#100wears: Bik Bok parka

March 2005 – Rīga, Latvia.

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#100wears is the most beloved garment section where I show off the longevity of items I’ve worn at least 100 times and urge to elevate the rather low #30wears aspiration. Basically, a love song, a poem, a “there are some garments so good I can’t stop wearing them”… My Bik Bok parka is one of them.

The oldest photos I have of it are from October 2003, so I should have got it in winter 2002/2003 sales. At the ripe age of 15! It’s one of my oldest garments still in use. Similar to the red denim jacket, it was one of my first fast fashion garments with a ‘label’ that marked class mobility of my family away from second-hand and pirate fast fashion from Gariunai market in Vilnius. Yes, in the early 2000s fast fashion stores in shopping malls felt very cool!

Although I’ve wore it very little during last ten years, this parka was my everyday staple for five winters from 2002 till 2007. Then I moved countries and this garment is too warm for Brussels, Ciudad Real, Salamanca or Barcelona. So since 2007 it lives at the back of my mother’s wardrobe in Rīga, patiently waiting for the occasional true winter day when I happen to be there.

New Year’s Eve 2003 to 2004 – Lielupe, Latvia.

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March 2005 – Rīga, Latvia.

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November 2005 – Rīga, Latvia.

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March 2006 – Rīga, Latvia.

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January 2017 – Rīga, Latvia.

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This parka has thought me a couple of things, most important of them being that, while garments might look the same, their functional capacities can be very different. There is a gradient in winter clothing. and ‘parkas’ that people wear in the Mediterranean are very different from those that people wear up North.

Another lesson is that under extreme conditions function trumps aesthetics. It’s a hard one to learn for a city dweller that has chosen her country of residence partly because of the weather… but this parka – and Latvian weather – have been educating me for ~15 years now. When the temperatures drop, I forget all my stupid ideas about a ‘flattering silhouette’ and celebrate having a big parka that is (a) very warm (with a fluffy carpet-like lining and double closure), (b) in a light color (seems superfluous but it really helps in the darkest of seasons, both to improve my safety in traffic and to just feel better), has an (c) impressive hood and (d) all the pockets in the world.

The outer shell of my park is removable – for maximum versatility and easier cleaning – so this winter I got the possibility to wear it but without the fluffy lining:


January 2018 – Rīga, Latvia.

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Is there a type of garment that you have keep wearing throughout the years? What pieces easily reach #100wears in your wardrobe? What are the items or materials whose functional superiority you have had to admit despite your genuine preferences pointing you in another direction? When does ‘practical’ trumps ‘pretty’ in your wardrobe?

Luīze

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