#whatiwore 2019w12 + Sunday links

Here, baby, eat, you look hungry:

1. There was a time when influencers were called socialites and they weren’t paid because that would have been vulgar: Lee Radziwill, the Original Influencer and Marella Agnelli, Society’s ‘Last Swan’ and a Passionate Gardener, Is Dead at 91.

2. While we’re on celebrities, I find it very cute when the NYT complains about Lady Gaga being to classy and boring: Lady Gaga’s Long Road to That Giant Diamond Necklace. On related red carpet news, At the Grammys, Sisters Dressing for Themselves (oh, I loved Cardi B’s pearl oyster costume!) and Who Are You Wearing and Where Did They Donate?

3. And here is a bunch of sexism in fashion news, just if you were missing a couple of reminders: (a) Has #MeToo changed what we wear to work? (b) The Mess of Modern Power Dressing; (c) Women Were Granted Just 4 Percent of Patents in the U.S. Over the Past Decade; (d) Women Finally Get Their Own World Cup Soccer Style.

4. “On Turnbull’s theory, cathedrals aren’t just building sites. They are laboratories. In methods such as this, the thinking and making are one and the same. Craft is design”: Craft as Design.

5. “Technology is essentially about creating utility and spreading it over billions of people. Fashion is about creating a moment, a trend, a romance and spreading it across a small amount of influential people”: Is Apple Saying Goodbye to Fashion?

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What I was writing about a year ago – #100wears: Trench.

What I was writing about two years ago: My minimalist well-being routine.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w12 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w12. Still the same: the red flea sweater and the gray cardigan.

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Are there any classical red carpet/showbiz outfits that have inspired you (maybe indirectly but still)? Rihanna’s nude look? JLo’s navel décolletage? Avrile Lavigne’s neckties? Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday? Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby?

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

#whatiwore 2019w11 + Sunday links

Here, the brain nom-noms are in:

1. No-plastic people reflecting (in Spanish): ¿Merece la pena [vivir sin plástico]? and – for those who still haven’t connected the dots and think that balloons are cute – ¿Lanzarías basura al cielo?

2. An example how local action brings meaning and results – “A world-changing experiment in London’s poorest borough shows how to break out of our disastrous spiral of alienation” – Mutually Assured Salvation.

3. Even you are against animal fibers in fashion (me? that’s another post…), you have to know why people have been using them for so long and still do: The Other Kind of Cashmere. And for a bit more practical tips on one type of animal-derived materials from people who go as far as to remind that “leather is just another type of skin […] and, like your own skin, it needs to be moisturized every so often” (that is bad taste imho): The Do’s and Dont’s of Breaking In a New Pair of Leather Boots.

4. I started following The Times’s fashion director and chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman very recently (it is paywalled after a few free articles per month but you can get around it with ‘private browsing’ that any decent browser will provide you with) and, while the actual reviews of catwalk shows do not touch me, there are a lot of pieces I read with interest and link here. And the whole logic of high fashion is one of most fascinating aspects of it: (a) Why We Cover High Fashion; (b) When a Fashion Statement Has Real Meaning; and, by The Fashion Law but still in line with my interest in the twisted world of high fashion, (c) What Can the Fashion Industry Learn from a Legal Squabble Over Video Games & Tattoos?

5. And that peculiar genre of fashion essay bringing together the history of battlefield medicine, childhood memories, and raincoats: On Nostalgia and Raincoats.

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What I was writing about a year ago: My sustainability fails.

What I was writing about two years ago – Baby Steps: Detoxing A Wardrobe Takes Time.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w11 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w11. Not that many items coincide (only the gray dress and the big scarf) but you can see what the No Pasarán t-shirt was like before it became an applique.

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Those white pants is a new thing for me… What are you looking forward to wear this spring? New cuts? New colors? New mix’n’matches? Or just baring some skin will be enough?

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

#whatiwore 2019w10 + Sunday links

A bowl of brain food for everybody! You are welcome.

1. The International Women’s Day was on March 8, so this is the time of the year for a public service announcement that fashion is an incredibly sexist industry, starting from the gender imbalance among famous designers and unattainable beauty standards down to all girls and women doing the dyeing, cutting, sewing, packing… while being paid painfully low wages and navigating a world of discrimination and exploitation. Exhibit (a) She for She – Why Fast Fashion is a Feminist Issue; (b) Does Your Feminist T-Shirt Empower The Women Who Made It? + more on the Spice Girls t-shirt scandal: How do you know if your clothes are being made ethically? (c) Why Fashion Matters for International Women’s Day; (d) Brands Need Different Priorities on International Women’s Day. The most robust strategy is to wear your old t-shirt again and again to show your solidarity for their work (mend it if need be, or make your own) instead of falling for the pinkwashing pop feminism sells!

2. If you want the politics of it, here: (a) Bangladesh Government set to throw away Accord achievements; (b) What a Modern Slavery Law Means for the Fashion Industry; (c) Fashion Revolution Statement on House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Report: Fixing Fashion. tl;dr is that efforts are concentrated in making the ‘my supply chain is so complex, I didn’t know’ defense impossible which is a very reasonable step.

3. To restate the obvious, here you have Louise from Miss Pandora reminding that being a feminist does not preclude dressing in a way typically perceived as feminine (in French and English): Le féminisme, la féminité et moi. I already talked about the subversive power of pink here – The Pink Post: Instrumental and subversive uses of the traditionally feminine.

(The only downside of that Louise’s post was learning that HnM released a William Morris collection last year; who was the idiot managing his estate that allowed this desecration of the legacy of a radical socialist reformer?)

4. Apparently a victory for the textile engineering geeks: Synthetic spider silk is finally appearing in products consumers can buy. No, better don’t tell me why a wristwatch band would be the place you’d apply ‘biosteel’… the article does offer more reasonable uses, though.

5. Just for fun and to open a thinking space about the relationship between the author and the public persona we all project: Literary Hoaxes and the Ethics of Authorship.

+ an extra for the Latvian-speakers (čau!) from yours truly: 8. marts bez tulpītēm un jociņiem par Marsu un Venēru.

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What I was writing about a year ago – Some things change: My bag now and 10 years ago.

What I was writing about two years ago: To All New Arrivals (Winter 2017), We Love You.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w10 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w10.

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What’s the utopian fashion innovation you’d welcome most? Self cleaning fibers? True no waste circular reuse? Self-lacing Back to the Future shoes for those difficult mornings?

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

Faking being a redhead, since 1999

It’s only hair, it grows back.

My mom was always very permissive with fashion and bodily modifications. And there were some things I’m not sure I’d be OK with now, believe me. It gave me a great freedom to explore and express myself, and took any ‘forbidden fruit’ temptations out of dressing, piercings, hair dyeing… and for some reason I was taken away by idea of being a redhead with freckles from very early on. A major influence was a hairstyle book dedicated to braids I got when around 8 that among other models featured a girl just like that! I’m unable to find a pic of the book cover online, it was around 1996 after all.

At the age of 11 (that’s 1999!) I had two transformative experiences on the same day: trying nail polish and a temporary coloring shampoo in red. I abandoned the nail polish in 2004 after realizing that it took too much effort to do it well, but the red dye stayed and became permanent. I wish I got an euro every time people assume this is my natural hair color or ask which my ‘real’ hair color is. For a while I quipped back that red was the real one while another – let’s be polite and call it ash blonde – is the natural one.

Since then the only time I’ve seen my natural hair color was after I shaved my head in June 2008. These are the steps I went through from full locks to running back to henna as soon as my hair was long enough, i.e. January 2009. The gray ‘pixie’ (it was never a proper haircut, they just grew back like this) was so much fun for both me and my mom – we finally got to see and document that natural color:





I switched to henna sometime in my late teens, and I haven’t looked back. I started with henna from a Hare Krishna store in Riga. Lucky for me, it was a decent product, because at that point I could’ve easily fallen for whatever shit. I did no previous research, put it right over my chemical dye (thing nobody in the dyeing world approves of, because there is no guarantee of the result), and my mother never asked if putting unknown powders into my head was a good idea. She actually helped me with it, convinced that I was too sloppy about it. We hadn’t heard about black henna and people getting seriously harmed. The worst thing I’ve tried since then was ‘henna’ brought from Egypt as a souvenir that stained my hands pink, and by then I clearly knew that something was off with that product. I don’t remember, though, if I used that pink stuff on my hair. I think I did. I don’t think I ever looked up what my henna was made of. As far as I purchased from a trusted-enough place, and it looked and smelled alright, I didn’t bother.

In Spain I have mostly used the Radhe Shyam henna. They are widely available in health food stores here, have pretty boxes and offer a gradient of colors (a red flag if you are looking for sth ‘authentic’). A random video of my favorite whole-foods-plant-based guru Michael Greger sent me googling in September. The video is rather alarming and could be more precise in describing that the health hazard in ‘henna’ use comes from the additives and therefore the warning that ‘according to FDA guidelines, henna shouldn’t be applied to skin at all’ does not apply to the actual henna, defined as pure lawsonia inermis. So I went looking what my henna contains… pretty sure that nothing too horrible, but curious now. I still can’t believe I hadn’t done it the time I purchased the first package every time I had tried another brand! After so many years of flirting with veganism, you’d think that reading labels should be my number one step in every aspect of life.

The box I had listed as ingredients cassia obovata, lawsonia inermis, and sodium picramate. Assuming that they are listed according to proportion in total volume, turned out that my henna contains mainly not henna but another plant known as ‘blonde henna’ that produces the ‘treatment’ effect of the product and a seemingly inoffensive dye fixer. Both of these make sense as I did try a pure lawsonia inermis powder when my closest health store started to phase out the Radhe Shyam in favor of Khadi (funnily enough, they have now gone off the high horse ‘well, you know we want to carry only organic products’, and sell it again, ha!) And it felt… ineffective! Pretty much as if I hadn’t done anything, at least in comparison with the product I was used to. Now I know that that inefficiency was just natural, the pure henna without the gloss of cassia and without a dye fixer. And cost double, so I went back to the previous brand.

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If you’re interested, here’s what I do. It is a bit messy and takes time, I still prefer it over the ammonium stink:

1. Preparation for henna dyeing: Mixing it the day before with hot water to a consistency of a puré. For shortish to mid-length hair I use 50g (half package). The only add-ons I’ve experimented with was olive oil, and, no, don’t do that.

2. The weirdly smelling brown-green mud all the way the day after mixing it. I use an old toothbrush for the hairline and my hands afterwards. This is messy and not for perfectionists. A professional hairdresser would not be happy with my dye job. I just try to cover it all, assuming that the harder-to-get parts won’t dye as well. I tell myself that the effect is a bit more natural this way…

3. Now it has to work its magic for a couple of hours! I put a plastic bag and then a scarf to protect my surroundings. Henna washes out well, but why create work housework? Keep in mind that at least the scarf and the t-shirt will need a wash after this.

4. Then you wash it out and go on with your life! Repeat it when the need strikes. I have many layer of it already and the contrast is not striking when the roots are visible. If you want to be diligent it, about once a month is what you have to plan for. It washes vaguely orange first few times and stains linen. Again, nothing in comparison with the synthetic dyes. And the smell also lingers, especially when washing or sweating. I’m now used to it and don’t care, but there are people who find the experience – between the muddy too much.

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My recent conflict about dyeing is between looking to reduce even more the everyday hassle vs. my redhead identity. It is partly cultural, though. I have somehow accepted – thank you Latvian media and so many women around me – that that ash blonde base is very boring and inexpressive. I’d even dare to say that it is a rite of passage in average Latvian girl’s life (at least it felt so around 2005) to chose your color: varying shades of blonde are the most popular, then the dramatic ones opt for black or red, or being happy (or too busy doing something else) with what you’ve got. After seeing my dye fade and my roots appear for a couple of months at the end of 2018, I went back to my green powder. It felt very bright this time… So my current plan is to tone it down a bit shade-wise but keep up with the henna routine. Fun fact? I have no idea if I have gray hairs. A fully white head could be appealing too.

What are your hair dyeing adventures? Do you live it – be it dyed or natural – as a part of your identity?

#whatiwore 2019w09 + Sunday links

A note on the last outfit 1: Yes, the WAG top is still here, despite me almost discarding it before the February Swap. What happened was that I had already published that on Wednesday and Kristīne had already volunteered to adopt it when the inspiration struck. Yes, the little black dress (2008, HnM) is the perfect match for it. No fussing around the shoulder straps and the neckline of the dress while having all that skirt volume. And no need to redo the knot of the top or adjust the place where the skirt and top meets as it stays put atop of the dress. The LBD is probably living its last year as the ribbing of the top is starting to come apart, so we’ll see what the future brings… but so far these two are staying together for occasions when the floral corduroy bolero is a bit too much.

A note on the last outfit 2: This was the rare (first?) occasion when I took an outfit photo before actually wearing it. Typically I take my photos before leaving home or post factum. And, of course, weather decided not to cooperate! So my actual outer shell for Sunday ended up being my mom’s Ilse Jacobsen raincoat and wellies. It’s not a hand-me-down, I just borrowed it for a day. I have to admit that it brought me back to my thinking about getting a Stutterheim raincoat. But then I remembered that it rains rarely in Barcelona, so I don’t really need one… but I felt like a happy Pusheen while it lasted.

Nom-nom-nom, here comes your reading matter!

1. On racial representation in fashion: (a) Is Fashion All Blond? A Spoof Takes Aim + photos from the shoot that 1996 article refers to: Karl Lagerfeld’s Awesomely Weird “Scarlett ‘N The Hood” Photo Shoot; (b) Conspicuous by Their Presence + a more philosphical question about the use of bodies in fashion media – The big picture: models in Charles James gowns, New York, 1948.

2. And in other Lagerfeld-related news, well, he passed. So now you get to learn about him: (a) Karl Lagerfeld, 1933-2019; (b) Karl Lagerfeld, Designer Who Defined Luxury Fashion, Is Dead; (c) The Last Designer; (d) Resale Searches, Demand for Chanel Products is Up on the Heels of Lagerfeld’s Death.

3. Another write-up about Patagonia… no wonder, their products, their ethics, and their workplace culture are truly droolworthy – Behind Patagonia: Clothes, for the Outdoors. A strong backbone and 0 bullshit policy seem to be more common among outdoors apparel manufacturers, take this as another example – L.L.Bean: America’s Maine Outdoor Clothing Manufacturer.

4. And a dusting of the KonMari media frenzy: (a) The Joy Of Sparking Joy: A Kondo Scale For Clothing Enthusiasts; (b) (in Spanish) while not overtly a KonMari adept (she’s selling her own method, so that would be a marketing no-no), Alicia spills the beans on the changing ‘spark joy’ click-point, suggesting that 5 rounds (in 2 years or so) of repeated full-on tidying is around right to settle for a ‘never again’ state of tidy: Cuánto se tarda en ordenar una casa; (c) What White, Western Audiences Don’t Understand About Marie Kondo’s ‘Tidying Up’ – tl;dr: its animistic base that all things have a soul/spirit.

5. And, just for lavishly beautiful pictures of a completely unsustainable lifestyle, Louise from Miss Pandora took the Le Venise-Simplon-Orient-Express. Oh, my!

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What I was writing about a year ago – The reading matter: part 2 – Save and sustain.

What I was writing about two years ago: Is There a Winter in Barcelona? A Winter 2017 recap.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w09 + Sunday links. Heh, most of the usual winter suspects are still active…

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w9. First days of March in 2017 were clearly warmer than in 2018. And some of those garments are gone: the wrap skirt, the minion t-shirt, Julie’s linen dress, and my red denim jacket.

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What has the weather done for you lately? Any fashion despairs or wins? Is the spring there yet?

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

#whatiwore 2019w08 + Sunday links

Here, your grey cells will (burp and) thank you afterwards:

1. If you like being retold the obvious (but maybe catching a nice upcycling idea meanwhile): What’s Behind the Rise of Upcycled Garments?

2. Meanwhile, in racialized cosmetics news: Rwanda is the Third African Nation to Take a Stand on Skin-Lightening Products.

3. It’s always so cute when people write about stuff they are bewitched by, in this case, tailoring and leather: Making Bespoke Leather Jackets.

4. George Monbiot on toxic masculinity causing, apart from other stuff you had already thought about, higher mortality, mental health issues, and barriers for mitigating climate change: Testeria.

5. Alden Wicker observing (and excusing) our – as a society – lost ability to take care of our clothing: The spare button represents all the ways we fail to be good consumers and Put This On illustrating the usual procrastination around mending – Style & Fashion Drawings: Emergency Denim Repair. And the rather more uplifting (because those people dress dapper and buy investment pieces) reaction from Die, Workwear! – How We Lost Our Ability to Mend – that sends you back to your sewing kit.

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What I was writing about a year ago – #100wears: Arcopedico wedge ballerinas.

What I was writing about two years ago: Why We Swap and How.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w08 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w8.

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Where are you on the mender-procrastinator gradient? Do you mend, do you collect it all and then never fix it, or have you lost all hope and assume that torn pieces are just done for you?

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

#whatiwore 2019w07 + Sunday links

Here, fill the little mind attic:

1. Uniforms are a good idea for many people – and so many of you already have it down to a pair of dark skinnies and a t-shirt – so maybe embrace it (no, it’s not for men only): Five Reasons To Wear The Same Thing Every Day and An interview with a guy who wears the same thing every day. I tried a dresses-only period and clearly crave more diversity, you can read more about it here and here.

2. I never thought I’d dedicate a whole mini-section to Rihanna, but after seeing a completely honestly asked ‘Is Rihanna the Coco Chanel of the 21st century?‘ in the NYT, well, let’s go: (a) A Splashy Entrance by Rihanna Puts Chinese Designers in the Spotlight; (b) Kim K., J-Lo, Beyoncé [and Rihanna] Undress for Success With the Naked Look; (c) A Lawsuit Between Puma and Forever 21 Poses an Interesting Question About Celebrity “Creative Directors”; (d) Rihanna Files $75 Million Lawsuit Against Her Dad Over His “Egregious” Use of Their Last Name; (e) UPDATED: LVMH and Rihanna in “Secret Talks” to Launch Luxury Label.

3. As if fast fashion wasn’t sinister enough on its own, here, get some debt on to of it: Buying a new purse? This startup wants to help you pay for it — but could also get you into debt.

4. An n-th reminder on Living More Sustainably: Clothing. The usual key points include buying less, buying better, buying used, fixing when needed, and – this one you don’t see that much, but you should – shopping in brick-and-mortar, so that you would be sure about the fit and not sending packages back and forth. As in: No online shopping company can figure out how to quit this one plastic bag and Your online shopping has a startling hidden cost.

5. One of those weird fashion stories of ‘how can it be that (once) a key industry in Scotland depends on Himalayan goats?’: It’s more than just money, it’s cashmere and The Last Of Good Scottish Cashmere: William Lockie.

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What I was writing about a year ago: A year of blogging and adjusting expectations.

What I was writing about two years ago: My Wardrobe, Part 2: How I Build and Track My Seasonal Capsules.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w07 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w7.

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Have you tried the uniform-dressing? Or maybe you have a hidden uniform – what Anuschka Rees calls ‘outfit formulas’ – not the same items necessarily but several similar mix’n’match pieces (for example, (a couple of) dark skinnies, (several) low-hem tops, a pair of oxfords or a pair of chukkas + aleather jacket)? Putting it differently, if you would have to chose a uniform for next 3 months, what would that be? Or does the very thought of a uniform give you goosebumps?

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

#whatiwore 2019w06 + Sunday links

Also, the Saturday swap outfit and the stuff that makes swap happen:

And the brain nom-noms are served, bon appétit!

1. On time and fashion (and, surprise, how fast fashion has ruined it all): How Tempo is Changing Fashion + an example of someone from very high shelves going against that crazy whirlwind: Meet Your Favorite Fashion Designer’s Favorite Vintage Dealer + an ode to wearing the same things for a long time (the best form of resistance!): The Joy Of Old Clothes.

2. If you want some objective reasons for feeling sorry for yourself (and a whole generation): How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation.

3. (American) politics and fashion: (a) George H.W. Bush, the Original Sock Diplomat, (b) Nancy Pelosi’s Coat Catches Fire, (c) Why Covering Nancy Pelosi’s Hot Pink Dress Isn’t Sexist, (d) Finally Revealed! Trump’s Reasoning Behind His Extra Long Ties, and (e) The Lessons of the Women in White at the State of the Union Address.

4. If you have been watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and swooning over the 1950s recreation (those dresses! those coats! the outrageous headpieces!), among other things, this: New York’s Lost Department Stores.

5. But if winter still has you craving everything warm and fluffy, here, have some fleece history: The Mill That Invented Synthetic Fleece and Caught By The Fuzz: A Brief History Of Fleece.

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What I was writing about a year ago: February 2018 (5th!) Clothes’ Swap Recap.

What I was writing about two years ago – My Wardrobe, Part 1: What Do I Have and How Did I Get Here.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w06 + Sunday links. The hair was long but the clothing was pretty much the same…

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w6. Oh, the very beginnings! Those first outfit photos have more visual interest than these, I think, (within the same set of limits) I was experimenting more back then.

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What are your outfit photo preferences? Breathtaking or mundane? I know very well the appeal of beautiful editorials… An example from my feeds would be Rebecca at A Clothes Horse! Or Louise at Miss Pandora. But I have no plans of going anywhere from my bedroom wall. This is a statistical and historic exercise, not an aesthetic one necessarily. Fun fact: the simpler the photo the harder to hide any imperfections in fit.

February swap + my outgoing pieces

We shall swap again! And to encourage wardrobe editing before the event, here’s how I think about what stays and what goes. I have to admit that it gets harder to discard things as they become fewer – these items have survived many editing festivals, so there is some function or value ascribed that has saved them before. Yet despite the reduced number, there are still garments in my wardrobe that do not live up to the standard of “would this be a part of my optimal wardrobe?”

I try to let go of fears about needing them or pondering about the likelihood of anybody wanting them. I have one historical reassurance for this and one additional mental trick. The reassurance is the story of my red denim jacket and the mental trick is possible due to the relaxed concept of my swaps. For very surprising that it is to myself, several pieces are leaving my wardrobe this time… Remember, in September all four items that left our household were not really mine.

But this time there is some honesty work to be done, bear with me as this is not easy. I have some emotional investment in each of them, either because I have worn it so much or because of the exact opposite – having worn it only a little (less than 30 times) makes me feel guilty about bad past choices. The usual stuff… Here we go:

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The pink Julie cardigan

Basics: 55% ramie 45% cotton, made in China. Picked it up at swap Nº3 in May 2017, Julie’s mother in law used to own it. 94 wears since then (darn, almost #100wears).

What’s good about it: it makes every outfit look a bit like Gudrun Sjödén dressed me, which is a good thing. The color is great, the floral motif is awesome. Cute buttons, too. And it is a cheaper-made copy of the Oleana cardigans. The fabric is a bit thick, so it holds shape and has required very few washes. I’d dare to say that it is mint condition (no piling, all original buttons) which is rare for garments I’ve worn so much.

Why not anymore: I prefer shorter and more fitted layers. This one is a roomy cut that feels a bit slouchy lately. And it is not that warm – no wool, no synthetics – which can be pro or a con in Barcelona.

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The WAG crop top

Basics: made in their Cape Town workshop, 100% cotton. And nice, stiff, and beautifully patterned cotton it is. But I bought it in November 2017 and have worn exactly 10 times.

What’s good about it: the color, the pattern! And the cut is cool. Nicely covered arms, and décolletage that can be opened more or less depending on the occasion. Very nice for very high waists (or very bare midriffs).

Why not anymore: If I haven’t made it work so far, I probably wont. And, since I relaxed the waist of the skirt (31 wears, they are staying), the gap between them makes me even more uncomfortable. The waist can be made to look good in photos but in real life it’s a bit too fussy because the strings that keep it together are just that, and they move with time. So during events you might have to the powder room to readjust it. For people who like to stay still and look good, basically. Also, careful when washing! It still leaks color, so hand washing it in cold water separately from anything else is a must.

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The Esprit floral

Basics: 100% cotton Esprit shirt I picked up at a swap in 2017. 51 wears since then.

What’s good about it: the pattern is cute, the fabric is lovely, the finishing on this garment is a joy in itself. Mint condition still.

Why not anymore: the cut! It has taken me a long time to admit that this beautiful thing is not my size, not fitted enough. I keep having this with button-downs for years now: I want them but then my body reminds me that these things are cut (almost) straight, and, if I don’t want the usual problem of popping buttons, I need them big. And I don’t like big…

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The Zara lace top

Basics: bought in a Humana in Oporto last September to calm an ‘I want a thing’ anxiety. Zara. Made in Portugal, unknown composition. A cotton/elastane mix, I’d guess. 15 wears since then.

What’s good about it: an easy black top that covers the waist with lace hem adding some interest.

Why not anymore: the cut is weird or, well, innovative! Sleeves are part of the torso piece, and there is an additional seam on the back. And I can already some piling and where exactly the first armpit hole will happen. Taking into account that I bought it with the tags still on, this a classical ‘why you really don’t want certain fast fashion garments’: they look good at the beginning but then age very quickly.

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A ‘maybe’! The green patterned top

Basics: Oh, wow…bought in a Humana during my first trip to Barcelona in 2005. No brand tags, no composition tags (but purely synthetic), no ‘made in’ tags. 39 wears since 2016, quite some more before that.

What’s good about it: it looks great! And is one of very few synthetic garments that does not asphyxiate me. And it is so worn in it feels like home… Look, look, a highschooler me in April 2006:

Why not anymore: the shoulder points… this is a beautiful boat neckline that would require a strapless bra to be proper. My bra straps keep peeking out, even after I put sewed some holders in (like so). Also, the wear is considerable. The elbows have lost the pattern and are basically white. And I see some future holes coming… It has received some fixes before, because 14 years for a second-hand garments is a lot. I still have a couple of days to decide, though.

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What is your inner dialogue before retiring garments? Is it more separating pains for the old friends or guilt for those that never really became friends?

#whatiwore 2019w05 + Sunday links

I haven’t done a proper close-up session yet, but the golden sparkly snitch-like thing I’m wearing is a gift from Giulia. Her obviously very talented and nimble-fingered cousin makes those and calls the endeavor Little Bit Bijoux. I have the one with golden leaves, and it’s gorgeous.

Feed the brain and start a fire!

1. A little something for the wool fetishists among us, a whole bed: Dreams of Sheep at Shepherd’s Dream. And more pastoral ideals and scenery: Fully Engaged Farming at Sophie’s Icelandic Sheep.

2. OK, I’m a bit beyond the moment the ugly (but expected) truth about #twinning and the 10-year-challenge became very clear… If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it, hah! And always, always remember that uploading a photo to any platform means gifting them all rights to it, unless otherwise specified: Did You Read PopSugar’s Terms Before Submitting Your Selfie?

3. On how sometimes we prefer discomfort because we interpret it as ‘the thing is working’ aka ‘it should feel this way when I’m doing it right’: On Comfort. This is about a toothpaste mostly (and then about suits), but I can think of many pieces of feminine-wear that tells you that the right pain is what you are looking for… Don’t get me started on high heels and waist training!

4. A little thing that apparently is not unique to me: asking for *everything* once you start exploring tailor-made options… The author suggests embracing it: Get it out of your system.

5. The big thing in sustainable fashion activism during January was Bangladesh. First, Bangladesh ordered Accord to leave: As international factory safety group ordered to leave Bangladesh, garment workers fear return to deadly work conditions. And then workers took to the streets: Bangladesh garment manufacturers raise workers’ pay amid violent clashes with police and These Women Make Your Zara Jeans. Now, They’re Demanding to Be Paid Fairly.

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This section is expanding because now Un Armario Verde is two years old and we can, accordingly, go two years back in posts, so:

What I was writing about a year ago – The reading matter: Part 1 – Art and inspo.

What I was writing about two years ago – The Minimalist Wardrobe Masterpost: What Do People Do and Why?

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w05 + Sunday links. My winter silhouettes haven’t really changed, but I’m skipping the red stockings this winter.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w5. Well, the trench and the Hummel atleisure jacket are still here…

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Have your style and wardrobe contents changed a lot in the last two years? Is there a high turnover rate in your wardrobe? What are the garments or styles you have been wearing for a long time now?

#whatiwore 2019w04 + Sunday links

Yeah, I fixed a hand-me-down dress and then wore it all week… But of course! For me that always has been a sign of a beautiful new friendship: wanting to spend together all the time possible.

But meanwhile, here, feed the little gray cells:

1. By now you should know if your winter boots are performing up to your expectations. Want to know what makes a great boot? Here, take a detailed analysis from people who know what they are talking about (and are ready to use a saw to make convincing visuals): We Cut 5 Great Boots in Half to See What Makes a Quality Pair.

2. OK, so you grown blasé to the fact that very poorly paid people, including children made your fast fashion garments… How about slave labor, does that move you a bit? Did a slave make your sneakers? The answer is: Probably. Or prison labor? Prisoners in a Chinese Internment Camp Made Clothes for a Major U.S. Apparel Supplier.

3. I just love those love letter posts dedicated to ‘the one right thing’ my favorite menswear blogs produce so often. Here you have yet another story of a great company that once was world-famous in one particular product – The History Behind Stetson: The Quintessential Cowboy Hat. And if you want an even more subtler specialty product, here, have this one: Those Lovely Neapolitan Trousers. In my ideal world we would tell such stories about each detail, each garment and each brand we wear..

4. On the other hand, the stupid marketing missteps in fashion are just mind-blowing. I keep thinking about the fact that all these campaigns and products pass through at least a couple of meetings with at least a couple of supposedly professional people approving this shit… Fashion’s Year in Cultural Don’ts.

5. One of those little promising news: The Denim Industry Inches Toward a Circular Economy as Mills Adopt Recycled Fibers. No word about the fact how they are planning to take apart some of those mixed-fiber fabrics to use again after this cycle… But that’s the next step, I guess.

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What I was writing about a year ago: right in time for the upcoming February swap, Wardrobe pruning for minimalists: KonMari stairway to heaven.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w04 + Sunday links. Ha! Even with the same new dress and new leggings, I’m still repeating the trench, the cape, the red flea sweater, the Muroexe boots and the previous incarnation of the little red beanie.

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How do you start relationships with new (to you) garments? Wearing all the time? Saving for special occasions? Dry cleaning or washing the moment they cross your doorstep? Do you have any rituals, especially for pre-loved garments to clear out the previous wearer and fill it with you? I normally don’t do anything, assuming that the best way to replace odors and spirits is to impose a new one – mine. However, with this dress is was a bit special as it still smelled of my mom as I was refashioning and wearing it for the first times. That brought me right back to my childhood when I used to smell her sweaters if I was missing her while she was traveling.

Fix it! Making smaller my mom’s gingham dress

I started to learn to use a sewing machine in 2017, under Liisa’s guidance (here, see what she makes). And only now I’m finally starting to grasp – in tiniest baby steps and with great help from Carmen from Opció Diamant (I cannot recommend them enough if you are looking for sewing courses in Spanish in Barcelona) – the basics of garment construction and textile properties. So this is a section of ‘look what I did to make this garment work better for me’ or ‘…to prolong its lifespan’. This post is a feature of a jersey dress I adopted during the last purge of my mom’s wardrobe. It was too big for me even as a relaxed cut, so it got a very simple shape change.

A standard disclaimer: these are not detailed tutorials but inspirational pieces instead. However, my level is so basic that you can probably do this too. Here we go.

It’s a ‘made in Spain’ jersey dress from Mango’s Violeta sub-brand which caused quite a controversy upon its launch in 2014 due to them suggesting that ‘plus sizes’ start at size 40.

I have no idea about the precise fabric composition. Thanks, mom! I imagine it was one of those scratchy labels…

The most important point I learnt with this one was a bit of the magic that happens around the armpits and bust, i.e. how the a two-dimensional material takes the desired shape. As I was taking a good chunk off the whole side seam, it meant losing both part of the sleeve’s curve and the bust dart. Carmen’s expert advice was to wing the sleeve relying on the forgiveness of the jersey and…

…creating a new bust dart, following the line of the old one:

The new shape, from the end of the sleeve to the hemline, followed by a long trrrrrr with a stretchy stitch:



Voilà! The new shape once the extra fabric is cut off:

These are the leftovers:

And this is my new dress:

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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?

#whatiwore 2019w03 + Sunday links

Braaain-braaain-braaain, feed the braaain…

1. Just a beautiful story of crafty people making beautiful things + the magic that wool is: A Family History in Hats.

2. So, with the new KonMari-mania going around thanks to Netflix (this is a reasonable review + get the basis of Kondo’s method explained in a 15-point clickbait list here)… Some organizing basics from Spanish professional organizers + a very ironic list of ‘buy this stuff to make sure you get rid of stuff’: (in Spanish) Cinco claves para ordenar tu casa de una vez por todas.

3. And a BuzzFeed sermon on being organized as the socially responsible thing to do: Being Organized Is A Gift I Give Myself And Other People. While I’m typically better at giving sermons than appreciating them, this: “Being flaky isn’t cute; it’s disrespectful. This isn’t the intention, of course. (And, in fact, most of the disorganized people I know are actually trying to make too many people happy.) But the reality is that being close to someone who is consistently all over the place requires a tremendous amount of emotional labor”.

4. I don’t know who threw the bomb, but people in many places, including the f*ing Wall Street Journal, have suddenly – and simultaneously – grasped the problematic choice between real and faux fur. Gosh, get a second-hand anything and let it go… Examples: (a) Real Fur vs. Fake Fur: The Latest Dilemma for Socially Conscious Consumers; (b) Fashion or Faux Pas: The Conversation About Fur Became Far More Nuanced in 2018; (c) Real Fur is Bad for Animals. Fake Fur is Bad for the Earth. What the Hell Do We Do Now?

5. For pure pleasure, City Hermit: The Style Of Allen Ginsberg. And to throw in some contrast from the squares ‘who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse and the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments of fashion‘, an ode to the same flannel: Better than Wool Flannel Trousers.

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What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Bik Bok parka.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2018w03 + Sunday links.

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I’m still trying to figure out if I want to say anything new about the ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo‘ whirlpool, aside from the fact that everybody thinks it’s hilarious to forward me all possible coverage of it… Anyways, have you seen it? Has it inspired you to empty your wardrobe and see how big your mountain is? Or are you the one sharing the jokes? The best one I’ve seen so far (in Spanish) was about Marie Kondo suggesting people keep only three relatives. Captures the spirit of her method quite precisely, imho, especially after the Holiday season.

2018 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.

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, and the first half of 2018. This post is about last six months, July to December 2018. You have the full list and the total above, and more details below, from most euros spent to least.

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Learning to sew, Sep-Dec: 4 x 78 = 312€

First of all, it is unclear if these expenses should even be here… the 312€ look very expensive and I could explain them away with ‘I am learning a new skill, these are not fashion expenses’. But they are. I consider myself brave (ha!) for admitting myself that the first garment I made – that beige skirt in the photo above – is the most expensive garment I own. But that money was spent in the first half of 2018. In last few months I’ve been focusing on repairs. Someplace on this blog I have already confessed that all my repair and refashion costs so far have been covered by my mother and the work was done by a trusted seamstress in Rīga.

To be very detailed about these 312€, this is the tangible list of what they’ve got me. In fixes: (a) attaching the embroidery to Liisa bag well enough; (b) fixed swap cardigan; (c) fixed lace undershirt; (d) adjusted WAG skirt; (e) adjusted Street One jacket and No Pasarán t-shirt got turned into an applique; (f) C’s jeans taken in for my waist. And my mom’s and Julie’s deadstocks became a yoga mat bag. So the total balance is an increased lifespan of six garments and one new thing. And I did all this in four months = 32 hours in the studio and then some at home. And, and, and… an I could do it all again because now I know how to. Hell yeah.

Verdict: Yes, please, more! This is a life skill I want to master. And I’ve found the right place to do it, my beloved Opció Diamant.

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Ezra W. Smith embroidery: 105.74

You can read all about this one here. The story has it all: friendship, women artists, and me learning a new skill.

Verdict: 100% a good idea.

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Swedish Stockings, recycling the old ones and 3 new pairs: 12.90 + 92.36 = 105.26€

Oh, this is a hard one. The idea and marketing of Swedish Stockings is impeccable. And my needs and whims also play a role here by deciding that their most expensive product is just the one for me. The price is not friendly at all, and they don’t last long. Excited by their recycling program and wanting the promised discount, I jumped all the hoops. And made a big, fat ripped tight package. As you can see in my 2017 post mentioning my first purchase, I was expecting a 30% discount for those who have sent in old tights. The voucher to be included in my package clearly said 20%, so I was apparently overexcited. Now comes the stupid part: one actually has to mail those tights. And the bigger your package is the less worthy your discount.


Just do the math! Because of some additional idiocy I did my purchase in Swedish kronas, I really don’t know if I just missed the euro option. But I’ll do the example in euros. In my case 39€ x 3 = 117€. I got a 20% discount which means that my total at checkout should be 93.60 (heh, the kronas worked in my favor!), so the price of each pair comes down to 31.20€. But I had previously paid 12.90€ at the Spanish post office. And that bring my final price per pair up to 35.5€.

The stinger? Simply joining their mailing list gets you 15% off, without sending any packages. That would be 33.15€ per pair. And if you would like to be the very responsible person and send your tights before having bought anything from Swedish Stockings, that cold mailing will get you only 10% off. And, no, joining the mailing list and using the recycling discount are not compatible, I tried.

I know, I know, the Swedish Stocking ladies do not get the euros I paid the Spanish post office, but that doesn’t change the outcome for the customer.

The second stinger (for the careless reader)? While you could get an impression that these people are closing the loop and making new stockings from your old ones. Nope. “We want to close the loop and eventually be able to fully recycle old hosiery. However, to make that possible we need to be able to separate the polyamide in the yarn […] from the elastane […] to make new pantyhose. Unfortunately, this technology isn’t commercially available just yet although it isn’t far away. In the meantime, we have a short term solution. We are grinding old pantyhose down to be used as filler material in fibre glass tanks for oil and grease traps, in the commercial industry. These tanks are extremely hard wearing and last a long time […].”

So after this math exercise the whole ‘send us your tights’ exercise feels a bit like a trick to push me towards an interaction with the brand and get me in one of those ‘I’ll do a thing that doesn’t make economic/time-use sense for me just to be the best possible person’ binds.

As for use, they are fluffy and comfy. They truly are. However, for 39€ a pair I would expect them to last more. I keep reading about happy Wolford customers that have had the same tights for decades, and I’m envious. At least on my feet these Swedish Stocking get transparent patches at the toes after 10 wears or so. Those are not holes, but look like so if I have to take my shoes off. I already had a couple of such moments in the airport and at the sewing studio, and really didn’t like it. After some 20 wears those bald patches become holes. And three pairs for a season is a bit too few even in Barcelona winter.

The current fugliness!

Verdict: It’s a lot of money for nice but not durable tights. These in combination with leggings will carry me till spring but I’ll have to think about my hosiery again in autumn. Oh, the decision fatigue! At least one thing is clear: I’m off stay-ups (because there were some 5 years when I wore mostly those), and really enjoy the comfort and silhouette of black opaque tights.

The practical lesson: If you want in on their game, send them a small, light envelope with three very few denier tights, preferably from Sweden. That will make your discount worthwhile.

Fun fact: The ‘please send us ripped tights’ voucher that came with my November package doesn’t mention any discounts for sending them in, it just refers to their website. I imagine that this means that 10% off is all you get. Meh.

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People Tree Yoga Top: 37.15€

The old sports bra was dead, and somebody on FB suggested People Tree. The best random anonymous lead I’ve had so far! The beginning was very promising: tight and comfy, and very cotton-y. It’s stretch jersey of 95% organic Fairtrade certified cotton and 5% elastane and so much nicer to touch than its fully plastic predecessor. But after a lot of wears already and a couple of washes, the underbust elastic is a bit too wide. The plastic performance fabrics have their advantages, they do. Also, I think it’s made for people with less breasts, at least with less difference between the breast and underbust/waist circumference. I haven’t practiced any serious yoga with this one, but it doesn’t seem too reliable for doing headstands with any dignity. And even less so for more demanding sports. This is a pajamas crop top.

Verdict: Okayish. Serves me now but I’m not sure I’d repeat it.

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Zara black lace top from Humana: 7.59€

From my September’s ‘I just have to buy something‘ scratch at a Humana in Oporto. It’s nice and versatile, 15 wears already, but the fast fashion quality is showing too. The fabric is thin, the construction is weird, and it already has holes without much mending potential. I’m treating it as a replacement for the black floral shirt, but who am I kidding? Nothing can replace the black floral shirt.

Verdict: It’s nice but won’t last long. No #100wears for this one.

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Thread: 6.90€

I have been living on Carmen’s supplies and haven’t had to buy notions for sewing in these months. As an exception, these euros were for the pink thread meant to fix the sequin barrette (still a to-do) that also came handy with the pink ruffle blouse, and some blue embroidery thread to mend my Bonne Maison knee-highs.

Verdict: Reasonable. I’m doing my best not to accumulate notions, but this was a September excitement slip-up.

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Zara white ruffle top from Humana: 5.19€

It’s funny how it’s so hard to know which garments will wear well upon acquiring them. I imagine it’s my ignorance (still), not a true mystery, but this top was that case. I bought two at that Humana, thinking that the black one was the great score. But after 13 wears, this has much more potential for longevity and making me feel my best. Also, I am considering this a replacement for the white zipper blouse, so it’s a 1-out-1-in acquisition. Also, I’m still very proud how I managed that ‘gotta buy a garment urge’.

Verdict: Great, five golden stars.

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What will 2019 bring? Less money, first of all, as I’m transitioning towards self employment. So curbing my fashion spending would be a good idea… The 2018 total, including sewing classes were 1016.33€. Only garments, repairs and notions: 528.33€. That is not cheap, I think. Especially for somebody that is not making any major purchases. Just for a reference, my unemployment benefits will be around 1000€/month. Hence the responsible thing would be to stop spending money on garments altogether. The good news is that I do not foresee urgent purchases anytime soon. But the sewing classes stay… so that’s at least 78€ per month; assuming two vacation months in summer that would already make 780€. That much for curbing my expenses.

The other news is that torturing people with statistics in November paid better than I expected, so I made myself a 130€ birthday gift in early January by tracing down the last vegan Veja Taua sneakers I could find and getting two pairs. Boom!

Despite the professional organizing knowledge that ‘buying duplicates rarely work’, this one shall. My reasons are the following: (a) I have already shredded (100+ wears!) through three pairs of the same model and loved them (proof 1, proof 2), (b) they are clearly discontinued and not coming back, (c) I bought the next most similar option from Veja, and I don’t like them, (d) even the Amazon seller who sold these was running out of them. Knowing that I’m currently OK in the sneaker department – Veja Arcade, Veja Wata, and December swap Vans copycats are all in great shape – it is possible that these two boxes, my sleeping beauties, will be dormant until well into 2019, if not 2020, who knows. And that’s fine. My heart is all fuzzy knowing that, when the moment of need will come, I won’t depend on the fugly whims of Veja or other desperate google searches. Sweet.

My dormant Brazilian treasure.

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Congratulations! You have reached the end of this extra-long confession. What have been your wardrobe investments in 2018? Do you have a fashion budget or do you move in intuitive ways? Which fashion spending is yours: the truly rational based in need, the capricious stemming from ‘oh so beautiful’ or the one looking for added value (what else apart from the garment do you get, who made it, who benefited)? Have you ever found yourself making the added value excuses of ‘I didn’t really need this but at least it from the little local shop / responsibly made / support an artist’? What’s your experience with duplicates?

#whatiwore 2019w02 + Sunday links

It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within – not without.” But first you have to feed those little gray cells:

1. Some basic tricks our minds (and retailers) play against us: 10 Situations When We Lose Our Common Sense and Buy Useless Stuff.

2. Mending has some serious benefits – Mending as a philosophy of life: 9 reasons for why it’s worth it. My favorite being ‘Mending is prefect for practicing imperfection’. The whole blog is a cute gem full of thoughtfulness and sustainable ideas, unfortunately inactive since September 2018, offering posts titled What makes a garment repair-worthy? and Mending knits: 3 favourite darns.

3. The internet classic on second shifts and all mental work that goes into maintaining a household, typically done by women: You should’ve asked by Emma Clit.

4. In 2018 I started to follow – and learned a lot – from several menswear blogs: Heddels (especially remarkable for their Fade of the Day section showcasing worn out garments), Put This On, and Die, Workwear! Maybe I just haven’t found the right women’s fashion blogs for this time in my life but I’m really enjoying the historical and aesthetic obsessions of these people. And then I found this: ‘Every once in a while, I’ll hear a woman say how she wishes a piece of menswear could be made for the female form, or how she’s excited to see one of her favorite designers take inspiration from the men’s aisle. Which is funny because, just as often, I find myself inspired by what women today are wearing. As society has wrestled with the concept of gender over the last hundred years, fashion has followed. And while there’s been a bit push and pull – from the strictly gender delineated world of gray flannel suits and A-frame skirts, to the space-age unisex uniforms of the late 1960s – we’re now at a point where gender takes on a much more complex and nuanced meaning in terms of how clothing is worn’.

5. For a contrast with menswear (or, depending how you look at it, to combine with their beloved knit ties), here you have a lady who did the impossible – made the crochet look glamorous: Greta Plattry. Here you have a couple of write-ups about her and photos of her designs from the glorious 1950s – 1, 2, 3 (the third link gives you also the original prices and the conversion in today’s dollars; gives you a thought about casual swimwear as investment pieces and the radical change clothing prices have undergone in last 50+ years).

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What I was writing about a year ago: The capsule is dead, long live the spreadsheet!

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2018w02 + Sunday links (the 100th post!).

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Do you have menswear inspirations? Or blogs you read for a once-removed value? For example, for me the menswear blogs are teaching to pay attention to detail that somehow are easier to gloss over in women’s fashion. Anyways, all new reading suggestions will be appreciated.

After 12 months of the big spreadsheet

Another 3 months have passed and here is an 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. And then it felt like too much fuss… So I started tracking the number of wears without doing the ‘now you go away’ ritual. Here is the outset post (that includes a link to an example Google Sheet), here the 3-month update, here the 6-month update, and here – the 9-month.

Having a year’s worth of solid information is great, and my data-loving side is filled with joy. 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… So, I’ll go through the most and least worn by categories as I did in previous posts, and then try to draw some mor egeneral conclusions.

So here you have the wardrobe heroes of 2018 by categories with the number of wears January through December in parenthesis:

Layers

Most worn: My mom’s gray hand-me-down cardigan (62) because in summer it’s my AC saver in the office. Also works well if my street layers are a bit too much for the office, etc. We’ll see what 2019 for this one, as there won’t be an office anymore…

Runner-ups: Julie’s pink cardigan (60) and the other gray cardigan from May 2018 Swap (58).

Worn the least: The floral courduroy bolero (2) – it’s fancy and in Rīga, works very well (although takes it slightly over the top) with the HnM sweetheart dress, but not casual enough for every day even by my very lax standards. I’m probably keeping it forever, though.

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Dresses

Most worn: My mom’s dark blue silk dress (32). She made it herself, btw. This dress also serves to assess my sewing skills… And the comparison is not flattering.

Runner-ups: My mom’s hand-me-down MnS dress (28) and my aunt’s ‘take this, you might defend your thesis in this’ dress (25).

Worn the least: The HnM sweetheart dress (4) – again, it’s a party garment and lives in Rīga so that I would have a mainstay for all family celebrations and opera. Feels like a bit of a waste but I’ve had it since 2008, so it has to be somewhere in vicinity of those #30wears. it is wearing out, though, especially around the ‘bones’ that keep the shape of the top, so it might become a skirt one day. Also, last February I finally found a nice way to dress it down a bit, this, and I have been developing that ‘look for a short sweater to tone it down’ sensibility further on, like so:

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Tops

Most worn: The demon t-shirt (58). I can only repeat that: “This is weird, because I don’t have a feeling that I’ve worn it that much. Here, a proof that my memory and perception of frequency of wear cannot be trusted!” And after 100+ total wears since 2014 it finally was beyond repair, so it is not with as anymore. The picture, though – a painting of a lietuvēns by Kristiāns Brekte – is still good, and I’m looking for a surface to repeat the trick I did with the No Pasarán t-shirt and the Street One jacket.

Runner-ups: The February 2018 Swap Forever 21 t-shirt (51) and my mom’s hand-me-down lace blouse-undershirt (38).

Worn the least: A couple of newcomers, because we cleaned my mother’s wardrobe on December 22. A great gift for both of us, indeed, if you see what proportion of my wardrobe are her hand-me-downs! I already wore – once in 2018 – the green synthetic fantasy of birds and flowers and the black MnS ‘beat’ short-sleeve turtleneck:


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Bottoms

Most worn: My mom’s hand-mw down shorts (67). The secret here is that I wear them as shorts and as underwear/chub-rub prevention under skirts or dresses, so these shorts get a lot of summer wears. Also, they are very comfy. On my to-sew list in 2019 is trying to make an exact replica.

Runner-ups: ZIB black leave leggings (62) and Amoralle leggings (52). Both of these, after having reminded me how essential leggings are for my comfort and happiness, are now beyond repair

Worn the least: It’s a tie – at two wears – between the ZIB splash leggings that are mostly used as loungewear in Rīga and my ‘new’ hand-me-down green capri jeans. Yeah, there are big news for the ‘Luīze wearing pants’ section, we’ll see how it goes.

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Footwear

Most worn: Arcopedico wedges (132) because nothing beats the office shoe.

Runner-ups: Veja Wata Pierre (121) and Vegan Birkenstock Gizeh (118). Birks are going to truly fall apart sometime in 2019, but we’ll keep counting until then. And keeping an eye on their vegan section for replacements. BTW, dear Birkenstock, could you be so kind and bring the vegan Gizeh back for June? I really don’t care which color…

Worn the least: Nokian Hai wellingtons (4) – they live in Rīga and are rainboots. I keep wondering if bringing them to Barcelona could be a good idea… but in Riga they are handy as well, just that this year I spent very little time there. And, after an 8km walk in December, it is clear that their shape and sizing – they are clearly making Finnish women feel good about the size of their feet since 1898 because I haven’t been a size 37 since I was 12, I think – work alright.

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Adornments

2018 hasn’t been a good year for adornments: I don’t reach for necklaces automatically, my ears have become very sensitive to anything that’s not farmacy-grade baby earrings, my headbands ar big and flashy, and unfit for bike rides, and this year I didn’t have the seasonal spreadsheet *making* me wear all that. I don’t know it’s just a temporal thing or a new aspect of growing up I’ll just have to accept.

Most worn: The red wooden necklace (31).

Runner-ups: Jēkabs necklace (30) and Ban.do headband (23).

Worn the least: The flower ball headband (8) – I rescued it from the Rīga wardrobe and we had a great time together in London, but then in Barcelona I find it hard to wear. And the bicycle-headband incompatibility (the wind!) doesn’t help. And I am growing more conservative, I’m afraid… Ugh.

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So far, so good, but what does the future bring?

First of all, the spreadsheet stays. I do think that it is the right amount of obsessing and ‘hard data’ for me. Wardrobe tracking has helped me to not only become aware of the unsung heroes of my wardrobe (officewear, leggings, the more ubiquitous t-shirts) but also to appreciate that a low count does not necessarily move garments into the ‘out’ pile. I have my reasons and excuses. Some of them are very rational, as in having two winter coats of varying thickness and two pairs of waterproof boots in Rīga, even if in 2018 I have spent only three weeks there. There is enough space in my mom’s house to keep them there instead of lugging them back and forth. And there is no proper winter in Barcelona anyway.

It is a bit harder to explain away the little black cocktail dress and that flower ball, but let me try. Those are aspirational and backward-looking pieces at the same time. I would still like to be the person who wears those, and tracking tells me to what I extent I am.

The person I was when I bought that LBD. Brussels 2008.

I also tracked – in wider categories – what covered my legs. That serves two purposes: (1) knowing the seasonal balance, and (2) taking future hoisiery decisions. Measured in days ‘worn’, the winner are bare legs. 169 days in 2018 I have left home with nothing covering my legs, wearing no or ankle socks. That’s the climate part. The runner-up with 135 are leggings, hence my talking about their central space in my wardrobe beforehand. The other three options – knee-highs (52), tights (48), stay-ups (44) – are clearly minor players. In 2018 I abandoned stay-highs and embraced opaque woolen tights. And Bonne Maison knee-highs, when worn with midi-skirts, are a very good option for spring and autumn.

2019 will bring a whole new vibe with me finishing my thesis and leaving behind having an office to go to. Although it has always been a very relaxed environment, the very fact of getting out of home was enough for me to dress nicely. Now the landscape will be one of balancing drawing/blogging/running errands from home (in something comfy) and projecting my professional self as a freelance researcher and professional organizer. From all 2018 outfits this might be the one closest to how I see that new self… I know, pretty boring and grown-up!

What has happened in your wardrobe in 2018? Abrupt changes? Baby step evolution? Lifestyle switches? Did you try any method of wardrobe tracking? What has your wardrobe taught you in 2018?

#whatiwore 2019w01 + Sunday links

The year might be new, but the brain has to be fed:

1. I am still a sucker for a good fashion anecdote, obviously, especially if it’s about somebody’s whim becoming an unexpected hit: Bernstein’s Folly. Or protest fashion that then loses its meaning – Wretched Excess: The Rebellion of the Wide-Leg Pant. Or just completely weird ideas, like having designated drinking jackets as to not to ruin the good suits – Ivy Workwear Style Via Princeton University’s Beer Jackets.

2. A short look at the gilets jaunes from a purely fashion point of view: The Power of the Yellow Vest.

3. If the Holiday season has tired your liver, kidneys, and/or brain and you have been entertaining the idea to never ever consume something again, turns out that Vice (!) has a whole straight edge section (!) dedicated to ‘the drugs are bad, mkay’: (a) Smoking Weed Can Be a Lot of Fun, But Let’s Not Pretend it Doesn’t Fuck You Up; (b) When Partying Becomes a Problem: How I Managed to Quit Drink and Drugs; (c) How Giving Up Drink and Drugs in Your Twenties Can Change Your Life; (d) This Is Why Gen Z Isn’t Into Drink or Drugs; (e) Quitting Alcohol Doesn’t Have to Be the End of Your Social Life. The funniest and scariest cultural changes in substance abuse I found there were the pressures stemming from the footprints such behavior leaves on one’s social media: it all will be photographed if not filmed, will project a ‘bad’ image, your prospective employers will be able to see it, your puffy face will look uglier in the selfies… and, in this competitive economy where serious people start to prepare for their career in the kindergarten, ain’t nobody got time for that anyways.

4. I don’t own anything Elizabeth Suzanne, their aesthetics are mostly not really my style, and I know that their way of working implies a price point inaccessible to most, but I just can’t help but love the way they do business: 2018: A Reflection and Recap and 2018 Holiday FAQs.

5. Those who have made a new year’s resolution to travel more, don’t. It’s a dirty business. Literally. (In Spanish) Cada turista contamina al día en Barcelona el equivalente a conducir 410 kilómetros. Go to a library and read  a book instead!

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What I was writing about a year ago: How expensive is an ethical wardrobe? 2017 second half money talk.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2018w01 + Sunday links.

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So, what are your new year’s resolutions? Teetotalism or getting a beer jacket? More travel or more books? Doing more or contaminating less?

Luisita 31 or 31 facts about me

Somehow this March 2007 selfie feels relevant…

I’m turning 31 today and here you have 31 things you didn’t ever necessarily wanted to know about me:

1. I’m an only child. That does explain a lot.

2. Although several millions of people share this experience, it still tickles me: the state that issued my birth certificate does not exist.

3. I have found a missing piece of family history online. The family legend was that my grandpa’s sister’s second husband had been incarcerated for anti-Soviet activities in the 1950s, but later in life he never talked about it, so there was no additional narrative about that. Doing a more general family history project a few years ago, Google revealed that he – Mikhail Krasilnikov (1933-1996) – was a vanguard poet and student experimenting with performances in 1950s Leningrad. The Russian internets have his prision-time photos, his poetry, memories of his friends and photos of my great-aunt too. I was high on this new piece of the family puzzle for days.

4. Quoting Hamilton, an ongoing issue in my life is “why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room?” with the answer being “because it’s obviously the case”. Since kindergarten I’ve had enough “no, Luīze, not you, maybe somebody else knows” situations to be prepared for this scenario, much more than the opposite one. This is one of the reasons why PhD has been so hard – you get a room full of people whose basic experience is to be the smartest on in the room. That ought to lead to trauma and friction.

5. The story about professional ambitions that I like to tell myself is that I’ve actually given a try to every idea that made sense. An alternative view would be that I’ve been quitting stuff when it stop making sense from a very early age…. At three I wanted to become a ballerina. My mom dutifully enrolled me and after a year or even less I had it clear that the tutu was the best part and that the classes with a strict teacher wasn’t. The next idea that persisted for a long time and, in a way, never really went away was becoming a fashion designer. So I drew, I read, I learnt classical drawing, and at the end, just before the entrance exams for the arts high school at 16, I stayed at the comprehensive programme. The next fantasy was to become a journalist. I did a gig for few small publications and realized that I didn’t have guts to do serious (read: dangerous) reporting from conflict areas while most local stuff was so boring and half-assed that I didn’t want to be part of that. By that time I was deep in volunteering for NGOs, so working for an international NGO suddenly seemed the perfect combination of politics and impact. Yeah, it took some more volunteering and a six-month internship to learn that that’s not the case. After that one dissipated, I started my undergrad, fell in love with the scientific method, vowed to become a sociologist and even got a tattoo honoring Descartes. Nine years later I am a few months from having a PhD in social and political sciences and no illusions about this industry.

6. Yeah, there are two tattoos. 2011 question mark honoring Descartes’ ‘methodological skepticism‘ and 2013 ‘el cuerpo de Osiris, cuerpo brotado, se alzó y caminó’ from Eduardo Galeano‘s microcuentos reinterpreting the myth of Osiris and Isis. No regrets and they are keeping up great (a n00b advice: mine are gray and not black), my grandpa still pretends he cannot see them, and I still haven’t been able to come up with a reasonable addition. The only nuisance are all the people who think that it is a fine icebreaker to ask about the meaning of my tattoos, no, not cool, stop that sh*t.

Planning my first tattoo the obsessive-compulsive way.

7. I’ve had several piercings that were done in the following order: a ring in the helix of my left ear at 12, nose stud in the left nostril at 13, belly button at 15, earlobes at 19. The upper ear and belly button never healed, so they disappeared quickly. The nose stud lasted until a few years ago. The earlobes are still here but very sensitive nowadays, hence I’ve let go of my extensive stupid earring collection and wear pharmacy earrings.

8. Until some German pop-feminst books set me free at around 14, I avidly read and believed women’s magazines. That’s an incredible amount of false beliefs about life, sex, beauty, femininity among other topics. Ugh.

9. An issue that was too big for pop feminism was body issues, fantasies about fatness, and linking bodies to acceptance and self-worth. The most reasonable way of describing it is a low-key body dysmorphia. And knowing that so many all of us suffer from this doesn’t help. Body positivity, the average user’s guide is the blog post I’m most proud of.

10. At 16 I realized that life with short fingernails was much easier. It took a bit more time to arrive to the same conclusions about life without nail polish and make-up in general, but I don’t think I’m ever going back to that.

11. I’ll never know if I didn’t learn to walk in heels or is the whole thing just that painful (long way beyond my boundaries of acceptable discomfort). Anyways, no heels for me.

12. I started drifting towards vegetarianism at 14, went serious ovo-lacto at 18 and started flirting with veganism at 23. A list of my favorite Ⓥ resources can be found here.

13. Yoga is the physical activity that I’ve practiced most. I started with a very fitness-oriented version sometime around 15 or so and – with differing intensity – it has stuck around ever since. The second most practiced is tennis that I (having until then only played with the clay and watching my mom play) started learning at 8 and abandoned at 14, I guess. I did take it up again during my first year of undergrad but didn’t continue. Posterior trials with ping-pong confirm that the neuronal pathways forged for this are solid and would happily come back. I hope it will make sense some day to go back to the clay and the amazing sound of a correct hit. Other sports I’ve given a committed amateur’s try at some point include floorball, volleyball and swimming. After 1.5 years of actively learning it, swimming must be the third most practiced by now.

14. I have an advantage in yoga, though. My joints are very mobile, not enough for Cirque du Soleil, but still enough to see difference very quickly and get a lot of satisfaction out of it. Only recently I learnt that also my recently cranky ankle (after a sprain) and lower back pain if I don’t move enough are due to the same random genetic gift.

15. I don’t have a driver’s license. This is the only thing I regret not doing when the rest of my cohort did it. It’s a skill I find useful and a good idea but I had other priorities when all my classmates were getting theirs at 17. And it has been like that ever since.

16. I have very few teeth, 27 of the 32 there should be. All my wisdom teeth were extracted (I lived in pain and on drugs for a year or so meanwhile) and on the bottom row where most people have four incisors I have three. Funnily enough, the space is so well filled that nobody, including dentists, had noticed that until I was 18.

17. On a related dental hygiene note, dental floss for me is a basic necessity and a happy little indulgence at the same time. Meanwhile, I only brush once a day.

18. I’m between ENTJ and INTJ on the Myers-Briggs matrix. Knowing that gives me a perverse permission to be even more ruthless… “Anyone who worries they are an unfeeling, manipulative lunatic is probably quite cuddly

19. Right before running into C, I was very excited about the idea of polyamory (thanks to Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, of course). So at that point monogamy was a radical choice for me (wording of that notion: Tristan Taormino), and much hilarity ensued when I announced I was settling down for an exclusive coupledom to the same friends to whom I had waxed enthusiastically about polyamory just months before. 6.5 years since then and going strong.

20. The food that never fails to make me happy is basic avocado maki. Even the pre-prepared ones in the airports. Most potato-based dishes come in as close seconds. Yes, I am a case of the stereotypical Eastern European potato love, and will never get bored of them.

21. The drink that never fails to make me happy is natural rooibos or any of the subtly bitter herbal teas: nettle, raspberry leaves, lemongrass. Like one of the characters in a Nora Ikstena novel, I get way too sentimental when drinking camomile, but in the great debate of fresh vs. dried mint for herbal teas I’m firmly on the side of dried.

22. Flavor I’m really NOT into: anise! Be it in licorice, liquor or fennel (probably the only vegetable I don’t know how to make palatable for myself), I don’t like it.

23. My drug of choice: alcohol. By now I have an extensive knowledge, both personal and cultural, on how it works and what to look out for (as opposed to many other substances), and it’s pretty clear that I’ll never be able to drink like I could (and did) when I was 17. Current favorites for an occasional indulgence include fruity session IPAs, easy chilled white wines and – if need be – quality distillate straight up.

24. Best smells are freshly mowed grass, lavender, roses and sunny pine forest. I don’t wear perfume, though.

25. The bulk of my taste in music was summed-up C in the phrase “dead black ladies”. Eartha Kitt and Ella Fitzgerald, in particular.

26. Yet my 2017 and 2018 have been heavily tainted by everything Hamilton, including the Mixtape and #hamildrops. Musicals do attract me in general, although the only one I’ve seen live is The Book of Mormon. As for hamildrops, this: “Rise Up Wise Up Eyes Up” by Ibeyi.

27. And I consider South Park to be among the best series ever. Yeah, it might be early childhood trauma, but that satire is wow. For me, much better than Simpsons or Family Guy. Some of my best early adolescence memories is watching South Park VHS tapes I had made from the TV and playing with matches (and candles) for hours. True story.

26. My favorite escape is to be drawing while listening to something. I guess there are many people whom I’ve offended because of my doodling during their classes or presentations, but I just can’t help (and it feels so good and so right). Also, I typically remember what I’ve been listening to while drawing that exact piece. I am very present while doing that.

27. I find chairs very uncomfortable. That position just does not feel comfortable. I wiggle, sit on my leg, try to sit cross-legged on the chair, etc. And wish that long distance travel – or work – could be routinely done with legs at the same level as bum. The Fifth Element-style travel drawers (with or without the drugs) seem very attractive for me. And not for nothing you get a similar thing when flying business class.

28. I’m a walker. True to basic human advantage in resilience to outwalk anybody, walking is my favorite way of getting to places in the city. A pretty typical day-off for us with C is walking some 3km to get dinner or lunch and then walking back. Fun. This goes back to the point about comfy shoes. Unwalkable footwear is useless.

29. I have a certain talent for languages, as far as I really have to use them. However, my two major pitfalls come from Latvian. In Latvian all words have fixed stress – always the first syllable – so I have to learn it the hard way in languages that have variable stresses, which is all others I speak: English, Spanish, Russian. Russian is currently the hardest for me when it comes to accents. The other Latvian quirk is not having articles… so I have no intuitive understanding of where it’s supposed to be a definite, an indefinite one or nothing. I manage somehow, but it’s a continuous struggle and startle people editing my texts. Well, at least I don’t have the typically harsh Latvian accents when speaking other languages… and some claim that my current Latvian prosody (and volume) are Spanish-influenced.

30. I’ve been more of a night owl since the kindergarten but can be trained to follow a reasonable schedule (but never get one of those 5am rise-and-shine inspirations). Additionally, I sleep a lot with up to 10h of natural everyday sleep. Although there is a lot of fetish around little sleep and early rising, I find solace in the internet knowledge that Einstein slept 10-12h too.

31. My mom’s inspiration for the name, however, was The Human League’s Louise. It was innovative at the time, according to contacts at Latvian Bureau of Statistics, I’m the 22nd Luīze registered in Latvia. Some years after it became more popular and now there’s a lot of Luīzītes. I just let people reinvent my name as they please, because nobody that doesn’t speak Latvian is able to get it right. Well, at least exactly as my mother intended. And people are creative alright! I’ve gotten Luis, Elise, Lluice, Luitze, Lizzie, Alice, Lucille… Luisa is not in use in our household, but Luise and Luisita is.

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Too much information? Anything left unanswered? This is the opportunity…

#whatiwore 2018w52 + Sunday links

Om-nom-nom, here we go with a nice hefty portion of brain food to finish off 2018:

1. People either ignore them on hate them these days, but once they were all the rage – Artificial Intelligence: A Guide To Synthetic Fibers.

2. And if you are going to proclaim yourself as a natural fiber person, The Types of Cottons You Should Know.

3. Ha! The consistent theft and forgery of design can be a good thing for fostering in-house production and integrated supply chains at least at the highest shelves of fashion industry: Fashion’s Notoriously Controlling Luxury Brands Are Busy Bringing Everything They Can In-House.

4. And more garment history so that you would have an idea about the history behind an now-ubiquitous design: The Boot That Became “The Chelsea”.

5. It has been 120 years since Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class and 40 since Bourdieu’s Distinction, and still our fashion choices tell our politics and social class by a mile away: Cambridge Analytica Used Fashion Tastes to Identify Right-Wing Voters and Cambridge Analytica Used Consumers’ Fashion Preferences to Target Them with Pro-Trump Messaging.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Fashion, sustainability and tidying books I read in 2017.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w52.

Also, this is the 200th blog post at Un Armario Verde en 100th #whatiwore post. You can scroll through all those posts here (if you want the weird Mediterranean seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn) or see them all at a glance on Pinterest here. All together it looks rather spectacular, and the data lover in me squeals alright about such abundance of consistent data.

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What do you think your fashion choices tell about you? Could you be politically targeted due to your looks or would that be a total miss? Do you camouflage or express your true self via clothing, ehm, wearing your heart on your actual sleeves?

#whatiwore 2018w51 + Sunday links

Nom-nom-nom…

1. If you wanted a reminder why fast fashion is not a good idea neither as a gift nor as a last minute sequin dress provider: (a) Global garment workers exploited as big brands pressure suppliers: Report; (b) 5 Years After Pay Pledge, HnM Still Isn’t Paying Laborers a “Living Wage”; (c) Bangladesh to eject safety inspectors brought in after Rana Plaza disaster. Stay away from those people! + also, The Biggest Fake News in Fashion, aka ‘fashion as we know it is bad for the environment and pollutes a lot, but we cannot really say that it is the second most polluting industry’.

2. And if you wanted a suggestion list for your 2018 resolutions: Ten simple ways to act on climate change. Yes, you already know these by heart but have you actually tried to apply these to your life? All 10? Half? Just 3? Let me remind you that the 4 most effective on the individual level are: having less children, going car free, flying less, and switching to plant-based diet.

3. A long(ish) read on the sudden appearance (in the common social consciousness) of one of the trendiest sustainability issues: The plastic backlash: what’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference?

4. And just for historical fashion fun – The Pilgrims: The Original Sadd Boys [for whom black was too daring of a color].

5. An occasional uplifting piece of new that is supposed to make us feel hopeful about fashion: The UK workers’ co-op filling in fast fashion’s gaps and here you can buy from that co-op: Community Clothing.

And as a community service: In Mapping, Size Matters + more about Gall–Peters projection. Because you are old enough to know that maps are political and that Africa is bigger than Greenland or Europe. You are welcome!

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What I was writing about a year ago: 7 dresses x 3 months: Lessons learnt.

What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w51.

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Have you already prepared your 2019 resolutions/goals? Are you giving up something? Are you starting something new? Did your 2018 sustainability resolutions work out?