The oldest garments of my wardrobe

These are among the actually oldest things that I own, but that’s another story.

This post from Rebecca from A Clothes Horse peaked my curiosity… First of all, great, I am always for bloggers with such big platforms showcasing that they re-wear things. That said, I got that typical post-2000 thought of ‘but 2011 was yesterday, what’s the big deal?’ until my rational mind kicked in half-second later pointing out that 2011 was 8 years ago. Dude, actually 9 years in a couple of weeks…

Hence I recognize that 8 years is a long time for a dress, especially if you have worn it a lot. (Because we all know the meanest paradox about old garments that looks like new: chances are that they haven’t been worn that much.) And I proceeded to explore my own archive.

To make it more real – and restrictive – I’m looking only at actual garments, not accessories and adornments because that gets into family vintage too easily and where is the research value of that. And only the pre-2010 pieces are included to put a limit somewhere. So everything below will be at least 10 years old in 2020. Yeah, most of it overlaps with #100wears but indulge me…


Since 2003: The Bik Bok parka (the #100wears post)

The warmest garment I’ve owned in the last few decades. It gets few wears nowadays, because this parka lives in Rīga and gets worn only when it’s below 0ºC. The fluffy inside layer can be taken out in order to turn the parka into a trench-like thing. The garment as such is a bulky one, and not really flattering… but who cares when it’s -17ºC?

This parka has been fixed a couple of times (buttons, closures, worn-out finishings, etc.) but there is no reason to give it away and look for another one with my current lifestyle. This garment has never lived out of Latvia and I’m not planning to take it with me. I need it back there where real winter does occasionally happen.

January 2004 vs. January 2019:


Since 2005: The green patterned secondhand top

This no-brand pure-plastic top came to me in a Humana shop during my first visit to Barcelona in 2005. And we’ve been together ever since. So much so that the dye has been worn off from the elbows… it has received minor fixes at the seams, but nevertheless lives to prove that plastic is forever. Also, the shape and the pattern are great.

April 2006 vs. December 2019:


Since 2005: The Street One jacket (the #100wears post and the refashioning post)

I’ve talked so much about this jacket already, see the links above, but it just keeps being a key garment of my wardrobe… my most worn layer in 2019, btw.

May 2005 vs. November 2019:


Since 2005: The purple Cecil top

This top is pure magic in confirming that great quality, lasting cotton jersey is possible. My mom wore this one at the beginning, then I took over and have been wearing since 2005. Yes, not very intensively as it has always stayed in Rīga, but not having even had an unraveled thread is an amazing achievement in this world of crap fast fashion jersey. People, it is possible to make quality jersey stuff if you do it well!

November 2005 vs. February 2018:


Since 2006: The fluffy Seppälä coat

This coat has had a slightly turbulent history but it has come around since then. Originally, it was almost knee-length, straight-cut, and bought by my then-boyfriend. We had identical fluffy coats. Yes, his-and-her towels. Sometime during my undergrad, around 2010/2012, I had the splendid idea to ask our trusted seamstress in Rīga to reshape it: make it shorter, make a hood out of the cut-off bits, make a proper zipper closure (the original had only a couple of buttons). She did an amazing job, and it has been working pretty well as my not-that-cold-winter coat since then.

March 2006 vs. March 2019:


Since 2008: The HnM sweetheart dress

This dress was one of those classic feel-good impulse buys. At HnM, no less. But I was lonely and depressed in Brussels, so I had my reasons. And it was a general fail… I’ve done my best throughout the years, but this dress hasn’t become a favorite (it has seen many operas, though). I’ve been resisting my rational impulses to finally get rid of it and have implemented several adjustments: fixing the unreliable neckline with added straps, wearing layer above it not to worry about pieces of my body being too much for this classic cut… Well, now, finally, it is undergoing a radical change trying to preserve the part that I like and ditch the bothersome one. I hope to be able to show it in its new incarnation very soon…

December 2008 vs. February 2018:


Since 2009: The Hummel Madelaine jacket (the #100wears post)

This jacket is legendary! It is supposedly a comfy (zipper pockets!) exercise piece, for running and such. But for me it has been an *everything* jacket for solid 10 years. Again, the quality of the finishings is astonishing, the shape is great… what else can a girl want from a jacket?

October 2009 vs. October 2019:


So, are there any solid conclusion regarding the pieces that have stayed with me for years? Well, there are no bottoms among them. They are often fixed and transformed pieces. And some of them are those with a  very definite purpose that happens so rarely that looking for a more optimal garment would not really be worth the while…

What are your oldest garments still in rotation? Are those the beloved, fixed for the n-th time pieces or those ‘it looks new because I never really wore it’ garments? Do you have any real family vintage that you actually wear?

#100wears: Muroexe Materia boots

This is not a love song. In contrast to most #100wears posts, this is not a story of a garment being so incredibly useful and/or pleasant that I haven’t been able to stop wearing it. No, this is an ode to me (and maybe my unnecessary stubbornness) for having put up with a suboptimal pair of footwear for three years. Now, after 120 wears and a boot alternative at the horizon (stay tuned), I’m ready to end this rather sad affair.

I bought them on sales in January 2017 for 65€. You can still get them for 95€, probably cheaper during the January sales. C was excited about the brand (he has acquired a pair of sneakers since then and is very satisfied), Juan already owned several pairs and was very happy with them. They were made in Spain (some of their production is made in China, though) and vegan. The marketing was sleek and aspirational, just look at the little tag that came with the boots:

I don’t know which size I ordered (and the size tag has long rubbed off) but I had to change them for a smaller pair, most probably 40 to 39. I had to bring them to a cobbler a year after having bought them to re-glue the sole (7.50€), and will do it again before bringing them to the December swap because they are letting water in again.

Please, understand me correctly! These boots have been a reasonably OK experience for the occasional Barcelona rain and the very mild Mediterranean winter. But that is also the whole point: they perform just OK when a pair of sneakers would do better and are suboptimal for the weather they were supposedly created for. I have several major complaints and both are purely design issues that somebody hasn’t really thought through:

1. The sole has 0 grip! Dude, you have to be an idiot to make a rain boot that has no traction on slippery surfaces. Or somebody who is so Mediterranean that ‘they forgot’. It is ridiculous. The only way you can walk in these is what my dad would call ‘as when they put little booties on a dog’. I have had only one serious fall while wearing these, though. On the stairs of my apartment building, slipping and then sliding for a while ending in a broken lunch box and a very painful elbow for weeks. But that was scary and could’ve ended much worse. The point was brought home to me most powerfully on a dinner date with Julie where I complained about this and we then proceeded to compare the soles of our ankle boots: hers was a grippy Danish thing made for all the tricky textures of wet leaves and slush, mine was a Barcelona fantasy of a wet weather boot.

No, you don’t want a surface this smooth in contact with the famous Barcelona tiles when those are wet.

2. As for being ‘waterproof’, as promised on the website, and setting aside the fact that the joining line is clearly not that solid (2 re-gluings in 3 years), they have exactly the same problem as all waterproof lace-up boots. Your feet will be dry as long as no water reaches the lacing… after that you are done and can go home. Or spend all day with wet feet (that won’t get dry because they are encased in waterproof material). But, I’ll admit, this complaint is equally valid for a pair of classic Docs and other similar wares. Those, however, might be slightly more breathable…

3. This might be a less universal complaint but it does ruin my experience with these boots. What they call ‘goma’ / ‘rubbery texture’ on their website (a side note on both prices and text differing between the Spanish and English versions of the Muroexe universe) feels incredibly plastic IRL. I own a pair of Nokian Hai rainboots and the texture is very different. In the Muroexe boot my feet feel trapped in plastic bags.

I also happen to have very sweaty feet… so the experience has been very sweaty and very smelly, as the already noted waterproofness will take care that nothing evaporates. My boots have probably spent more time on the balcony stuffed full of lavender bags than they have spent on my feet. And the insoles have seen several machine washes.

4. In comparison with the rest, this might be minor, but still speaks about the design flaws: the laces won’t stay laced. I don’t know what they are made of – and they are cute – but never in my adult life I’ve had to redo my laces so often. In combination with wet weather and the 0 grip soles this becomes not only annoying but dangerous. The only way I found to deal with this has been tucking the ends of the laces in the boot itself. Not optimal.


My decision to finally let go of these boots actually has to do with having had to spend several days nonstop in them… I was fine wearing these for a couple of hours on a rainy day in Barcelona, and I always had a pair of office shoes to change in. But I took only the Muroexe boots for me on the Portuguese train trip, spent five days wearing them for extended time periods… and I was disgusted. See you never, Muroexe, we are not a good match!

On the other hand, the aesthetics are good and translate well across a wide range of formal to informal styles:


So come pick them up at the swap if you are around size 39/40, walk carefully, and are not prone to sweaty feet. That plastic is sturdy enough and shows little wear, so maybe they can be your new best friends.

Have you had this kind of complicated garment relationship where you know very well how suboptimal the thing is but are very reluctant to let go? Are you suffering something like this now? I do suggest that you look for a way out, especially if your suffering is physical or endangers your health.

#100wears: Swimming gear

#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”… or, as in this case, the ones that you just keep using, and they just keep serving you. This is the story of my swimming gear, and lessons on longevity learned in the swimming pool.

As I already wrote in my Barcelona summer survival guide in July 2017, “for years I’ve been toying with the idea how water activities might be the best ones for me. I sweat a lot and water prevents the discomfort of that, I always loved playing wit water and mud as a child, I had tried some low-key water aerobics and loved it… but I never learned how to swim properly and the Mediterranean is way too salty for me. So I’ve finally obtained some unsustainable gear – I already had a Speedo swimsuit (made in China), a 2015 “promise” purchase of double polyester that needs amortization, and now also a pair Birkenstock flip flops (EVA, made in Germany) and a silicone swimming cap (Decathlon-Nabaiji, made in China) – and got into the chlorinated water. And I love it, despite the overall tackiness and the smell, oh, the smell! So far it has been water aerobics with people at least twice my age, but one day I will swim properly. Pinky promise!”

And I kept that promise. That very September I enrolled in swimming classes and have been swimming in my local gym twice a week for the first year and three times a week since October 2018. Now I can proudly say that I have a solid base of knowledge (and muscle memory) of all four styles, and do around a kilometer of decent swimming on a good day.

Talking about my gear – that 2015 Speedo swimsuit, Birkenstock flip flops, and the cheap goggles and cap – and their wear count, I don’t have precise data, but here are the estimates just to drive home my point that these things, without any effort for #30wears or tracking have easily reached 100+ wears. Twice a week for a year would mean a max of 52 x 2 = 104 already. I did skip some classes for travel, but I’m quite consistent… For last 7 months it has been a potential of 7 x 4 x 3 = 84. They have received 150 wears at least. Boom!

The additional point I want to emphasize here are (a) the usual one that I bring up especially with shoes in my case (examples: Veja Taua, Veja Arcade, Arcopedico ballerinas) it but also applies to any other item that you have few of and use often: those reach #100wears with no effort and very quickly, and (b) how even garments from which you don’t expect much can pleasantly surprise you with their longevity.

Swimming pool water is infamous for its corrosiveness, and even my swimming instructors admit that planned obsolescence is a thing at least in this industry, especially when it comes it swimming goggles whose anti-fog coating lasts, well, nothing. And the water dissolves swimsuits… I have now assumed that foggy goggles is a Sisyphus battle when one is happy only on her first day with new goggles, so I endure the fog and wait for another reason to buy new ones. By now it’s a game, just setting new deadlines for new goggles: ‘when the new year starts… no, when it’s two years of use… no, when they literally break apart’.

Swimsuit also has turned out to be a very lasting one. Maybe there is something to Speedo’s Endurance+ fabric, but the only part that shows signs of degrading is the label. You cannot see the measurements anymore… And similarly with the swimming cap, a combination of a rushed aesthetic decision on a purchase that turned out to be a lasting one – those stupid letters on the swimsuit, the obnoxious color of the cap (the interaction between gender and sports is a hard one even for a pink lover here) – is a weird one you learn to embrace if you decide that longevity trumps cute. So I have no good reason to buy a new swimsuit made of Econyl (like this one, or this one, among so many more). The EVA Birks are also wearing much better than the street model, but I wear them only for the pool and around the flat on hot days. Except for some wear on the sole, they are mint condition.

So, I was expecting the goggles to fail first, followed by the swimsuit, and the cap to last forever… But enter this week! I was running late, typical when the journey to gym takes three minutes, and just putting my cap on when it suddenly popped and I had a separate piece in my hand. My instructor lent me another one (this pink one, to be exact; I liked it, btw) for the duration of the class, but my homework was to go get a new one. The other aspect was assuming that silicone items are not recycled in Barcelona (although one could do that with 100% silicone objects), so to the landfill it goes. Ouch!

Working on reducing my e-commerce footprint, I made a trip to Decathlon and now have a new *manly* silicone cap (Speedo has convinced me as a brand, clearly) that should last me for next two years of soaking. Now all my swim things are dark and serious… Analyze this! I am also very proud of myself for having resisted a temptation to buy new goggles. Oh, yes, I entered the enchanted labyrinth of Decathlon wanting to buy one thing and came out with that one thing… OK, technically two things because, while Decathlon swimming caps are sold ‘in bulk’, no wrapper, only a plastic sticker, Speedo gives you a resealable plastic pouch. I’ve already soaked the stickers off and will use it as a pencil holder or sth.


Which pieces easily reach #100wears in your wardrobe? Which garments do you end up wearing more, the beloved ones or the practical ones? Or maybe these, the ones you don’t even think of as being ‘garments’?

#100wears: Street One jacket

#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”… You know how sometimes you wear something intensely, then kind of forget about that garment just to go back to it some time later? This is one of those stories, my 10+ year affair with this Street One ‘military’ jacket.

This is a story of a double resurrection of the same garment… The first photographic evidence I can find is from May 2005. Makes sense. It was bought new (thanks, mom!) but not in a shop. Although Latvia was in the EU already and second-hand shops weren’t call ‘humanitarian aid’ anymore, there were still people doing funny business from their garages. I really don’t know how they did it – was it deadstock, was it just reselling? (if you know, let me know in the comments – but there were ladies who had houses full of mid-range brands that didn’t have shops in Latvia and were just selling them. For very reasonable prices. No receipts. No VAT was paid. Access only by recommendation. Street One and Noa Noa were one of those that used to appear in these garages.

So on May 1, 2005 I took my first picture with it. You cannot sea it very clearly but those two little ‘ventilation’ rivets are a key design element of this jacket. Olive green 80% cotton and 20% poly mix, hip length (what we then thought to be waist, oh, 2000s!), with two capacious breast pockets, quality finishes. No information about the country of production. Functionally for me then, a summer jacket that can be stretched into spring/autumn by wearing a hoodie underneath it.

And I took it for a major adventure right away. We went hitchhiking to Paris with Marina, and I’m wearing this jacket throughout the trip: along the German and French highways, in Paris and in Berlin.

A year later – May 2006 – I was clearly wearing it for school, just lounging outside and having yogurt for breakfast. I still occasionally think about that golden skirt, though. It would have been so easy to fix it and wear for so much longer than I did… But, as I believe George W. said during the 2000 campaign but can’t find a source, ‘when I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid’.

And in spring 2007 this jacket was still one of my go-tos:

Then it appears in my packing pile preparing to move to Brussels in July 2008… I sucked at packing back then, and no photos of my 6-month stint in Brussels show me wearing it. It could be that I never did.

If you know a garment intimately, you can recognize it by a trimming… which suggests that this jacket was with me in the Lithuanian seaside on July 2011. There are no photos between 2008 and 2011, a clear indication that I wasn’t wearing it.

And then again *no wears*, apparently, until June 2017… when, inspired to finally prune my Rīga capsule, decided to wear it in order to decide, giving it a trial period (a whole meditation on trial periods for wardrobe acquisitions, here). Those first outfits:

But I wasn’t 100% happy with it… felt too long, too gray, too meh!

I wore it some 70 times before intervening it – that’s described here – and now there have been quite some more since then… and nobody knows how many wears before I started counting. All that 2005-2007 have to count for something!


Do you have garments that you’ve had for more than a decade, half of your life maybe? If so, is it more about the function or the sentimental attachment now? Have they changed / have you changed updated them to serve your current needs? Have you had such hiatuses of love-abandon-love again with some of your garments?

#100wears: Rayon shorts

#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”… These little rayon shorts are one of the unexpected – and often unseen, as I shall explain below – heroes of my wardrobe.

They came my way as an untouched hand-me-down from my mother. She actually bought them in my presence in Barcelona in 2016 just to realize that that was a complete impulse buy with the possibility to handing them over to me prominent in her mind. Or maybe that was her intention all along? Dunno. It took me some time to incorporate them properly in my wardrobe – 44 wears between 2016 and 2017, 67 wears in 2018 – but now they are a staple I’m afraid of losing.

So, this is probably too much information, but… I’d estimate that they are visible less than half of the times I’m wearing them. No styling surprises when you can see them: ultra-light pajama-like shorts for the Barcelona summers, like so:

However, these shorts have gained their special place in my heart with their capacity to also work like… underwear. Here, I said it. Looks like that (if I would ever show it):

If you have been following my writings, especially the summer themed ones (see a sample here), you have been informed by now that I am the ultimate chub-rub person. My tights touch alright, I walk a lot and sweat a lot while doing it. And conventional underwear makes it even more painful. Enter these shorts! I know other chaffers prefer more serious biker shorts in performance fabrics that cover more leg or, well, wearing actual trousers… But I’m a dress person most of the time and have a hate-hate relationship with performance fabrics, especially in summer.

So these are not moisture wicking but they dry really quickly (also see that point about this being about summers in Barcelona) which not only adds to wearability but also to sink washability and overnight drying. The ultimate little short that goes from outerwear to underwear to pajamas! Thankfully it shows little wear so far but I dread the moment of having to send it to the Beyond Repair category. My current plan is to make a copy of this model from the fabric of my old kaftan that was truly beyond repair and hence was converted into a pile of fabric again… I’ll let you know if that happens.


What pieces easily reach #100wears in your wardrobe? Do you have garments that you use for several, supposedly even incompatible, purposes? How did that came along? I blame the 1990s ‘underwear as outerwear’ slip trend that convinced my pre-teen self that such limits were unnecessary…

#100wears: Vegan Birkenstock Gizeh

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?

#100wears: Veja Arcade sneakers

#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 Veja Arcade sneakers have reached the magic threshold a while ago – it’s now 140 – so here comes the love song.

I was chunky sneaker-curious for a while and, after having reaffirmed that Veja Taua would be my lifelong love, I decided to spice it up a bit and got a pair of vegan Arcade in April 2017 (money reports 1 and 2). They came pristine and perfect, of course, but that didn’t last very long as I took them with me for all the big 2017 trips.

To Granada and Sevilla in April:

To Philadelphia in May:

To Cape Town in November where I managed to touch a bit of Atlantic ocean while wearing them:

And just back and forth in Barcelona:

They are chunky and casual alright, though. Last June I put my mother in a desperate bind as my only two available options for my grandma’s 70th birthday were a pair of worn out floral Taua and still a pretty fresh Arcade. She insisted on Taua as for her Arcade looked too much like a hiking boot. I also still have moments of doubt about pulling of the chunky sneaker looks, specially with midi skirts. At times it just looks weird. Oh well… As on normal days my sneakers only serve as a commute shoe, it’s fine. I just feel cool instead of looking the part.

Similar to Arcopedico wedges, these shoes have reached the #100wears for practical reasons instead of undying love. I have ten pairs of footwear altogether, but between those that do not touch street (winter slippers, pool slippers, KonMari consulting espadrilles) and those for specific occasions (rain, winter, formal) sneakers do the bulk of the work, so for me footwear is the easiest #100category. Here, this is how the drawer looks:

Arcade were a bit hard to break in and cannot be worn without a sock, but they are much better for lots of walking and soak slower than the canvas sneakers. I haven’t washed them and, while not being that pristine anymore, the gray color scheme is incorporating wear very nicely. They are by no means waterproof, but the elevation, recycled plastic and thicker built make them very nice for Barcelona winter while not that appealing in summer. So there they are in my wardrobe, waiting for October.


Is there a type of garment that you have kept wearing throughout the years? What pieces easily reach #100wears in your wardrobe? Which garments do you end up wearing more, the beloved ones or the practical ones?

#100wears: Kaftan

#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 second-hand kaftan is one of those.

(I’m now Googling trying to understand why my 14-year-old self would decide that this is a kaftan. If any of you have more info on this piece of garment differentiation than Wikipedia, let me know. Is it about length, after all?)

And my 14-year-old self it was, because – together with my parka – this garment is among the oldest ones in my wardrobe. I don’t have a precise acquisition date, bet has to be around 2002. It was still the epoch when we’d spend a lot of times in thrift shops with my mother, and I got this one in a profoundly second-hand smelling used clothes shop in a basement on Skolas st. in Rīga. Second hand imports – brought in as ‘humanitarian aid’ to the (still) suffering Eastern Europeans – were abundant and there were treasures among them.

However, while I was looking for treasures and bringing them home, I wasn’t necessarily wearing them. But then I wasn’t purging my wardrobe either, so the little kaftan survived until it’s moment came some 7-8 years later. The only memory related to this garment from my high school days is using it as an example in my economics homework. The label has faded by now, but then it still clearly stated ‘made in UK’ which for a person used to seeing only ‘made in China’ or just rips where the labels used to be looked very cool. That economics homework was exactly about this: ‘look around your house and find items made in different countries [to understand that we live in a globalized world and how goods travel around the globe]’. I felt very smug about having a ‘made in UK’ dress laying around!

I started using this garment as loungewear and super-informal (and oh! so comfy) errand outfit during my undergrad years. It has enough detail – golden ribbons, ruffles, puffy sleeves, pattern, nice color – to throw the attention off the fact that I’m wearing a nightgown (and have beach hair, puffy eyes, hurry or whatever the reason I was too lazy to actually dress up). I always get an internal chuckle when people comment on ‘my beautiful dress’. I tried wearing it to work once, I think, and it really didn’t feel appropriate to me. I still got several ‘what a beautiful dress’ comments, though.

(Nightgown, by the way, is not a good use for this one because the golden ribbons are too rough when they touch my face + all my attempts at nightgowning end up with me waking up naked and with a lot of cloth around my neck. How is that thing supposed to stay down anyway?)

From the time when taking selfies was used as a hangover cure (Salamanca 2010/2011):

Throughout the years I’ve used it mostly as loungewear, hence the ‘look’ is mostly that of a sleepy gnome craving bed and falling face-down in my porridge, like so (Salamanca, summer 2013):

Mykonos, September 2017.

The wear and tear of the years is becoming visible – soft viscose is not forever, unfortunately! There have been many washes getting out sunscreen and wine stains among others, and this little garment has had it’s fair share of fixes already: replacing the rubber in the sleeves and closing several tears along the seams. Yet, as the original shape is so generous, it can be fixed and taken in a bit without affecting the feel. So I hope we’ll have some 15 more years together!

What have been your all-time favorite thrift finds? Do you have garments that you’ve had for more than a decade, more than half of your life? If so, is it more about the function or the sentimental attachment now?

#100wears: Red flea sweater

#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 red flea sweater is one of those.

I bought it on a cold Saturday morning in January 2015 in Flea Market Barcelona. That one was a cold winter for Barcelona standards (for the first time in my Northern life I wore two scarves, one on the top of another), I desperately needed a warm layer and here it came, for 5€. And it has got a lot of wear since then, mostly because it’s the *almost* perfect combination of function (warmth) and function (a shape that allows for movement).

The waist is short, hence doesn’t interfere with the natural waist (as opposed to the all-engulfing Lithuanian sweater). This might be my favorite version of a crop top!

The neckline is open and leaves space for collars and necklaces.

The sleeves are the perfect length and hold up if folded.

My only complaint is about the front hem which has a bit too much volume. I don’t care about it when wearing it but often hold it back when taking photos. Like that ☝

The only tag it has says ‘UBER den volken’ and the garment has signs of having been ‘intervened’ and upcycled. My Google search has revealed that it could be a creation of Julia Breiter who, before making new things, did upcycle second-hand. If she ever responds to my email asking for a confirmation, I’ll let you know. Maybe it’s hers, maybe it’s just a coincidence… I’m curious now.


Have any of your wardrobe staples appeared in front of you just when you needed? What was it? And have you ever done some detective work trying to figure out where a garment came from?

#100wears: Trench

#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 Zara hand-me-down trench is one of those.

October 2012 – Montreal, Canada.

Facebook suggests that I started wearing it in spring 2010. However, my memory is of first cleaning it out of my mother’s wardrobe, deciding that it’s not a garment for me and passing it on to my aunt. Then finding it again in her summer house, trying it on and going like “Oh, I think this could work after all…” So the more precise dates could be passing it on in 2008 and reclaiming it in 2009. It took me a long time to really get into it, though. Only after moving to Barcelona and downsizing my overall wardrobe in 2013-2014 it has become a basic staple for my Mediterranean winters. Up to a point when a friend recently hollered at me across the street because “I’d recognize your trench anywhere”.

That time in October 2010 when I dressed up like bleach. Stupid word games and strategic placement were involved. Salamanca, Spain.

December 2015 – Barcelona, Spain.

The cold season here is so mild that I have given up on my Latvian upbringing and C’s objections that ‘this is not a coat’. It’s not! But this is not a real winter either. So my winter coats live in Rīga and Barcelona gets a layered trench. The trench is size XL (Zara sizing, go figure!), so it drapes nicely and there is space for a sweater under it. Layering is how regulate it: thick wool for the coldest of them (~5ºC or so; never below zero, mind you) and cotton-poly blends or whatever is going around for warmer days.

The outer shell is 51% polyester, 39% cotton and 10% nylon with a 100% polyester lining. It does hold wind at bay, especially when bicycle commuting. And when it comes to bicycling, the length also helps to keep my waist well covered, my skirts together and away from the brakes. Also, the color is perfect for an occasional dirt and oil stain. It’s not a small thing, think that Levi’s has a specific line for bicycle commuters that are ready to pay premium for those little practical adjustments.

February and March 2018 – Barcelona, Spain.

Despite being fast fashion and made in China, this trench has gone through its 120+ wears with very few minor fixes. Some buttons have been lost and replaced, one of the metallic holes for fastening the sleeves fell out in late 2017 and the belt buckle finally gave away in early 2018. As these moving details had been a bit of a nuisance for wearing – both belt and the little ‘sleeve belts’ kept moving, opening, crumpling – I decided to put them as I wanted and pin them down! After replacing the sleeve thingy (0.80€ at my local cobbler), I just sewed fixed both the belt and the sleeves, those are the little orange details in the photo below. Now the belt is always straight, the sleeve details are never suddenly open and flapping in the wind, and I use the belt without a buckle – I just make a knot!


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 that you have doubted first and grown ‘into them’ after? Are there any basic fixes that you are very proud of?

#100wears: Arcopedico wedge ballerinas

#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 Arcopedico wedge ballerinas is one of those.

In comparison with other #100wears pieces, these shoes is a very recent acquisition. My mom was visiting last March – so not even a year ago – and we left Arcopedico store with three pairs of shoes, one for me and two for her. They are vegan, made in Portugal and quite comfy. My only complain, as it often happens with my feet, is about sizing: I bought them in size 39 and the shop ladies swore they would not stretch. Yeah, right! They ended up being a full size too long and hard to walk in, as the constant movement caused blisters. After an extensive online search on ‘how to make shoes smaller’, and ended up with silicone straps that stick to the heel and reduce friction (like these but from my local pharmacy). That’s how I went to Kristīne’s wedding, and it has worked like a charm since then.

Mazmežotne, August 2017. You cannot see the shoes because of all the grass, but there they are!


Athens, August 2017. These are my formal conference shoes now!


But, as with the gray cardigan, the #100wears is due to the fact that in normal weeks these shows live at work. Yes, I’m the Eastern European that cannot stay in street shoes when indoors, so my morning ritual at work is storing my lunch in the communal fridge, changing shoes, washing my hands and putting on the kettle. Hence these shoes haven’t got much street time but have been in use for many hours. They are prone to smelling (or are those just my feet?), so they rest with lavender baggies inside overnight and occasionally come home for a hydrogen peroxide drench. The next challenge for them (and me!) will be a Spanish midsummer wedding this June, let’s see if I can pull that one off in chunky black shoes because at the moment is either these or the birks… but maybe the right dressy sandals or ballerinas will cross my way in the next swap?


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: Bik Bok parka

March 2005 – Rīga, Latvia.


#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.


March 2005 – Rīga, Latvia.


November 2005 – Rīga, Latvia.


March 2006 – Rīga, Latvia.


January 2017 – Rīga, Latvia.


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.


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.


#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.


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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


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:


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”.


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…


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


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.


Nº3 in fantasy b-mesh.


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:


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…


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.


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?