Beyond repair: sports bra and blue leggings

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. It is also meant to be educational, by the way, as recognizing ‘this just needs a new owner’ from ‘this can be fixed’ from ‘this is textile waste’ is a key task we all need training. You are welcome, my vasilisas separating poppy seeds from sand!

For a contrarian wishing to prove me wrong along the lines of ‘you could still make use of these by creating leg warmers, cutting it up in jersey yarn for chunky knitting, shred it for pillow filling…’ the answer is ‘yes, but only if I would want those recycled objects’. Around the corner there is the DIY falacy. Going back to Nagisa Tatsumi: “the Western custom of making patchwork from old clothes can be helpful [but] on the other hand, if you end up with ten oven mitts in the house, you’re just accumulating something else, so only try idea [of recycling] with clothes that you find very difficult to throw away. You might, for example, like to make a purse or a bag from a kimono or dress your mother used to wear. Changing form and reducing size – it’s another method of disposal”.

I really cannot think of anything I would want out of these discards. I have an upcoming project where I am using this logic of recycling, though, so stay tuned to the Fix it! section.

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The sports bra

Karrimor, bought new in 2015, unknown production place (all tags have washed off by now) but bad enough, unknown fabric mix bu very synthetic, of course, countless wears – this bra should have at least a yoga teacher certificate by now.

This sports bra has been my sports and lounge buddy for more than 3 years because of its fit. On a typical workday I’d take off the underwire bra and change into this one to proceed with errands and home life. Depending on necklines I’d also try to sneak it into work. And travel. Fun fact: I bought a Nike one the same day and gave it away soon after, as that one kept hurting my neck and containing the body parts it was supposed to contain.

So by now it was a trusted friend receiving weekly washes and countless stretches… and it shows. The elastic stops being elastic after a while. And some piling happens. Up till recently I was also going to say that smells accumulate (synthetics + underboob sweat = not cool, who knew?!), but my mother in law washed it while we were visiting her in September and did some magic (I suspect that higher temperatures combined with a fabric softener did the trick), so it actually doesn’t smell anymore.

The problem, of course, was to replace it properly. I knew that I needed such garment. And – after the Nike fail – I knew that it wasn’t necessarily that easy. The fear of failure was so big, I actually shared it as one of my sustainable living decision fatigues. And then some Internet magic happened: a stranger on FB suggested the thing that looked like exactly what I was looking for. I’ve had my People Tree Yoga Crop Top for a week now, so I can let go of the old one. Thank you so much, little sports bra!

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Blue leggings

ZIB, a 2015 gift from my mom, made in Latvia, 92% viscose 8% elastane, 100+ wears.

Ugh, this one is hard. That brilliant blue color! That soft-soft viscose! I love these leggings, and they are worn to bits. And I am so falling for the ‘but they are soooo comfy, I’ll just wear them at home and nobody will know’. They are worn out – check your jersey against light, by the way, if you see streaks of light it means that all that elastane has long said bye-bye! – discolored, and breaking at the waist. I know myself all too well: unless I throw them out, there will be days when I’ll wear them to work. And then feel inadequate. So I needed to make a post about them and to solemnly swear that I am up to no good will deposit them in the textile trash. And I will get a couple of new ones.

Although ZIB people have never expressed wishes to join the sustainability revolution by switching to organic cotton mixes or disclosing where the textiles come from… they actually produce a shitload of summer styles in questionable synthetic mixes, one of the great mysteries of fashion design! But the leggings are cool: high waist, long legs (I usually cut mine a notch shorter), original screen printed patterns, made in Latvia. I’ve had 10+ of them by now and I’m repeating.

The decision to be brave and honest (the amount of drama surrounding one pair of worn-out leggings, really!) about this one is especially sad because I was truly looking forward to getting away with wearing pajamas to work this winter, like so:

But then again, here is an inside look (also, one of the weirdest photos I’ve ever made):

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Are you secretly keeping something too ratty for anybody to see? Do you actually wear it at home? Or have you tossed something of this kind recently: so perfectly worn in that it has to go already?

Share it with a friend!

Luīze

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