#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?

#100wears: Hummel Madelaine Zip Jacket

October 2010 – Sitges, Spain.

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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”.

May 2009 – Cambridge, UK.

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Item: Hummel Madelaine Zip Jacket.
Obtained in: 2009.
How? Bought new in a TK Maxx in London, UK.
Made in: Turkey.
Made of: 80% polyester, 20% cotton.

June 2009 – Rīga, Latvia.

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This fast fashion athleisure wear wonder is perfect. Warm enough as a layer that adds zero bulkiness, very flattering (yeah, I said it!) cut, zipper pockets perfect for travel and going out, washes perfectly, the little wink to princess sleeves at the shoulders, and people overlook its sporty nature due to the sober color combination. It has been with me pretty much everywhere with me since we first met, and, although it has seen a seamstress a few times, all that wear is barely visible.

April 2010 – Salamanca, Spain.

June 2011 – Ghent, Belgium.

July 2012 – Washington DC, USA.

April 2013 – Salamanca, Spain.

June 2015 – London, UK.

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As you can see, I have kept people distracted with big earrings, pins, brooches and extravagant head decorations, so that the athletic intentions of this jacket would go unnoticed. Although, the only time I gave a serious try to running – September 2015 in Copenhagen – Madelaine was part of my outfit: it’s warm, practical (the pockets!), and makes me feel very good. If all fast fashion behaved this well for so many years, we’d be having a totally different conversation.

November 2016/December 2017 – Barcelona, Spain.

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Do you have any garments that were meant for a specific activity – sports, pajamas (well, I wore this nightgown as a dress for a while), underwear, beachwear – that you loved so much that you re-purposed it? What types of items fall into your #100wears?

#100wears: Ginta’s gray cardigan

#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”.

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The gray cardigan is a basic fast fashion garment with all the tags ripped off (thanks, mom!) that I appropriated circa 2012, cotton and elastane mix probably. The first photographic evidence is from Salamanca in April 2013:


…and in 2015 already in Barcelona

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And it has been around ever since. 124 wears since January 2016 and many more before that. I have had to stitch an unraveling seam and to change the buttons, because it turns out that little gray buttons are *not* ubiquitous and easy to replace due to the grate variety in tone. I learned that in March from very annoyed sewing supply store ladies.

The secret of the success of this little cardigan is a boring one: simple and classical shape + neutral color (with no pattern). My love for colors and patterns is strong, but even I cannot deny the ease of wear of this “invisible” filler layer. That’s why I chose it to be my work layer, living in the office and providing protection against the AC (and this is also the reason you rarely see this cardigan in my #wiw posts): I can throw it on whatever I’m wearing and it gives just the right amount of schoolgirl vibe.
Like this:

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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?

#100wears: Veja Taua

#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”.

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I don’t know how I came across Veja sneakers in May 2015, then I couldn’t name any bloggers that were wearing them… Maybe through C., as he is the one better informed about brands in our household. But it was love at first sight, and, despite several shipping and handling problems (If you are not in France and are likely to not to be at home when your package arrives, at least in Barcelona, Spain you are screwed, because Veja people have no idea which courier company their shippers use in Spain. Solution: stay at home waiting, order to to a work address/someplace it will be accepted, or just use a re-seller…), I’ve currently wearing my 3rd and 4th pair. Oh, special vegan section, lovely designs, full transparency… and they fit my feet! After a long history of wrong footwear, this is a great step towards my well-being.


My first Vejas: Taua Black White! I miss them so much…

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What walking and biking does to soles. This is the 1st pair outgoing vs. the third incoming.

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The first three pairs I bought were all the same model: Taua. A very basic tennis shoe! I shred my first pair mercilessly. I wore them on all occasions, and washed them in the washing machine when they got too dirty even for my very low standards (I’ll never be the person with impeccable white sneakers!). Then I invested in another pair a few months later, mostly because of the floral print. My third pair, bought in 2016, is another outrageous a print, this time not in *organic cotton* but in b-mesh *made from recycled post consumer plastic*.

There are two lessons I’ve gathered so far: (a) as I have so few pairs and they get a lot of use + my hobbit feet keep breaking the textile in the same exact place, I really wear these things out; & (b) for the sake of versatility, I’d really love to go back to black, but Veja won’t let me… and that third pair is getting closer and closer to complete fallout.


Nº2 in floral cotton.

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Nº3 in fantasy b-mesh.

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Since I started counting wears in January 2016 (which means that the the two oldest pairs have actually been worn many times more than appear in my books), Veja Taua Black White got 101 wears until their demise in January 2017, the Floral has got 95 and are begging to be replaced, and Bahia’s got 209 and counting (I aspire to replace them in January 2018). Boom!

My 4th Veja pair is Arcade (see here, here, and here) – even I got carried away with the bulky aesthetics of the shitty brand sneakers one sees everywhere – but I was socialized in tennis shoes as symbol of rebellion (thanks so much, Converse All Stars and Avrile Lavigne!) and would like to go back to basics with my next purchase, so the current choice would be between Taua in colors nobody wanted or the chunkier Pierre design… We’ll see. Meanwhile, my street cred with shredded pirate sneakers from 2005 (although I doubt that any of those got to #100wears before they fell apart) for your viewing pleasure:

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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?

#100wears: The Red Denim Jacket

This post was written as submission to the Fashion Revolution Zine #002. They didn’t want it but for me this will be the first one in monthly series about my most worn garments. #100wears because we all know that #30wears is not even close to ambitious. The red denim jacket definitely got more than 100 wears but nobody counted…

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It was 2003. The big switch in what I wore had happened a few years ago. My parents were upwardly mobile. We had started to shop in mall stores instead of market stalls and second hand shops, a big leap for (still) post-soviet Latvia. My early adolescent insecurities had dissipated. I was 15 and felt very cool.

I had the confidence to pull off pretty much anything and enjoyed garments with shock value, so, when this fast fashion denim jacket – classic cut but in bright red – came in my wardrobe, it became a *neutral* filler piece. Maybe exactly because of being so easy to wear this jacket hung around and accompanied me everywhere: school, parties, travel, coming-of-age adventures, leaving my parents’ home, and changing countries of residence.

The frequency fluctuated, but I wore my denim jacket pretty constantly until this spring. It had faded heavily on the outside and had a lot of wear and tear, despite my seamstress’s efforts to conceal it. I wouldn’t care too much about the beyond mint condition, but the shape also felt dated. Our 14-year relationship was coming to an end.

With a heavy heart I followed the rules of my wardrobe (“if you are not thrilled to wear it now, it has to go”), and set it apart for the next community clothes’ swap. I know that we overestimate the qualities of our belongings just because they are ours. So I assumed that this swap will be the funeral of my denim jacket, that my community – by not wanting it – will confirm that this garment is dated and too worn out to be desired.

But turns out that classic cuts do live forever! That red jacket now lives with my friend Alba, and I hope that the leprechauns of my youth still hide in the pockets urging her to take her chances and enjoy life at its fullest.

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What are your *forever* garments? How old is the oldest wearable item you have? Do you still wear anything that you wore in your adolescence?