#whatiwore 2017w42 + Sunday links

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This week I also got a reminder that garments wear out…

Wearing my favorite black floral shirt back in 2012.

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Just to make sure I had one comfy outfit for travel and weekend errands, I had added one lazy outfit to my 7-dresses-for-3-months capsule: my black ZIB leggings (viscose – elastane, 2016) and my mom’s hand-me-down black floral shirt (cotton – viscose, ~2012). Well, three weeks into the season, both of them are in need of a garment magician. First I discovered that leggings have several holes in unseemly places, and yesterday the underarm of the shirt ripped apart just beside the panels that my seamstress had already placed there to cover previous holes and strengthen the garment. Like this:

In December, back in Riga, I’ll go cry at my seamstress Elita’s door hoping that she will agree to fix – again! –  these two staples of my wardrobe. She has so much patience with my irrational attachment to garments and hands of a miracle worker, especially when it comes to worn-out jersey, believe me, I know!

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But for the time being a new lazy outfit will take their place, the blue ZIB leggings (viscose – elastane, 2015) and the floral shirt from the last swap (100% cotton, Esprit). This shirt is much shorter than the black one, so I just have to hope that the fashion police won’t track me down to point out that I have forgotten to wear something. Seriously, that already happened to me in Copenhagen with another shirt + leggings outfit, in a Kusama exhibition, of all places!

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For consolation, here comes the brain food (i.e. stop lamenting possible loss of one garment and think about the big issues, Luīze!):

Visions of Utopia: Why Everyone Should Support Community Thrift Shops – Leah from Style Wise in defense of crating communities via garment reuse. While I am highly uncomfortable every time I discover that some of my favorite bloggers are religious, her point is exactly the one we try to bring to life with our – completely secular and communist in spirit – clothes’ swaps. Also, I’ve always been jealous of people who live in places with a local thrift shop culture where things circulate in and out by the same people. Here it’s mostly a downstream movement via Humana and Roba Amiga shops, but Kristīne has told me about re-buying her own stuff from a local charity shop in Cambridge by mistake and I was just floored…

It may not be possible to slow down fast fashion – so can the industry ever be sustainable? – A grim realistic perspective on human behavior around fashion from a perspective that, if we haven’t realized what’s wrong and straightened our consumption patterns out by now, we are pretty much doomed by our basic impulses… So those have to be controlled by somebody else, public authorities or the market. Ugh.

And now comes the hardcore brain food piece I do not agree with. But my feeds have been bringing in this kind of thinking for a while now, so take a look at I’ve Decided: Fur Is the Eco-Friendly Choice, and You Won’t Change My Mind – This is an excellent example of how even those dedicated to certain ethos have an underlying set of preferences that we try to justify via second tier, supposedly rational arguments. The first red flag is the title. If you have to say “I have decided […] you won’t change my mind”, your stance might have little to do with facts…

My humble suggestion when facing a (minor) ethical dilemma would be to allow for an occasional weakness – a spoonful of honey, a piece of smelly cheese, a vintage leather wristwatch strap that a loved one wore – while being honest that there is no rationale behind it. It would have come across much nicer if Ecocult’s Alden, the poster child of all things eco, would have just written a heart wrenching piece of not being able to let go of her mother’s fur coat for sentimental reasons, so she is permitting herself this weakness while being fully aware of the suffering and pollution that fur industry causes.

Her reference on the supposedly suboptimal sustainability credentials of a vegan diet is another example of the same rancid logic. It needs a vegan hater to take this research – a simulation (always a tricky thing because it all depends on the initial assumptions) for the US agricultural land suggesting that there are a multitude of diets that would be more sustainable than the current one, vegan being 83% better than the current and a lactovegetarian 101% better – to create a take-away message that you don’t have to even bother to reduce your meat, dairy, and egg consumption and are allowed to never listen to animal rights organizations again.

As a palate cleanser and a researched piece on the impact of animal industries, have Monbiot’s The Meat of the Matter.

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Back to the garments… Do you have staples that you just wear out threadbare and then some? Have you had any luck with fixing or replacing them? And has the fashion police ever tracked you down for being inappropriate?

#whatiwore 2017w41 + Sunday links

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While I’m doing my 3-months-in-7-dresses thing, bon appétit for some brain food:

Planeta Zara (2002) – If you understand Spanish, this is a gem TV segment (55 min) from 15 years ago explaining the aspects of production and organization of the business that made them the fast fashion innovators. You have to know the enemy… plus, these were still times before the haul videos and ultra-cheapness, so you can get some nostalgia (for example, in those days 80% of Zara’s sewing was done by subcontractors locally in Galicia, not overseas).

The Overspent American: Upscaling, Downshifting, and the New Consumer – The first chapter of the 1997 pop sociology book (yes, some quaint very antiquated examples going on!) by Juliet B. Schor advocating – and being criticized of being naive because of that (examples 1 & 2) – deliberate downsizing. Quite some time before the wave of minimalism, tiny house movement, KonMari, etc.

Climate anxiety doesn’t have to ruin your life: Here’s how to manage it – The title is too good to be true, and it is. But the question – and anxiety – is real. Author’s answer is to accept the limited scope of individual action and to quit nagging other people… but keep doing. Easier said than done, hah!

#whatiwore 2017w40 + Sunday links

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All that repetition – even more than usual – is not accidental. I’ll tell you on Wednesday what’s the deal with Autumn capsule! But until then… brain food!

A) How Instagram Makes You Basic, Boring, and Completely Deranged – My hate for Instagram, articulated!

B) Why Trying to Resell Your Clothes Is Always So Damn Embarrassing – The reality of consignment shops and the rosy delusion “I’ll just resell all my stuff [for a lot of money because everybody will want it so desperately]” + the same dynamics from a generational and home-ware point of view: Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It.

C) I still haven’t finished Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Dress of Women: A Critical Introduction to the Symbolism and Sociology of Clothing (I read it at work during my breaks), but I’ve found one gem I couldn’t resist to share. There are many quotes calling for revolution in women’s dress, of course, but what I’ve found to be the most curious change that has taken place in these 100 years that separate us from Charlotte are prices!

In Chapter 8: Humanitarian and Economic Considerations she writes – not tongue-in-cheek, mind you, but very seriously! – “Some thirty [~1885!] years ago it was estimated that a woman could dress well enough to be in good society, on $300 a year. This allowed for one new evening gown, and one new tailor suit each year, both lasting over as second-best for another; and may be filled out according to preference. […] Even at that time I can remember these estimates being scoffed at as ridiculously low by a group of trained nurses. Yet one would hardly imagine a trained nurse as needing more than that list, substituting her starched uniforms for the richer evening wear.” and continues in Chapter 9: Larger Economic Considerations: “While it is still possible, with intelligent care, for a woman to dress on three to five hundred dollars a year, to say nothing of the millions who do it on fifty or less; the woman who is “in society” finds three to five thousand a moderate allowance, and many spend more.”

Before you shrug at this and point to my own fashion expenses, I have to remind you that these are 1915 or even 1885 dollars! Very different dollars than the ones going around today… The earliest information that the easy inflation calculator I found online offers is 1913 which is fine for a conservative estimate about the dollars that Perkins Gilman is talking about. And – ta-dah! – $300 of Charlotte become $7440. That’s what any *respectable* woman needed back then to be *properly* dressed, and even nurses found that to be a very low number… and the $3000-5000 she’s mentioning for the “society” becomes 74’400-124’000. Now compare that with the fast fashion prices of today!

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We are branching out of swaps and organizing a movie screening to build the consciousness about why we are swapping: A screening of The True Cost. See you there!