dye has been worn off from the elbows… it has received minor fixes at the seams, but nevertheless lives to prove that plastic is forever. Also, the shape and the pattern are great.

April 2006 vs. December 2019:

*

Since 2005: The Street One jacket (the #100wears post and the refashioning post)

I’ve talked so much about this jacket already, see the links above, but it just keeps being a key garment of my wardrobe… my most worn layer in 2019, btw.

May 2005 vs. November 2019:

*

Since 2005: The purple Cecil top

This top is pure magic in confirming that great quality, lasting cotton jersey is possible. My mom wore this one at the beginning, then I took over and have been wearing since 2005. Yes, not very intensively as it has always stayed in Rīga, but not having even had an unraveled thread is an amazing achievement in this world of crap fast fashion jersey. People, it is possible to make quality jersey stuff if you do it well!

November 2005 vs. February 2018:

*

Since 2006: The fluffy Seppälä coat

This coat has had a slightly turbulent history but it has come around since then. Originally, it was almost knee-length, straight-cut, and bought by my then-boyfriend. We had identical fluffy coats. Yes, his-and-her towels. Sometime during my undergrad, around 2010/2012, I had the splendid idea to ask our trusted seamstress in Rīga to reshape it: make it shorter, make a hood out of the cut-off bits, make a proper zipper closure (the original had only a couple of buttons). She did an amazing job, and it has been working pretty well as my not-that-cold-winter coat since then.

March 2006 vs. March 2019:

*

Since 2008: The HnM sweetheart dress

This dress was one of those classic feel-good impulse buys. At HnM, no less. But I was lonely and depressed in Brussels, so I had my reasons. And it was a general fail… I’ve done my best throughout the years, but this dress hasn’t become a favorite (it has seen many operas, though). I’ve been resisting my rational impulses to finally get rid of it and have implemented several adjustments: fixing the unreliable neckline with added straps, wearing layer above it not to worry about pieces of my body being too much for this classic cut… Well, now, finally, it is undergoing a radical change trying to preserve the part that I like and ditch the bothersome one. I hope to be able to show it in its new incarnation very soon…

December 2008 vs. February 2018:

*

Since 2009: The Hummel Madelaine jacket (the #100wears post)

This jacket is legendary! It is supposedly a comfy (zipper pockets!) exercise piece, for running and such. But for me it has been an *everything* jacket for solid 10 years. Again, the quality of the finishings is astonishing, the shape is great… what else can a girl want from a jacket?

October 2009 vs. October 2019:

*

So, are there any solid conclusion regarding the pieces that have stayed with me for years? Well, there are no bottoms among them. They are often fixed and transformed pieces. And some of them are those with a  very definite purpose that happens so rarely that looking for a more optimal garment would not really be worth the while…

What are your oldest garments still in rotation? Are those the beloved, fixed for the n-th time pieces or those ‘it looks new because I never really wore it’ garments? Do you have any real family vintage that you actually wear?

#whatiwore 2019w49 + Sunday links

*

Orden a Tres podcast

Your all-time favorite KonMari™-dedicated podcast is back, this week talking about the horror that occasionally strikes mid-tidying festival: the fact that you have to dismantle your current order to tidy and to rebuild a new one. Here: Ep. 14 ¿Cómo sobrevivir al desorden mientras ordenas? You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher, and iTunes.

*

And how about a cauldron full of hot strong love fun reading matter?

1. This is just too cute… basically, how very durably, hence still relevantly well-dressed Meg Ryan was in You’ve Got Mail: Lessons from… 1998.

2. And how toxic garbage is forever, and sometimes somebody has the power to make it go away: Buried leather to be excavated from Wolverine tannery site. A required read for all those claiming that leather is the sustainable option… as it, obviously, depends.

3. A couple of interesting observations from the world of high fashion: Millennials Are Taking Over Fashion, Too and, about designers with large firm experience striking out on their own, Doing It on Their Own: An unemployed designer who headed a fashion house can wait for another opportunity or just get on with it.

Also, this: Fashion’s Latest Trend: Eco Bragging Rights. If only they happened to become real achievements…

4. Just a reminder from The State of Fashion 2020, this is where the money is in fashion:

Clearly, we are still being fucked by the athleisure, fast fashion and luxury people. And, while these people are in charge – and aware that consumers want at least an appearance of sustainability – please memorize this: Greenwashing: How to See Through Disingenuous Eco-Marketing.

5. At least the most weird-looking cultural appropriation has been cancelled: Dior Finally Says No to Sauvage.

6. Well, it is turtleneck weather in this hemisphere, so (a) My First-Date Turtleneck Has Never Failed Me; (b) The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes and the Black Turtleneck; and (c) Skip Grad School, Buy A Turtleneck.

7. FYI, ‘you can’t be sure that you don’t have coerced labour in your supply chain if you do cotton business in China‘.

In other China-news, What Does the Chinese Government’s Social Credit System Mean for China-Dependent Luxury Brands?

*

What I was writing about a year ago: December Swap (8th!) recap.

What I was writing about two years ago: #KonMari for advanced minimalists. The obvious point: the tidying festival won’t be as cathartic if you have been already mindfully reducing your possessions. However, interesting insights are still possible.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w49 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: my mom’s trench, the Muroexe boots, the Hunting Ensemble red beanie, the Devold sweater, Veja Wata Pierre sneakers.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w49 + Sunday links. Also appeared this week: my mom’s trench and the Muroexe boots.

*

#100wears: Muroexe Materia boots

This is not a love song. In contrast to most #100wears posts, this is not a story of a garment being so incredibly useful and/or pleasant that I haven’t been able to stop wearing it. No, this is an ode to me (and maybe my unnecessary stubbornness) for having put up with a suboptimal pair of footwear for three years. Now, after 120 wears and a boot alternative at the horizon (stay tuned), I’m ready to end this rather sad affair.

I bought them on sales in January 2017 for 65€. You can still get them for 95€, probably cheaper during the January sales. C was excited about the brand (he has acquired a pair of sneakers since then and is very satisfied), Juan already owned several pairs and was very happy with them. They were made in Spain (some of their production is made in China, though) and vegan. The marketing was sleek and aspirational, just look at the little tag that came with the boots:

I don’t know which size I ordered (and the size tag has long rubbed off) but I had to change them for a smaller pair, most probably 40 to 39. I had to bring them to a cobbler a year after having bought them to re-glue the sole (7.50€), and will do it again before bringing them to the December swap because they are letting water in again.

Please, understand me correctly! These boots have been a reasonably OK experience for the occasional Barcelona rain and the very mild Mediterranean winter. But that is also the whole point: they perform just OK when a pair of sneakers would do better and are suboptimal for the weather they were supposedly created for. I have several major complaints and both are purely design issues that somebody hasn’t really thought through:

1. The sole has 0 grip! Dude, you have to be an idiot to make a rain boot that has no traction on slippery surfaces. Or somebody who is so Mediterranean that ‘they forgot’. It is ridiculous. The only way you can walk in these is what my dad would call ‘as when they put little booties on a dog’. I have had only one serious fall while wearing these, though. On the stairs of my apartment building, slipping and then sliding for a while ending in a broken lunch box and a very painful elbow for weeks. But that was scary and could’ve ended much worse. The point was brought home to me most powerfully on a dinner date with Julie where I complained about this and we then proceeded to compare the soles of our ankle boots: hers was a grippy Danish thing made for all the tricky textures of wet leaves and slush, mine was a Barcelona fantasy of a wet weather boot.

No, you don’t want a surface this smooth in contact with the famous Barcelona tiles when those are wet.

2. As for being ‘waterproof’, as promised on the website, and setting aside the fact that the joining line is clearly not that solid (2 re-gluings in 3 years), they have exactly the same problem as all waterproof lace-up boots. Your feet will be dry as long as no water reaches the lacing… after that you are done and can go home. Or spend all day with wet feet (that won’t get dry because they are encased in waterproof material). But, I’ll admit, this complaint is equally valid for a pair of classic Docs and other similar wares. Those, however, might be slightly more breathable…

3. This might be a less universal complaint but it does ruin my experience with these boots. What they call ‘goma’ / ‘rubbery texture’ on their website (a side note on both prices and text differing between the Spanish and English versions of the Muroexe universe) feels incredibly plastic IRL. I own a pair of Nokian Hai rainboots and the texture is very different. In the Muroexe boot my feet feel trapped in plastic bags.

I also happen to have very sweaty feet… so the experience has been very sweaty and very smelly, as the already noted waterproofness will take care that nothing evaporates. My boots have probably spent more time on the balcony stuffed full of lavender bags than they have spent on my feet. And the insoles have seen several machine washes.

4. In comparison with the rest, this might be minor, but still speaks about the design flaws: the laces won’t stay laced. I don’t know what they are made of – and they are cute – but never in my adult life I’ve had to redo my laces so often. In combination with wet weather and the 0 grip soles this becomes not only annoying but dangerous. The only way I found to deal with this has been tucking the ends of the laces in the boot itself. Not optimal.

*

My decision to finally let go of these boots actually has to do with having had to spend several days nonstop in them… I was fine wearing these for a couple of hours on a rainy day in Barcelona, and I always had a pair of office shoes to change in. But I took only the Muroexe boots for me on the Portuguese train trip, spent five days wearing them for extended time periods… and I was disgusted. See you never, Muroexe, we are not a good match!

On the other hand, the aesthetics are good and translate well across a wide range of formal to informal styles:



*

So come pick them up at the swap if you are around size 39/40, walk carefully, and are not prone to sweaty feet. That plastic is sturdy enough and shows little wear, so maybe they can be your new best friends.

Have you had this kind of complicated garment relationship where you know very well how suboptimal the thing is but are very reluctant to let go? Are you suffering something like this now? I do suggest that you look for a way out, especially if your suffering is physical or endangers your health.

#whatiwore 2019w48 + Sunday links

Are the little gray cells hungry? Here, give them some of this:

1. The Black Friday came and went… and here we still are sharing the joy of getting something we really wanted cheaper while condemning buying stuff just because it’s discounted: (a) Black Friday is bad for business; (b) Black Friday is bad for the planet and should be banned, say French MPs; and (c) Why Some Brands Are Taking a Stand Against Black Friday.

2. ‘When I start convincing myself that I’m a useless scrap of spoiling sentient meat whose sole value is in whether I meet the Sisyphean standards of productivity I keep setting for myself, that is my depression talking. It’s also the way culture, on some level, speaks to all of us who struggle. The idea that we can never work hard enough or be good enough. […] Almost everyone I love is having a hard time right now. Almost everyone I know comes home from a hard day being ground on the wheel of late-stage capitalism and tries to wrap their shattered brain around the very real prospect of species collapse. And almost all of them believe that they’re uniquely awful, that others have it much worse, that they could snap out of it if they weren’t so weak and lazy. Unfortunately, this means that on top of having to save the world, many of them also now have to handle major depression. And when you are depressed, recovery can feel just as impossible as saving the world.’ Laurie Penny dixit.

3. It is fun to observe when people have clearly published their first knee-jerk reaction and only *after* that they have researched the topic a bit. Exhibit A: Left Field’s Latest Jeans are Literally Bananas. Exhibit B: Left Field NYC and The Appeal of Banana Denim. Ugh… Well, go and read up. Here are some suggestions to begin with: Forget about cotton, we could be making textiles from banana and pineapple and What is banana fibre and how do you make textiles from it?

4. To understand what very curious place the menswear enthusiasts come from, read this 1960 essay The Art of Wearing Clothes by George Frazier. And read the fangirling those same menswear enthusiasts express about George.

5. If the phrase ‘the Japanese designers’ have ever given you a pause when used as something that everybody knows what it means, the first couple paragraphs of this will explain what they are referring to: This Winter’s Tonalwave.

6. Oh, the power of color: Monopolizing and Monetizing a Color: What is the Value of Tiffany & Co.’s Trademark Blue Hue? and The Red Coats Are Coming: Jane Fonda’s protest look makes a statement of its own.

7. A basic primer about the fact that no fiber is perfect: Synthetic vs. Natural Fibers – For Your Health and the Planet’s.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: Maker’s Pride: Zipper Bag for My Yoga Mat. Pride indeed… few things offer a bigger happiness score than making something from scratch!

What I was writing about two years ago: Stop browsing fast fashion, browse the internet instead. A fun little suggestion to engage the fantasy instead of e-commerce. Still valid!

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w48 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: Liisa skater skirt, Muroexe boots, my mom’s trench, Veja Wata Pierre, and the swap Zara cardigan.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w48 + Sunday links. And also wore this week: Hummel Madelaine jacket, Muroexe boots, and my mom’s trench,.

#whatiwore 2019w47 + Sunday links

Here, feed the brain:

1. Fashion works in mysterious ways and that is why we love it – Woodstock Was the Birthplace of Festival Fashion: ‘That it never occurred to the group who created festival fashion that it might one day turn into a style sector of its own; that it would birth an era of mass-produced ersatz “individuality” […] is reflective of the naïveté in which such fashion was born, and the calculated way nostalgia for that time has been exploited.’

2. A good quality overview of the staple garment: The Military Origins of the Cardigan. For other similar stories, turn to Object Lessons.

3. Fashion writers still trying to wrap their heads around the death of retail and the particular case of Barneys’ in exhaustive detail: (a) Of Barneys’ Bankruptcy, Pride and the Fall; (b) “Private Sales” for Recently-Acquired Barneys’ “Most Loyal” Customers to Begin This Week; (c) Why Discount Retailers and Luxury Titans are Thriving While “Balanced” Entities are Closing Up Shop; and (d) The Impossible Alchemy of Barneys at Saks.

4. For men interested in fashion: How to Receive a Compliment.

5. This is a very interesting insight in the pursuits where the collectors, the sartorialists and the minimalists at times coincide, the pursuit of the optimal thing (that never really arrives): Subduction.

6. A promising turn in pressures to green oneself for the brands: Prada Just Inked the Fashion Industry’s First Loan that Links Interest Rates to Sustainability Efforts.

7. A reminder of how socks and boots are made: A Quick Tour of the CHUP Socks Factory and Don’t Throw Your Boots Away – An Interview with Bootmaker Felix Jouanneau.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: Beyond repair: ZIB and Amoralle leggings. Sometimes things die, especially if they contain elastane and you insist on washing them in hot water… Learn from me and don’t boil your elastic garments, please!

What I was writing about two years ago: How to Survive *Winter* in Barcelona. The Mediterranean winter is garbage if you work from home (due to the historical building practices), so there you have some of my accumulated expertise on the topic.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w47 + Sunday links. Also wearing this week: my aunt’s PhD Dress, the Lithuanian-made Devold sweater, Liisa skater skirt, the Muroexe Materia boots.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w47 + Sunday links. Repeating this week: the red flea market sweater and the Muroexe Materia boots.

#whatiwore 2019w46 + Sunday links

Here, some smart porridge for your brain:

1. While I find all the textile innovation news cute – such as Candiani Creates First Biodegradable Stretch Denim – I am so much more into the reduction and true recycling as in making stuff from not virgin materials, preferably not even grinding/melting it down beforehand. So you can understand my complete love for Patagonia’s ReCrafted: (a) These Are Clothes Made From Other Clothes; (b) the workshop that does it for them in LA, Suay; and the final products (c) Patagonia ReCrafted Collection. Obviously, this excitement just shows how rare reusing materials has become and the price tags on these new things is an honest reflection of the complexity of the job. It is much easier to make stuff from new materials…

2. Yay, there are limits to shameless copying! Nirvana is bigger than Marc Jacobs: Marc Jacobs Can’t Kick Nirvana Lawsuit as Court Refuses to Dismiss the Trademark / Copyright Case.

3. In case you needed a reminder why e-commerce is mostly an inefficient garbage nightmare: China faces waste hangover after Singles’ Day buying binge.

4. I present to you a new heroine for your fashion altar – Sandy Schreier – with a wondrously random story of how a couture collection might start: The Met’s Next Big Fashion Show Comes From One Little-Known Woman.

5. Surprise! Instagram Is Great for Models. It’s Also Good for Predators.

6. Although Boris is old news by now, the analysis of his dressing is also an analysis of the man (explaining both his rise and fall): ‘As a longtime fan of P.G. Wodehouse and Chaucer, and a student of history, Mr. Johnson surely understands the way bumbling plays in both the public mind and the British character narrative. […] He doesn’t just break the boring old rules, he blows raspberries at them.’ Extra points for comparing him with the Duchess of Devonshire feeding her chickens in an evening gown.

7. And a complementary explanation from George linking it all back to particular educational practices: ‘Boarding school, a peculiarly British form of abuse, has devastating impacts not only on the boarders, but on those they grow up to dominate.’

*

What I was writing about a year ago: Book review: The Joy of Less. While most of what Francine is saying reads like commonplace now, it wasn’t so in 2010. So it makes sense to revisit one of the first voices of this wave of minimalism.

What I was writing about two years ago: The Pink Post: Instrumental and subversive uses of the traditionally feminine.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w46 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: Veja Arcade sneakers, Veja Wata Pierre sneakers, and the Street One jacket.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w46 + Sunday links. Still wearing: Veja Arcade sneakers, my mom’s Zara trench, and the Portuguese cape.

Beyond repair: Faber-Castell Scribolino

This could be also a #100wears post or no post at all as this is not about garments. But having my favorite pen dying felt much more important than many of my clothing acquisitions or bye-byes, so here we go…

There are a couple of contextual things I have to establish for you to grasp the importance of my pen for me:

(a) I am a writing / doodling / drawing creature. I write my morning pages and to-do lists. I keep a paper agenda. I draw a lot. And I am the person who will be doodling while listening in class, both if the contents are gripping and if I’m bored. This is to say that I use writing implements probably much more than the average millennial.

(b) Writing and drawing tools have been fascinating me for a long time. One of my biggest pleasures as a child above the age of 7 was getting some colorful pens. That was around 1995, they were a new thing in the post-Soviet geography, they weren’t cheap… and I loved them. The sparkly ones, the neon ones, the perfumed markers, the stamp markers. Oh! I was a drawing creature back then too.

(c) I ditched the ballpoint pen long time ago. Exactly as the jelly rollers and Stabilo Point 88 were coming in, I realized that the ubiquitous ballpoint was a torture implement designed to make people allergic to writing. While I have come across one that I liked writing with since then (the Latvian Youth Council branded ones around 2006 that just happened to be comfy), I’ve been writing with no-to-little pressure tools since I was around 12. If I find myself in need to pick up a ballpoint today, it really feels awful and I do not understand how millions around the world can use that thing.

(d) And sometime later I discovered fountain pens. Here a tip of my hat goes to my first visual arts teacher who had us, gnomes between the ages of 7 and 11, working a lot with Indian ink in her weekly classes… and applying it with loose nibs attached to a pencil or brush handle with a string or wire, not even proper pens. It could have been because it was cheap. Again, those were the mid-1990s in Latvia. So I wasn’t afraid of nibs. And the idea of a fountain pen seemed cool. I might have been 15 or so when I bought a very cheap one… and was hooked. No pressure on the paper, felt artsy, could can mix colors by switching the cartridges. I remember that my physics teacher once asked to see with what the hell I was writing with as she couldn’t read a thing from my exam. She blamed the pen, I still think it was just my handwriting.

*

One of those cheap fountain pens + Stabilo Point 88. February 2008, Ciudad Real.

So I was playing with fountain pens and using them parallely to other stationery, especially the Stabilo Point 88… but with years it kind of narrowed and when entering in the University in 2009 I had *my pen* and pretty much refused to write with anything else. That pen was a Faber-Castell Scribolino. This one:

October 2009, Brussels. Several Stabilo Point 88 in the background.

I must have stumbled upon it after my n-th cheapest fountain pen had died in a shop in Rīga – Valda Ošiņa rakstāmlietas – that for years has been selling quality stationery, including the Faber-Castell goodies. The price was much more than I had ever paid for a pen but still felt reasonable. It must have been 15€ or so. The brutal design and color amused me… And so did the fact that these are made for children: ‘all features designed to support your child in taking his or her initial steps towards learning to write’. And raises a question why can’t adults have comfy pens…

A throughout scraping of my photo archive has revealed, though, that the green pen didn’t last long. I mostly lost pens instead of breaking them then… and by May 2010 I had replaced it with this nameless blue one:

I still remember my frustration when I realized that I had lost that blue one even sooner than the previous one. But I did it on my way back to Rīga after my first BA year, so I marched right into the same shop and got me another Scribolino, a pink one:

The compositions I deemed to be a good idea in November 2011, Salamanca.

And it lasted exactly a year, as my data suggests that at least between June and November 2012 I was writing with this anonymous Kukuxumusu-themed pen:

And now, only after this double intro of 700+ words comes she, the Scribolino that stayed with me from 2013 till the last week when she was officially pronounced dead by the very helpful people at Casa de la Estilográfica. If you ever want to talk fountain pens in Barcelona, btw, those are your people…

Yes, it is exactly the same Scribolino in pink again. But with the difference that it stayed with me for ~6.5 years being my precious. And was omnipresent throughout the MA and PhD, all the travels, all the random flatlays, including my ‘see the typical contents of my bag’ post of 2018. It has been the little pink ‘where’s Waldo’ that always seemed cheerful. And people asked weird questions and – most often – couldn’t write with it even when trying. I can think of only one person who has ever asked to try my fountain pen and actually been successful at writing with it properly.

June 2013, Salamanca.

May 2014, a train station somewhere in the UK.

July 2015, Barcelona.

April 2016, New York.

August 2017, Barcelona.

June 2018, Brussels.

September 2019, Rīga.

And it was while using this pen that somebody (I really don’t remember who) told me that the an old wisdom says that one should never lend one’s quill, horse or wife because you have them molded to your taste and other person either could not use them or would break them in differently… Well, at least about quills/nibs that is true. The rest of the sexist implications of this piece of wisdom you will have to figure out on your own.

But the deformation is real. And not only of the nib, here you have a comparison between that 2013 Scribolino that has been in active use since then and a new one:


Yes, the innumerable hours of use had sculpted away the grippy part as to make to underlying white plastic visible! And the initial shape has been heavily altered for it being a supposedly solid thing (already ergonomically molded, supposedly). And here is the autopsy pic which explains both this post and why I have a brand new one to make this side-by-side comparison:

The nib is broken and the ink does not flow through it properly. I asked the Casa de la Estilográfica people who recommended just buying new instead of changing the nib. And after going to all the big stationery shops in Barcelona – and unable to wait for more than a month without a pen (read: this pen) until I get to Rīga in December – I just ordered one online (17.55€).

It does not feel the same. It could be that Faber-Castell has started to skimp on materials in the last 6 years: the grippy parts that felt silicone-like on the pink pen feels distinctly plastic on this one. I really hope that it might change with rigorous contact with my greasy hands. The nib is finer, too. And I don’t like it as much for drawing… Here again I hope that I will just wear that iridium tip down to a wider stroke. Funny how I notice all the little differences. We were very close with the pink one, after all. I’m now doubting if I should’ve tried to insist on just changing the nib… Well, as this blue Scribolino will hopefully be my new best friend until at least 2025, we better make it work.

*

Do you have similar utensil / stationery / everyday things compulsions? Something that very few people seem to care about but you just cannot use whatever? (I could also write posts on notebooks, agendas, and paper in general, mind you.) Do you have a recommendation for a great pen/marker/notebook I should take a look at? In Barcelona the ‘cheap but reasonable’ end seems to be dominated by basic Lamy fountain pens. I tried one in the Casa de la Estilográfica, and it felt quite dreamy… ♥

#whatiwore 2019w45 + Sunday links

Yeah, the cold weather is *in*, unclear if to call this autumn or winter, though… but the change was swift, and those Monday bare legs are unimaginable on Sunday.

*

Your brain will burp and say thanks afterwards:

1. While I don’t feel that puffer jackets are somehow ‘recent trend’, that Charles James satin evening puffer from the 1930s is my discovery of the day: A Brief History of the Puffer Jacket and How the puffer jacket took over the world.

2. Surprise, surprise! This is what we need consulting/research companies for: Buying Clothes Doesn’t Really Make People Happy Anymore, Says Morgan Stanley. Well, if have finally ‘reached peak happiness with clothing purchases’, maybe we can now focus on something more important… In additional d-oh! news: Fashion addiction: expensive clothes hid my loneliness – then I gave 90% of them away.

3. I want to be like George when I grow up: ‘A few hours after this column is published, I hope to be in a police cell. I don’t yet know what the charge will be, where I will be arrested or when, but I know that if I go home this evening without feeling the hand of the law on my sleeve, I will have failed.’ Being like Jane is also OK with me: Jane Fonda got arrested 4 Fridays in a row. This week, there was ice cream.

4. I’m not sure if I’m convinced (and it falls in all the usual fallacies when trying to compare ‘now’ with ‘all the previous time’) but the research question is an interesting one: The 2010s Broke Our Sense Of Time.

5. And in the ‘how to survive winter’ news (because it is clearly a whole genre): (a) The Norwegian Secret To Enjoying A Long Winter; (b) How to Win at Winter, Scandinavian Style; (c) How to survive the winter: the expert guide to staying warm, healthy and happy; and the cutest of them all which resonates also with my (childhood) experiences (d) Winter is the season of my childhood. I’m glad it’s nearly here. Also, 7 Fabrics To Keep You Warm This Winter.

6. Bernadette Banner is my new internet love and role model! Liisa sent me a link to her Buying a Knockoff of My Own Dress: An Educated Roast, and down the youtube rabbit hole I went. Highly recommended for both entertainment, aesthetic and educational purposes.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: KonMari experience: Mara. Ever wondered how would it be to do a KonMari tidying festival with a consultant guiding you through it? There you have it… Also, ♥

What I was writing about two years ago: #100wears: Ginta’s gray cardigan. The sturdiest form fitting cardigan I’ve ever known… RIP 2012-2019. I’m still looking for an equivalent…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w45 + Sunday links. Still wearing this week: Street One jacket, Zara-swap cardigan, my mom’s gingham dress, and Veja Wata sneakers.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w45 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: Street One jacket, red flea sweater, and Veja Arcade sneakers.

#whatiwore 2019w44 + Sunday links

*

Here, a spoonful of brain-food:

1. The Color of Protest: ‘Imagine a world where you couldn’t wear black. Where would that leave the beatniks and the goths? The Audrey Hepburn-wannabes? Where would it leave the fashion folk, and all the social and cultural groups that have seized on the color as an identifier thanks to its long-term associations with … well, take your pick … darkness, existential angst, artistic endeavor, intimidation, obscurity, rigor, efficiency, mystery, depression and sophistication? Where would it leave the protesters?’ Also, China bans exports of black clothing to Hong Kong amid protests; all mailings to city ‘severely investigated’, courier firm worker says and In Addition to Banning Face Masks, the Chinese Government Has Been Blocking the Shipment of Black Clothing to Hong Kong.

2. Post-industrialism alright: Men Will Lose the Most Jobs to Robots, and That’s OK.

3. Here, get to know Greta better: “We Are Striking to Disrupt the System”: An Hour with 16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg.

4. On (now deceased) attempts of manufacturing cool: Was the Gap Ever Cool? A Look at 50 Years in Denim and Khaki.

5. A basic reminder of what greenwashing is (and how we are surrounded by that shit): (in Spanish) Greenwashing, ¿y eso, qué es?

6. The coat season is here for the menswear blogs: (a) Style & Fashion Drawings: Ideally Enough Coats; (b) The Nearly Forgotten Balmacaan; and (c) The Other Kind of Slip-On.

7. And a little fun story of one woman’s home sewing becoming a hat brand: The History of Stormy Kromer and the Iconic Winter Hat.

*

What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Rayon shorts. On those wardrobe champions that are both outerwear and underwear…

What I was writing about two years ago: Curating the 100% comfort wardrobe. Me suggesting to adopt garments and give them a trial period because you’ll never know after just trying something on.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w44 + Sunday links. I was also wearing back then: the Street One jacket, the red flea market sweater, Veja Wata Pierre, Zara-Swap cardigan.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w44 + Sunday links. Repeating this week: the Street One jacket and WAG skirt.