Brain food for everybody:
1. Just for fun, a reinterpretation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic: Be kind to your tailors. And if you want a more serious reinterpretation, Clarissa is here to help: The Dangerous Old Woman, parts one and two.
2. A weird article linking casual dressing and loss of humility understood as empathy: Dress Up. What we lost in the Casual Revolution.
4. And in the feminist news of the industry: Female-Focused Manual Workwear Is Still an Emerging, But Also Evolving, Market.
5. I cannot resist the idea of completely locally produced clothing. And here you have somebody actually doing it: Rebecca Burgess, the founder of Fibershed, at Conscious Chatter podcast Episode 118 | Fibershed + Regenerative Textile Systems.
What I was writing about a year ago: Summer 2017 capsule heroes and lessons learned.
What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2017w37. This is the rare occasion when no garments coincide, as a year ago it was the Mykonos edition and this week was clearly the week of the WAG set.
Anther old post you might enjoy: My minimalist well-being routine.
While I’m not doing formal seasonal capsules anymore, I sill think in seasons… and this one is getting a bit too long. Are you in the autumn mode already? Or is it a summer forever for you too? By now I am craving scarves and cardigans.
Different from previous blogging-versary posts, this contains very limited amount of what George Carlin would have called ‘free floating hostility’. If you want more on what’s wrong with fashion and internets, here: Six months of blogging and adjusting expectations and A year of blogging and adjusting expectations.
As you can see above, the visitor stats have improved in comparison with my n00b year. In these 8 months of 2018 there have been twice as much visitors as in the ten first months of the blog that fell in 2017. It’s still, of course, nothing in comparison of what proper influencers get, but I’m happy to see that there is some payoff. And I can see a high correlation between me promoting the content and people actually coming over, so that’s the double-edged sword I’m now trying to tame: my work here is recognized at least with some interest, but every time I leave the blog a bit off – for thesis or any other reasons – I feel guilty, because of all the action I am missing.
As I plan my posts weekly, I’m also used to looking at stats as weekly columns. The best week – and also month – stats-wise on this blog was in February when Archana misspelled my name but linked to #100wears. That brought in 200+ visitors in that week, and this meager number clears up how quiet it gets here. In weeks I’ve been off-ish, less than 40 weekly visitors is a normal thing. Around 100 feels great and busy!
I recently went through a lot of past posts while preparing Swap masterpost, or all the resources so far, and I am happy to admit that at least I am happy with my content. I really like it. So I am acing at least the ‘I’m writing this blog for myself’ section. And in June I wrote the so far longest post that I am immensely proud of: Body positivity, the average user’s guide. It’s also funny that it is only so marginally about fashion and completely not about material sustainability…
Post length in general has been fluctuating. The graph below suggests a slight increase, the 2017 shortest Wednesday post was 293 words and the longest – 1806. So far in 2018 the shortest Wednesday post has been 322 and longest – 3180 words. And Sunday posts have gained word count since I started to do link lists below #wiw photos. At the total over 100k words on this blog, I really wish I’d write my thesis at such speed.
And now, a list of annoying things I’ve noticed around the internets:
(I’m not being constructive here, mind you, this is just hate)
A) Wedding dresses + and the whole idea of buying something new for a specific event, maybe wearing it only once, and fretting that ‘these people have already seen me in this outfit’. Not to even go into the idea of ‘that one special day in your life’ that you have to find the right dress for… Meh. But I’m weird that way, we already went over that: My take on “formal” and dressing up out of a capsule.
B) Cookbooks. Those are obsolete. A recipe book will never deliver what internet has, so why not just give up with dignity? In an era when I expect dozens of photos from all angles documenting the preparation, searchable indexes, google-able ‘what can I replace x with’, and even videos, not to mention hundreds of versions of the same dish available, why would I want a set book with one photo at most?
C) And a similarly absurd idea: magazines. Especially fashion and lifestyle magazines. How can such businesses survive while printing the same year after year? And why would I want to give my money for a solid copy of assorted articles that somebody else curated just to then throw it away? Or, worse, hoard for years? Again, the internets…
D) Making a problem out of laundry routines… what’s complicated about it? Maybe I’m too into professional organizer internet circles, but the fact that there are whole posts dedicated to this issue treating laundry as this great chore that needs planning and separating ‘folding’ as a separate one is confusing. Not mention people having ‘laundry rooms’. I brush this off as an American thing, result of too much space, too many children, too much free time, and an obsession with germs. Explain it to me if there’s anything else going on!
A note on my perspective: (a) We didn’t have a washing machine until I was 11 or so, my grandma worked at a kindergarten and would just use their facilities after work (once every two weeks, I guess?) to her laundry in that more advanced setting. (b) I was a cloth nappy child too, not because my mother was zero-waste, but because industrial diapers did not exist in Soviet Latvia in 1988, so boiling a pot of nappies on the stove top was a normal thing. Also, potty training took much shorter time. (c) As for drying, line drying, either outside, even in winter – sheets that have been drying outside in winter smell amazing, btw – or inside is the only thing I’ve known in my 30 years, except for 6 months in Brussels where I was using a launderette and in my mini-studio there was no space and a humidity problem that prevented line drying. (d) The only person in Latvia I know that for sure has a dryer – and enough reasons to have one – is a friend that has three small children. She described getting one as such a liberating experience that I do recognize that it can be a good idea… (e) As for us, we typically do three loads a week, two of clothing (cold and 60º) and one of tea towels and other linen (60º). We line-dry on the roof of our building or sometimes on the balcony using a little drying rack. I’m the one making an event out of this for the 10 minutes I dedicate to KonMari folding the tea-towels (like this!). The only planning involved – that often goes meh – is trying to not to have laundry up on the roof during a torrential rainfall or during the top summer heat hours… Where’s the mystery? More on laundry: Breathe deeply, it’s clean enough and Yes, there are garments that I’ve never washed.
E) The list of ‘basics’ that everybody needs. Nope, I’m my own person, thank you very much! And what’s the idea? That the reader of such crap will just throw out all the stuff she has and run out to get her Breton stripes and trench coat? F*ck off.
F) Trends in general. How the fuck dare you to tell me that now my bolero is so very out and those ugly mom jeans are in? Nope.
G) 1980s and 1990s looks. Nope. I lived through oversize sweaters in clashing colors, shoulder pads, and weirdly shaped pants when I was a child. Never again.
H) Curating your feeds with other people’s stuff. Ugh! Not cool. I do get the desire for a visual identity on IG, but just re-posting other’s pretty stuff is… dumb. And false advertising, imho. That’s what Pinterest is for. And I’m talking about credited work, of course, once you read the captions. Blatant stealing is a whole another hell.
See, at least for this kind of venting the blog is accomplishing all I could ask for. Let’s see if this shit ever comes back to haunt me… as I’ve already dismissed as idiotic all the ways how people make money from blogs. What internet stuff do you hate?
A random update on… self care: Wednesday (btw, most weeks the outfits go in chronological order Monday to Friday) was difficult for some reason, so I wore a crumply garment with a hole to work, because that was the only thing I did not totally abhor at that moment. The poor old kaftan is really disintegrating – seems that a #100wears feature just destroys garments – but it was either that or staying naked at home. So, in case you need this sometime, take this as my permission slip to be sub-optimally put together if need be. Clothing are just drag anyway. Do what you have to do ♥.
And, here, have a spoonful for the brain:
1. In line with my Wednesday mood, in defense of not being too polished: Fear Not the Rumples and Sang Froid in American Style, both focused on menswear while I’d say that womenswear need such chillax even more. Although my version of chill is much more chill then what the authors suggest…
2. And the other side of the dress-up / dress-down tension for those who want to dress up but have ‘nowhere to go’ and fear judgement: Put On Your Happy Suit and (a Reddit thread) I love to dress up, but I have nowhere to go…
3. On how much of what you might believe about the prehistorical social structures might be wrong: How to change the course of human history (at least, the part that’s already happened).
4. Have you ever stumbled across just the thing you wanted – a book, movie, album, item – and then just couldn’t get it (because they would not ship, or stream, or it’s out of print, etc.)? I had just that disappointment when reading Fashion Is “an Extremely Wealthy Industry Founded on Unpaid Work” over at The Fashion Law describing a qualitative research book by Giulia Mensitieri… just to discover, as far as I’ve been able to google, that the book only exists in French – Le plus beau métier du monde: Dans les coulisses de l’industrie de la mode. My French is not that good…
What I was writing about a year ago: (in perfect synchronization) September swap + my outgoing pieces.
What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w36.
Anther old post you might enjoy: Style ebb and flow, me and others.
When do you – if ever – relax the requirements for put-togetherness? I know that sometimes and for some people it actually might work the other way around: that getting put-together on the outside does a bit for the inside too. Are you one of those?
I started to learn to do proper textile stuff last year. And only now I’m finally starting to grasp – in tiniest baby steps – 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 double feature of a garment that was technically perfectly fine but didn’t feel right and a basic 3-minute fix of a jersey fail that happens all the time.
Liisa bag + Ezra W. Smith embroidery
In the beginning of 2018 Liisa made a gift for me: this little cross-body bag! Nice size, careful design, sturdy construction… and a print of a minion and Pusheen. Which showed her intimate knowledge of my Facebook sticker favorites and overestimation of my desire to express those in public. But I wanted to wear it! Reason 1: my dear friend made it! Reason 2: my only small bag here in Barcelona has chain strap that stains light garments, so a bag that would not entail sink washing my tops after every wear could be nice.
Also, the very technique of printing gave an impression of not lasting. Marina wore it for the week she was in Barcelona in July and the subsequent wash left it looking like this. I also have to admit that I didn’t care if this applique would be destroyed… because I had a plan.
Being an active insta-stalker of Ezra W. Smith I saw an opportunity to spend my hard-earned euros on embroidery by her. Also, I could explain my wish to spend 100€ on an 13 x 15 cm patch with #girlssupportinggirls. Best cure for buyer’s guilt is to wrap it in feminism! We talked back and forth about the content of the embroidery (carps, foxes and great tits were among the options) and settled on an owl. This was the photo she worked from, and this is the result:
As we had agreed that the most reasonable way to do this was for her to make a patch and to me to sew it on, I got some practice at invisible stitches. My initial plan was to create a definite border with bias ribbon or something (like this), but my sewing guru, Carmen from Opció Taller, convinced me that such artwork needed the least intervention possible. She was right, and here it is, complete with an ironic Tate Modern pin that says ‘oil painting’, as it should be!
The only weird thing about this endeavor has been that just around when I was carrying out this transaction, Liisa launched hEdgy Crafts doing, among other, embroidery, even of owls. I have already asked for forgiveness for having intervened her artwork… but the uneasiness stays. But at least now I have an easy-wear cross-body bag. While I’m not planning to put it in the washing machine ever again, the embroidery is keeping up very well so far, especially taking into account my usual carelessness with things.
So here you have before and after:
And here is the little basic jersey hole, as promised. My February swap t-shirt got a hole and I did my best to gather the sides and contain it. The internet is full of how-tos, here’s just two of them: How to Repair a Hole in a T-Shirt and Fix It Friday – Holes in Jersey Material.
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?
Your brain will thank you:
1. When a retail giant tries to clean up their act, it’s very complicated to begin with: Walmart Tried To Make Sustainability Affordable. Here’s What Happened.
2. The fashion industry cannot continue doing the same fast fashion thing. And changes needed are massive, not just tweaks in design, dyes or packaging. St. Kate dixit: Towards a future framework for fashion + how ‘greener’ fashion is not really changing much as far as the paradigm stays the same: A dizzying spin on green growth.
3. The fascinating topic on why are we as species so bad at understanding climate shit of our own making: Your brain on climate change: why the threat produces apathy, not action + Climate Change, Disbelief, and the Collision between Human and Geologic Time + European perceptions about climate change + Climate change and ideology.
4. Ha! You and me already knew that women’s fashion is pocket-challenged. Here are some people who actually went out and measured the differences. And I made a Pinterest board dedicated to the topic.
5. Archana’s post on house plants was probably meant to inspire… kind of scared me instead. I sometimes forget that plants are people too. However, I did my first-ever replant this weekend of the jade plant (?) the previous tenant had left behind. It is knotty and used to abandonment, but at least it has more space and a properly holed pot now:
What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: The Red Denim Jacket.
What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w35 + Sunday links.
Anther old post you might enjoy: Baby Steps: Detoxing A Wardrobe Takes Time.
Do you have green thumbs? Or at least try to develop them? Or has the plant fashion filling Instagram left you indifferent?
Another swap is coming! It has been too long… And always trying to improve our common experience swapping, here I have gathered all swap-related posts so far, hopefully useful for both first-timers and swap fans alike.
In my head there are two sides to swap prep for an un-customer. If your job is to show up and participate – which is a great job and without you there wouldn’t be an event – there are two questions you have to have answers to: (a) what am I taking to the swap? and (b) what do I want to bring home from the swap?
Step 0: Knowing what will happen
If this is your first swap, you want to know the rules of the game! There are many ways to exchange garments, so make sure you are in tune with the event you are going to. Important questions include the level of formality of the swap, if somebody else checks the garments for admittance, it there is a strict brought-1-take-1 policy in place. Of course, there will always be people happy to explain you the event in situ, but at least I appreciate prior knowledge before stepping into something new. And it is good to know these things when selecting what to bring to the swap. So these are all posts about swaps and lessons learnt in chronological order:
February 2017: Why We Swap and How.
October 2017: September Clothes’ Swap Recap.
February 2018: February (5th!) Clothes’ Swap Recap.
May 2018: May (6th!) Clothes’ Swap Recap.
Step 1: Vision building
Now back to you! Having a clear vision on how you want to dress helps a lot, both for editing the exisiting (the key question being ‘does the future me wants to wear that?’) and in moments when the Swap is flooding you with garments you never wanted that suddenly look kind of cute: Vision-building for your wardrobe.
Step 2: Editing
Preparation for a swap is a very good reason to take a good look on what you already have and see if there are garments that no longer fit your body, your style, your life. The internets will offer you a million ways to do a wardrobe revision, here you have my proposals: Constant Gardener: Edit your wardrobe! and Wardrobe pruning for minimalists: KonMari stairway to heaven.
Step 3: Sorting
Once you have a pile of bye-bye garments, the next task is to decide which ones are worth bringing to the swap and which ones are not. A swap is not a textile recycling plant to bring your rags to! Take your textile garbage to where it belongs, in case of Barcelona, the orange Roba Amiga containers or your local deixalleria / punt verd. I suggest the key question of: would you lend this garment to a friend? Like, if a friend visiting you had lost their luggage on their way, would this be something you would offer them? Things NOT to bring to a swap include anything truly worn out (unless it’s a vintage leather jacket), permanently stained, broken… if you think that the unravelled seam can be easily fixed, fix it! And wash it all, of course. Remember, a clothes swap is karma made into an event: if people bring sad rags, we have only sad rags to pick from. Here you have examples of ‘what I’ll bring to the next swap’ posts with descriptions of my reasons to send garments away from my wardrobe: We shall swap again and September swap + my outgoing pieces.
Step 4: Paying attention to the materials
Not all fibers are made equal and in the world of fast fashion there are sometimes very idiotic fiber choices, like using thick synthetic fabrics for summer garments or lining natural fiber garments with synthetics. So pay attention to the material tags while you are editing and sorting to find out what are your favorite – and least favorite – materials, especially if you are discarding something because you just cannot breathe while wearing it. More on fibers, here: Get to know your fibers (and stop cutting the tags).
Step 5: Wishlisting
At this point you should have a solid vision of how you want to dress in the nearest future, a pile of swap offerings and a pile of textile garbage. And an emptier wardrobe… So now the question is: do I need anything to complete my wardrobe? (If you did the full ‘brainy’ process from Constant Gardener: Edit your wardrobe! you already have a list, congratulations!) Of course, swap is not fairy magic that fulfills all the wishes, but knowing what you are looking for helps. Especially if you get carried away by pretty things and
good deals free stuff. As with all vintage hunting, there is always space for serendipity and the inexpected, unimagined treasure, but you might want to know that you do not need more t-shirts while a shortish skirt for colder months would be a great addition. This is an example of my wishlists:
And for the September swap I’ve decided to go a level up in imagining detailed imagination, so I made a Pinterest board. While even the internets might not have ready-to-pin exact photos, I really enjoyed this exercise, because it also serves to refine your desires. We all know that when we say ‘I want a new bodycon’ or ‘I need a white blouse’ it’s not just any generic garment. If you then decide to relax your criteria or find an even better cut than you had imagined, cool, but clear desires really help. Sometimes it even gets too much, if you keep hunting for the right garment: Swap VI and the problem with the threadbare.
Following these steps you should be ready to swap happily and fruitfully! Here are just additional mini-points:
If there is a Facebook event, tick that you are going and share the event on your timeline! Diffusion really helps, especially to you as you get a bigger event to find your whlist items at.
If you want to get more involved in the event, ask the organizer if you can volunteer with something. The most likely answer will be yes as there are so many things to do. And you will be sudddenly part of the organizing team and will have an even better entry-way to make new friends at the event, and feel superuseful and sustainable.
It’s OK to bring back something you picked up at the last swap. This mode of garment acquisition is the safest way to experiment and has the best return policy: Curating the 100% comfort wardrobe.
Have a solid breakfast before! And try your best to not to be horribly hungovered. For your own wellbeing. The format of my swaps is a Saturday morning pica-pica with beer or vermouth (and water, and tea in winter), but snacks won’t do enough for your empty stomach.
Enjoy the event! It’s a party, after all. And a party filled with likeminded people who don’t mind that typical second-hand smell – I still have no clue where that comes from, the internets says it’s just humans – so take your time to socialize and make friendships.
Do you have any swap experiences? Additional tips or rituals you do to prepare? What’s your best-ever (or just latest) swap find?
Nom-nom-nom, said the brain:
1. What have the shops done after the (partial) free plastic bag ban in Spain: (in Spanish) ¿Se está aplicando la normativa de cobrar las bolsas de plástico en España? A spoiler: not that much.
2. I am a sucker for unintended consequences, so: The #MeToo Movement Finds an Unlikely Champion on Wall Street.
3. Heh! Why Does Every Lifestyle Startup Look the Same? The clock is running out on this minimalist aesthetic… This: “Rather than being descriptive of the product itself, startup minimalism indicates how that product will be purchased and delivered to the shopper: digitally, easily, inexpensively, and with a smile. It promises no bullshit and no imposition on your busy schedule.”
4. This is a nice working hypothesis for the woo-woo wellness boom: How did wellness become our new religion? And if you want solid reasons to hate Goop, here, you are welcome – Dr. Jen Gunter: I Snuck Into Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Summit To See Just How Bonkers It Was and Goop Forced to Pay $145,000 and Refrain From Making Unsubstantiated Medical Claims.
5. And time for some art! I am a great admirer of William Morris‘ pattern work (and political activities), as for me it brings together just the right dosage of ornamental and ordered. For brainy activities, here you have his writing archive. And for the artsy part: (a) William Morris and wallpaper design at Victoria and Albert Museum; (b) Morris’ 1981 Some Hints on Pattern-Designing; and (c) solid Pinterest-y advice on How to Create a Pattern in the style of William Morris.
What I was writing about a year ago: Is Sustainable Fashion a Privileged Affair? Yes, and…
What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w34 + Sunday links.
Other old posts you might enjoy: My Wardrobe, Part 1: What Do I Have and How Did I Get Here and My Wardrobe, Part 2: How I Build and Track My Seasonal Capsules.
How has your week been? Autumn wishlists ready and colder weather items suddenly seeming so appealing? Or are you the one who wants summer to go forever?
I have already complained about the surprising downside of a truly small wardrobe: garments worn frequently do wear out! And don’t come to me with ‘but my grandma’s vintage’, nope, if an old garment has reached you, it hasn’t been worn that much. It is true that the fabrics going around nowadays are worse, but one also has to come to terms with the basic physics of friction and wear. And when enough of that happens, no swap will give your garments a new life, it’s just time to say bye-bye!
So to honor the fallen with one final recognition of all their service, this is my new ‘beyond repair’ section to fare proper goodbye. And today it’s a double feature!
The white zipper blouse
2015 hand-me-down from my mother, 100% viscose, 65+ wears.
The white zipper blouse has been my go-to staple for last two summers, before that it was just laying around waiting for its moment to shine. It comes from the epoch when my mother still ordered from catalogues, and I would dare to say that probably no other garment of this model has been through so many wears and washes. I never ironed it, so in many outfit pictures it looks rather crumpled, and my underwear choices under it were always visible, but I didn’t care… And it dried quickly after a hand wash, combined with everything and was the perfect lightness for Barcelona summers when putting anything on is a struggle.
However, the fabric is now showing visible wear (I’ll repeat: I don’t think that people who designed this little number and picked the material for it ever thought anybody would wear for more than a couple times) and broken threads all over. In my efforts to sharpen my criteria and look more put together, I had already decided that this was going to be its last season. And then it got a hole you can see in the photo above! And I got a dilemma… Because, of course, I could make an effort to patch the hole: put an applique on it, convert the whole back in a lace garden or do a rebellious embroidery. Yet that will do nothing for the wear and tear of the fabric. So I’ve decided to work on acceptance that garments, especially the light and fragile ones, are not forever. And send this one off to textile trash. Thank you, little blouse, you did a great job!
The HnM ‘conscious denim’ shorts
2015 hand-me-down from my mother, 100% lyocell, 69+ wears.
The ‘denim’ shorts come from the last time my mom got excited about HnM, and then pretty quickly realized that she wouldn’t really wear all that. And the story of the shorts is pretty much the same as that of the little white blouse above: it’s a lightweight fast fashion garment meant to be bought for one night at Primavera Sound and then discarded. Ha! But I insisted, although they were never too comfortable or ‘serious enough’ for work (I tried wearing them to office once and quickly realized that nobody else cared but I truly didn’t feel appropriate).
And then they just fell apart. I really have a feeling that just suddenly they were all frayed, especially at waistband. And my response to the ‘fix or ditch’ question was, as above, material related. This is not true denim that I’ve just ‘worn in’. Nope, this is very light (a bit more sustainable) viscose that is not known for aging well. And fixing the waistband wouldn’t improve much the life expectancy of this garment. Oh, well. Thank you so much, and out to textile trash they go.
Have you had to send things to textile trash recently? Was it due to heavy wear or to inherent weaknesses of the material or cut? Or do you have more creative discarding strategies, like converting the garments in patchwork or embroidery?
Feed the brain, feed the brain…
1. Occasionally consumers do have enough power to move something, that happens rarely, though. The title should be ‘If people with money get angry with somebody, they might kill their brand’ instead of Stop buying crap, and companies will stop making crap.
2. Not only Paul Manafort‘s shady deals went on trial, so did his taste in clothes: Did Paul Manafort Secretly Dress Like Steven Seagal? Somebody with time on their hands could write a whole set of papers about (a) the gendered aspects of such ‘taste trials’, i.e., how garment or home décor accumulation is ridiculed because of its association with femininity, a collection of sports cars wouldn’t have raised such amount of scorn; (b) the glee with which media dissected his extraordinary sartorial spending; and (c) how lifestyle aspirations can turn around and become evidence against you.
3. And some more symbolic sartorial politics from USA: The presidential love of denim – an illustrated guide. D-oh, those are not mom jeans, those are president jeans!
4. An unexpected take on mental health and medicating oneself down to the population average: “This is the reason I take these meds, right? So I can live a life that seems relatively normal. Except for one thing: I don’t want to be normal”.
5. In the local news, taking into account that many undocumented migrants in the big Spanish cities end up as street vendors of fake goods and knickknacks constantly harassed by the police and earning criminal records that then make ‘papers’ nearly impossible, there is activism around these issues and much of that involves garments. (In Catalan) Roba que dignifica vides + (in Spanish) the union of street vendors who have launched their own garment line + (in Spanish) and, as an alternative to those economic activities, there is also a cooperative dedicated to African-inspired fashion and catering: Diomcoop / Diambaar. So if you want a waxprint-y something made in Barcelona, those might be the people to get in touch with.
What I was writing about a year ago: Capsule wardrobes trans-seasonally and beyond seasonality.
What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w33 + Sunday links.
Another old post you might enjoy because the swap is coming: Why We Swap and How.
Are you ready for the September swap? Oh, yes, it has been too long… And if you are not in Barcelona, make your own! I have plenty of tips here, y también en castellano, por supuesto: He organizado seis intercambios de ropa y ésto es lo que he aprendido.
The only way how a pair of Birks can look dainty is by another, bigger pair.
#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 pair of Vegan Birkenstock Gizeh has reached the magic wear threshold a while ago – it’s now 130 and counting – so here comes the love song.
This is my first pair of brand Birks as it took years for vegan models of my liking to appear in the vegan section of their store. I have been pinning these ‘made in Spain’ suspiciously similar vegan sandal for years. I knew I would like the model as these were the copycat sandals I wore to shreds in summer 2005. And then I went back to the store and with my despair about how could a pair of shoes fall apart so quickly (the toe post came out, so that was a design flaw) cajoled them into giving me another pair for free:
So all the stars aligned last July and for rather reasonable 65€ we have been happy ever since, getting up to #100wears in less than a year. And their production practices and attitude couldn’t make me happier… I mean, somebody who is willing to go on record saying that collaborations with Supreme or Vetements would be ‘prostitution’, among other strong opinions about the world of fashion is exactly the person I want to buy sandals from (see this for a historic overview of Birkenstock footwear).
When it comes to fit on my hobbit feet, you can see that a size 38 is a bit long (in sneakers I typically wear a 39 to fit in all that width) and a bit too narrow as my pinky is hanging on the edge. Trying to get it right I actually went to a brick-and-mortar pop-up here in Barcelona, and this size is a compromise between their generous sizing and my even more generous feet. After a year of active wearing – I also got a pair the same model in EVA for home and swimming pool use – I’m very happy with my choices. But if you are the one with very narrow feet, these might not be for you (not for nothing they do a narrow-feet option), leave them to the hobbit people!
My biggest surprise – but obvious when you think about it – is that while they are very easy to just slide into and hang around, Birks are not a walking shoe. Less so with the ones made of EVA because that plastic is cushioning, but that original anatomical footbed is not giving you any spring. It supports, yes, but that’s it. So walking long distance is not a good idea, at least I get feet blisters which is no fun at all. And keep a heavy duty cream for your feet at hand, as they get dry and tired in sandals (as opposed to wet and smelly in sneakers). Also, my feet create vacuum with the footbed when walking and often make little fart noises… You decide if that’s a perk you’d enjoy. I don’t know any other Birk-wearer that has the same issue, so it probably has to do with the hobbit feet and not so much the shoes.
Another primer: although they look incredibly sturdy, they do wear out, especially, of course, if that happens to be your only sandal and you are a shredder (a counterfactual: C’s Birks are from 2016 and look immaculate in a live-forever-Highlander-way). So at least for me this is not a #buymeonce scenario. Mine have wear and tear, and the reason for discarding will probably be the left heel. They are surely hanging in there until this autumn, and we’ll see how the next summer goes. If they survive until next July and clock in the respective 260 wears, I might have to do a ritual burial and all. After 130 wears (and no cleaning or any other active upkeep), this is what they look like:
What pieces easily reach #100wears in your wardrobe? Have you ever had the perfect match between desiring something for a long time, then getting it and being truly satisfied? Have you had any recent #buymeonce finds or #buymeonce disappointments with something you thought would last forever?
Brain-food, brain-food, what a good idea…
While the focus here are classic male fashions, the attention to detail and the knowledge involved are fascinating: How To Judge Quality In Clothing.
And a counterfactual rant about how little women’s fashion actually cares about their consumers comfort (not to talk about the workers): 15 Infuriating Things We All Hate About Women’s Clothing. You would have thought that after all the memes about pockets, the industry would have got the message. Here, I made a little Pinterest board of them, you are welcome! For example, part of Sanjukta’s business is to put pockets on your garment for 10€. Résistance forever!
When somebody decides to translate the message into action, it becomes news: New University Rules Encourage Scientists to Avoid Air Travel. Here you have my bits on the topic: My Sustainability Fails in March and then trying to take some action in June – Train Travel Long Distance in Europe.
What I was writing about a year ago: The Future of Riga Capsule.
What I was wearing a year ago (see how many items coincide!): #whatiwore 2017w32 + Sunday links.
Another old post you might enjoy: The Minimalist Wardrobe Masterpost: What Do People Do and Why?
My crumply top season is still on, survival is still the priority and wearing any garments feels awful… How is your summer going? Ready for some cardigans and blanket scarves? Already making Pinterest wishboards full of skiing sweaters?
Also, my first KonMari consulting client ‘graduated’, so I have some free time on my hands. Get in touch if you are interested in some life changing magic of tidying up!