After 6 months of the big spreadsheet in 2019

2019 is halfway through, and here comes the previous 3-month update on my big spreadsheet. If you are new to this, between 2014 and 2017 I was doing season capsules of stashing away the ‘unseasonal’ items and doing the whole ritual of ‘seasonal change’ every couple of months while tracking the number of wears in. And then it felt like too much fuss… So I started tracking the number of wears without doing the ‘now you go away’ ritual…

My primary goals with this exercise is (1) to stop relying on perceptions along the lines of ‘I wear this all the time’ as I have realized that those are not to be trusted, and (2) to remind myself and all of you that the mystical #30wears are so easy-peasy to achieve. Not only you should wear your garments as many times throughout their life span, you should wear them at least as many times every year you own them. I know, I know, there are items that do not got there, but you should be at least aware of which ones are those and why. Informed decision making ftw! Also, the satisfaction of going over #100wears is the sweetest…

Here is the outset post on January 2018 explaining the change and including a link to an example Google Sheet,
here the 2018 January-March update,
here the 2018 January-June update,
here the 2018 January-September update,
here the 2018 January-December recap.
Then 2019 started, and here is January-March post.

We are three months into 2019, and here comes the next update by categories with the acquisition year and number of wears in parenthesis coupled with the total wears recorded since 2016 (older items might have had many more non-accounted wears but there are no perfect datasets)! If you think that this is for weirdos quantitative sociologists only, Marina is an example how less spreadsheat-inclined normal people might get value out of this exercise too…

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Layers

Most worn: Street One jacket (2005, 44/135).

Runner-ups: Red flea sweater (2015, 34/182), Hummel Madeleine jacket (2009, 31/150) and Zara swap cardigan (2018, 31/89).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: Julie’s pink cardigan (2017-2019, 45).

Not worn: my mom’s Primark cardigan, still (2018, 0/3). I picked it up when we organized her wardrobe in December, wore it a couple of times around Christmas and then left in Rīga. I’m confident that its time will come as light fast fashion cardigans get worn to bits here.

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Dresses

Most worn: my mom’s MnS black dress (2013, 21/91). This is a funny one, as I don’t really treat this dress as something special, a wardrobe hero or treasure… but I really keep wearing it throughout the year and for six years already. This is the kind of findings I like having a spreadsheet for!

Runner-ups: my mom’s Violeta gingham dress (2019, 14/14) and my aunt’s ‘PhD dress’ (2014, 8/73).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: the second-hand kaftan (? – 2018, 16).

Wore the least: my floral dress (2019, 3/3). Makes sense, I just finished it…

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Tops

Most worn: Kristīne’s MnS kaftan (2018, 24/57). Another unexpected wardrobe hero…

Runner-ups: Liisa black lace top (2016, 21/81) and my mom’s lace undershirt (2012, 19/86).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: the demon t-shirt (2014-2018, 40). That t-shirt became applique to my second yoga mat bag, though.

Not worn: my mom’s purple paisley top (2005, 0/22) and my mom’s green bird top (2018, 0/1). They both live in Rīga, so that’s why so few wears. The purple top is probably the best quality jersey I’ve ever seen: that thing is 15+ years old and looks mint. Also, serves both as lounge wear and a decent top if need be. The green bird thing is pure plastic, still very new to me, and might make sense to keep for my Rīga (winter) mini-capsule. Not for Barcelona weather, for sure.

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Bottoms

Most worn: ZIB orange flower leggings (2019, 34/34).

Runner-ups: C’s HnM jeans (2019, 30/30) and ZIB blue flower leggings (2019, 26/26).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: ZIB black leaf leggings (2016-2018, 42). Yeah, well, leggings are very important in my wardrobe… clearly.

Not worn: my mom’s green pants (2018, 0/2). A promising pair, let’s give them some time…

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Footwear

Most worn: Veja Wata Pierre (2018, 89/210).

Runner-ups: Veja Taua Nautico (2019, 34/34) and Veja Arcade (2017, 31/196). Yeah, I also think that Veja should have a ‘get the 10th pair for free’ deal with me. I might be the most loyal customer ever… I’ve bought 7 pairs in 4 years so far.

Most worn in the same period in 2018: the Arcopedico wedges (2017, 78), as I still had an office – and a footwear changing routine – then.

Worn the least: Nokian Hai wellies (2016, 1/9) and Toni Pons espadrilles (2018, 1/11). These two are painful. The wellies live in Rīga and wait for rain, but having worn them less than 10 times in 3 years makes me doubt the purchase. And espadrilles hurt because those are my KonMari shoes to protect clients’ homes… yes, my professional organizing practice has been pretty much abandoned in 2019 so far because of the final thesis spurt.

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Adornments

Most worn: still the Little Bit Bijoux necklace (2019, 21/21). The prettiest golden snitch ever, and a gift from Giulia (and made by her cousin). Perfect!

Runner-ups: the Ban.do headband (2010?, 16/95) and the Little Honey Pies bird and flower headband (2012, 11/83).

Most worn in the same period in 2018: Jēkabs necklace (1995?-2019, 24). I gifted it away recently…

Worn the least: the ‘pearl’ necklace (2011?, 1/70). My relationship with adornments, especially necklaces, fluctuates a lot, ranging from consistent use to ‘they all choke me, f*ck it’, so let’s see where this will go…

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And there you have it… tl;dr? My wardrobe is still in expansion since late 2018. It feels weird but correct, so I’m just observing. While I love the thrill of achieving spectacular numbers of (few) possessions and (a lot of) wears, I’m also learning to let go a bit of that urge to restrict and control. Let’s see what the Barcelona summer will bring…

Garments that live in my mom’s house in Rīga is a source of constant thought: it certainly makes more sense to travel without any clothing if I can have my mini-capsule there, but have I built it tight enough? I’ll spend a couple of weeks there in July and another few in September, hopefully there are insights ahead.

Have you ever tried any type of wardrobe tracking: turning the hangers, a paper list, a spreadsheet? How was that? And, if not, can you see any advantages and what is keeping you from not doing it? Please, get me right, I’m not saying that everybody has to track their wardrobes, but – being a person so fascinated by counting the wears – I would really like some feedback from out of my happy spreadsheet bubble. Take care!

#whatiwore 2019w27 + Sunday links

Orden a Tres podcast

The podcast is *on*! We – me and Andrea and Louise – are having so much fun making Orden a Tres, and here you have the first substantial episode talking about the importance of curating your future vision before starting a tyding festival: La importancia de la visión en el método KonMari™. You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

Here, nourish the brain:

1. If you ever need a reminder or a good education site to forward to friends just finding their way out of fast fashion, the people from Clean Clothes Campaign will explain.

2. Just the cutest irritated response column on the municipality of Barcelona – in 2011, with the previous mayor, this is old stuff – claiming to have launched the first vertical garden in Barcelona. Well, this lady knows better and tells you where to find the truly first one, clearly a fascinating building: (in Spanish) ¿El primer jardín vertical de Barcelona? An urban trip, anybody?

3. Beanie weather is far away in Europe, but learning can be good even if you won’t be wearing it anytime soon, so History of the Watch Cap: From Monmouth to The Monkees and the Wikipedia entry for the Phrygian cap. I thought myself rather well informed and here I am, discovering the glorious history of the knit hat…

4. For a chilling and moving read about something you probably never though about: What Do Doctors Owe To The Dead People They Dissect?

5. One of those funny news about people looking for solutions that would be as comfortable as disposable packaging but more sustainable: A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform. Cute, but don’t hold your breath… or, well, prove me wrong!

6. And if you like your anti-consumerism messages from Vogue, this: Is There Really Such a Thing as “Ethical Consumerism”? tl;dr? NO, obviously.

7. More edutainment: What your skirt length can tell you about the economy? What wiki says? Hemline index, also Men’s underwear index. The research papers referenced are these:

van Baardwijk, Marjolein and Philip Hans Franses. 2010. The hemline and the economy: Is there any match? (No. EI 2010-40). Report / Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam (pp. 1–11). Erasmus School of Economics.

van Baardwijk, Marjolein and Philip Hans Franses. 2012. “Hemlines and the Economy: Which Goes Down First?,” Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, issue 26, pages 27-28, Summer.

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What I was writing about a year ago: 2018 first half money talk, or how expensive an ethical wardrobe is?

What I was writing about two years ago: How expensive is an ethical wardrobe? 2017 first half money talk. Out of my frustration about the money-silence in ethical blogging (and way too many ‘the brand sent me this as a gift’) come these posts. Also, fun data.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w27 + Sunday links. Repeating this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress, the silk maxi, Kristīne’s M’n’S blue kaftan, and the birks.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w27 + Sunday links. Also wearing this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress and the birks.

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Have you observed any recent fashion moves that coincide with bigger economical-socio-political trends? Do you think there is sth going on there or was only an industrialist phenomenon that died out in the postmodernity?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w26 + Sunday links

Orden a Tres podcast

The great novelty of this week is that – together with two other KonMari™ consultants, Andrea and Louise – we have started the first podcast in *Spanish* dedicated to all things Marie Kondo: Orden a Tres. If you listen to Spanish (or are working on improving it), here you have the first episode introducing ourselves and how the podcast came along: Bienvenidos!! Quienes somos? You can also listen us on Spotify and Stitcher.

Here, a spoonful of brain food:

1. I’ve followed the work of Gemma Correll for years – and given and received enough of her stuff as presents – so this was too good to be true: Welcome to Menstrualand, the world’s first period theme park.

2. This is paradoxical to write her and in English, but… in case you read Latvian (and haven’t read this already), this: Vieta, kur izdzīvot.

On a related note, Stephen mentioned Latvia for the first time ever and not as anything good, of course. The American embassy in Latvia, among other embassies, had requested a permission to fly the pride flag during June. In this case, not only to demonstrate their general stance in an EU country where it is still needed (!), but – I imagine because I wasn’t able to find anything on their homepage about it – in response to the recent refusal of the Latvian parliament to legalize same-sex unions. Trump administration said no, and we got a Colbert joke about gray skittles instead.

3. To take that bitter taste away, here, have an optimistic palate cleanser: Wear Sunscreen by Mary Schmich. Still needs reminding that Baz Luhrmann didn’t write it, and nor did Kurt Vonnegut: “Wear Sunscreen”: The Story Behind the Commencement Speech That Kurt Vonnegut Never Gave.

4. This is almost a fashion blog, so let’s refine our vocabularies: The Types of Pockets, a Pocket Dictionary.

5. And some garment construction ABC from BuzzFeed: Here’s How To Tell If A Piece Of Clothing Is Actually Well-Made. I’d argue a couple of these – especially the one about avoiding rayon! – but it’s OK if you are feeling clueless and want to establish some criteria for your future acquisitions. On the rayon point, here’s the counterargument from people who actually pay attention to detail and fabrics: Rayon: Summer’s Magical Fabric.

6. A couple of cute craftsmanship stories, you should know by then that I adore such tales of ethics and pursuit of quality: Logging the History of Dayton Boots, a Canadian Heritage Staple and Modern Cotton Blends the Best in Their Quest for the Perfect T-Shirt.

7. While so far most consumer behavior research seemed to suggest that, at least in apparel, people said that sustainability mattered but then did not invest in it, this one suggest otherwise: Research: Actually, Consumers Do Buy Sustainable Products. It is about everyday supermarket items, though, not the slow fashion premium price, but ‘consumers are voting with their dollars — against unsustainable brands […] the legacy companies that will thrive are those that accept this shift and are willing to pivot’ is a soothing idea.

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What I was writing about a year ago: The time squeeze of sustainability attempts and blogging. Hah! I’ve experienced similar frustration this year – with the thesis revisions and such – but didn’t even bother to create content out of that frustration.

What I was writing about two years ago: #30wears and 18 months of counting, the first thing on outfit repetition and wardrobe tracking.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w26 + Sunday links. Look at that outfit repetition! Wore this week: my mom’s dark blue silk dress, the silk maxi skirt, Veja Wata Pierre, birks.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w26 + Sunday links. Repeating so much: my mom’s dark blue silk dress, my mom’s gingham dress, my mom’s black M’n’s black, the silk maxi skirt, the red wooden bead necklace.

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Where do you stand on regenerated fabrics – called rayon, viscose, modal, lyocell depending on the original wood pulp used and the producer – aye or nay? Have had any experiences putting you squarely into one camp or the other? I’m writing this fully clad in viscose, so I’ve already made my mind up…

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w25 + Sunday links

A detail: I’m finally acting upon my urge to dumpster dive! This week alone I have picked up from garbage a fun fabric that will become something awesome and a jade plant that clearly needed a new home and repotting. The poor thing has cigarette butts in its pot! My absolutely inexpert reasoning is to use the common sense, get a good look before you bring it home, wash all fabrics at 60ºC (if they dissolve in the process, well, bad luck; this yellow one just tinted a couple of my tea towels), and be happy! Think about how things magically slip in and out of being ‘garbage’, one moment its somebody’s possession, then it’s garbage, then, suddenly, it’s a useful thing again…



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Here, feed the brain:

1. For my stitching inspiration – yeah, that craze is still on, I wish I could spend all my time doing it – starting with the one that has moved me the most, repeatedly (a) Paint Splotch Embroidery by Olya Glagoleva and Lisa Smirnova; (b) Graceful Figures and Shimmering Peacocks Embroidered on Tulle are Inspired by Haute Couture; (c) Intricate Landscapes and Tiny Houses ‘Painted’ With Multi-Colored Thread; (d) Richly Textured Portraits of Native Arctic Residents and European Explorers by Preta Wolzak; (e) Joyful Embroidered Photographs Embellished with Colorful Floral Motifs by Aline Brant; (f) Inner Worlds Revealed in Michelle Kingdom’s Intricate Narrative Embroideries; (g) Self Portraits Embroidered With Images of Blood Vessels, Bones, and Muscle Tissue by Juana Gómez; (h) Garden Vegetable and Plant Embroideries by Veselka Bulkan; (i) Colorfully Embroidered Vintage Photos of Artists and Cultural Icons by Victoria Villasana, and especially this (j) A Seamstress’s Autobiographical Text Embroidered Onto Her 19th-Century Straitjacket.

2. The quirkiest thing: fashion education exists! And they seem to be realizing that the lessons taught so far haven’t been optimal: (a) Do you really need a degree to work in fashion? and (b) How Fashion Schools Are Tackling the Sustainability Puzzle.

3. Although it’s not the right season to be thinking about duffle coats here in Barcelona, these history lessons are always fascinating: The History of the Duffle Coat.

4. I’ve run into one of those annoying ‘I want to be like you when I grow up’ role models… Oh, Lucy Clayton! She has a podcast dedicated to fancy dress, a TEDx talk on the political importance of fancy dress… and she is the CEO of Community Clothing. Dude, I’m in awe!

5. And a couple of links on a topic I know very little of but like the tone of these articles: (a) Bitcoin as big oil: The next big environmental fight? and (b) Why I won’t Touch Cryptocurrencies and Neither Should You.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Body positivity, the average user’s guide. This is the post I am most proud of out of all 230+ posts I’ve written here, and, as we are surely heading into another record heat summer in Europe, I invite you to be kind to your body. Also, How to survive summer heat in Barcelona.

What I was writing about two years ago: Heirlooms in the age of fast fashion: Do they still make any?

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w25 + Sunday links. Funny, I’m repeating only the shoes this week, the Birks and Veja Wata Pierre.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w25 + Sunday links. Oh, most of these things are gone, either because of their age or poor fit. The Dana Zēberga ‘Russian’ set is still here, though, this one:

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Do you ever pick things from garbage? What have been your best finds? Or are you afraid of bringing bedbugs and bad karma into your place? Tell me! I keep seeing discarded garments on the pavement, and try to come up with an idea on how to organize a serious rescue program… All input welcome!

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

Garment Stories: Floral Dress

This is a new category born out of my burning wish to tell this one thing… It’s not #100wears just yet for this one, and it is long way from being beyond repair, but it’s a lovely gem of a garment and the story behind it makes it even lovelier. In this case, because I made it!

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If you have followed this blog for a while – or met me in person more than once – you should have gathered by now that I am a dress person. For me those are the most comfortable and versatile garments, and I pity Western men for having stopped using them. On the other hand, in the era of skinnies and t-shirts, there is an air of something special around a dress, just because of their scarcity. Here, have a blogger quote about all that amazingness:

I wore only dresses for three months in 2017 just to make a point about their versatility (1, 2), and now I have finally made one myself. Aplaudiment! But it started with another dress and my desire to refashion… I picked a dark blue summer dress from my mom’s wardrobe during the same purge that the gingham dress. But this one is not made from jersey and is way too big for me as it is, so fixing it is not that straightforward. I brought it to Carmen at Opció Taller (the best place ever in Barcelona to get your sewing or shoemaking classes, for real) and she, finally tired of me winging it, suggested I finally do a pattern-making course because then I’d have my ‘base pattern’ to fix garments against.

So I joined one of her joyful mini-classes (sharing the professor with only two other fun ladies) in February, and went through the motions of measurements and pattern construction once a week. Just to calm my productivity anxiety, I was sewing the second yoga mat bag meanwhile.

What normal people do for the base-pattern class is to buy cotonet – the rustic 100% cotton used mostly for 3D pattern making – or to use some other no good fabric (old sheets, etc.) to do he second stage of pattern making, actually stitching it all together and trying it on a body. With no malicious intention but with my waste reducing subconsciousness clearly alert, I just ignored the idea and showed up without such material. Carmen proceeded to get out of her chambers of deadstock magic a loud floral fabric for me to practice on… and I fell in love. It even has a second-order story: it comes from a textile plant that Carmen’s family still owns, and they have made mostly bed linen out of it. Carmen took a bunch to Spain to cover her sofa, but Cristián protested it and to the cupboard that fabric went

Sooo… the practice went on and it just made perfect sense to actually make it into a garment instead of tossing it all out, mistakes and all. My 3D pattern got a skirt, and hand-basted all together, this is what I had:

Then on to the machine it went for some proper sewing:

Many firsts happened on this dress. Not only my first bust pattern, first darts, first sleeves, first pockets, but also my first neckline facing

…and three invisible zippers, because I really wanted trustworthy pockets (and no purses)!

I hadn’t taken into account that this floaty volume is not backpack friendly: it rides up and exposes my bum… Bah! So no backpack with this dress until I finally make the tulle petticoat I’ve been wanting since forever. Meanwhile, as you can see above, for additional comfort it works fine with trousers underneath. We’ll see how the fabric will feel in the sweaty Barcelona summer and how it will wear, both my stitching and the fabric. Already after the first few wears it seems that it is prone to piling, ugh… This is what happens when you live off random deadstock. Will keep you updated!

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What have you been up to, my talented friends? 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 to? A fun fabric you keep looking at and sighing wistfully?

#whatiwore 2019w24 + Sunday links

A detail: I got a sudden embroidery urge last week – inspired by my craftivist friends and ‘I wish we were friends’ Mara, Kate, Ezra, Liisa, Liza – and went all in on it. I got a bunch of beautiful Made in Spain 100% cotton threads through local classified ads, and my eyes have suffered since then. Now my problem is doing anything else when all I really want to do is to sit there and stitch while listening Harry Potter audiobooks. Threadpainting is such a pleasure!


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And a couple of nibbles for the brain:

1. Let’s begin with a ‘all is fucked up’ reminder: The end of the Arctic as we know it. And usually it would come accompanied by bullshit like 6 Small Ways To Make A Big Difference This World Oceans Day on reducing one-use plastic and turning off your AC… but I suggest you listen to George first: “Here, life is collapsing even faster than on land. The main cause, the report makes clear, is not plastic. It is not pollution, not climate breakdown, not even the acidification of the ocean. It is fishing. Because commercial fishing is the most important factor, this is the one we talk about least. […] The fishing industry is protected by a combination of brute power and bucolic fantasy. When you hear the word fisherman, what picture comes to mind? Someone who looks like Captain Birdseye: white beard, twinkly eyes, sitting on a little red boat chugging merrily across a sparkling sea? If so, your image of the industry might need updating. […] Save your plastic bags by all means, but if you really want to make a difference, stop eating fish.”

2. The usual refresher on fibers and textiles: (a) Shifting the Impact of our Clothing: Tips from the Fibershed Community; (b) What Are the Most Sustainable Fabrics? and (c) Know Your Product: A Quick Guide to Organic Cotton.

3. For a weird anthropological story about the 1990s, It Smelled Like Gen X Spirit: “It was billed as “one for all,” though what that really meant was one for all in this age group, and was greeted as revolutionary. In point of fact, the first perfumes were genderless, and only in the 1930s did the sexes start getting separated. It was then that it occurred to beauty companies that marketing to men might be lucrative. That is to say, CK One wasn’t the first unisex fragrance; it was the first openly marketed unisex fragrance. Which, with its whiff of cynicism, was in itself somehow very Gen X. That was no accident: According to Mr. Fremont, the original brief came from an extensive study Calvin Klein had conducted on what would appeal to this particular disaffected consumer group. […] It was criticized by those who didn’t like it for ultimately being, as one review went, “so intent on being gender-neutral from a perfume aesthetics perspective, that it literally comprises notes that act to neutralize each other, making the most anonymous and androgynous of beige pleasantries ever smelled at the time.”” I’ve never really understood perfumes, so this is just a bizarre alien tale for me… A carefully crafted scent reflecting and defining its decade? Fascinating!

4. Is Fast Fashion A Class Issue? Obviously, yes, but it’s also more complicated than just blaming poor people for wanting cheap things… The piece has some sound points from my new favorite Dilys Williams. Like so: “This is not proof of a democratised fashion industry – this is evidence that fashion is now regarded as disposable – as a cheap commodity not worthy of our love or care […] As humans, we are stimulated by novelty and curiosity but an overstimulation, running on adrenalin, is not healthy. We are undervaluing fashion.”

5. And a couple of cute stories just to calm your anxiety a bit: (a) Weaving as a Way of Life at Oakland Fiber and (b) Forget fast fashion: Slow style pioneers on the clothes they’ve worn for decades.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Train travel long distance in Europe. One of my favorite last years posts and experiences! Lesson learnt?! Trains are great and I want to take them more often.

What I was writing about two years ago: The wardrobe ins and outs of spring 2017. My attempts to do a formal capsule and document it all…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w24 + Sunday links. Also wore this week: Zara swap cardigan, my mom’s silk dress, Veja Wata Pierre sneakers.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w24 + Sunday links. As those outfits are mostly from the Riga capsule before much of it went away, no coincidences!

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Have you ever caught a crafting fever when all you could think about was to steal some hours for your projects? Which is *your* craft? And have you ever felt a sudden urge to start doing sth you have no idea of? That’s me and embroidery right there…

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

All my swap finds

Swap X was an important accomplishment for me, and we are innovating in the next one – see you next Saturday for fashion joys and Belgian beer – so I’m marking it with a personal recap of all garments I’ve ever taken from the swaps I’ve organized. In total, 18 items / 10 events = 1.8 per swap. And 12/18 are still in my wardrobe. Only in the first swap I was apparently so excited about having pulled together an actual event where my envisioned swapping magic could happen I didn’t even look for things…

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Swap I – October 1, 2016.

Nothing, according to my data… I know, cute.

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Swap II – January 28, 2017.

(1) Liisa MnS lace dress (out in Swap V) and (2) Liisa velvet skater skirt. This was so funny for us because I was hanging out with Liisa so often then we could’ve done this without organizing an event. I love it when people tell me of similar swap interactions: ‘I picked up this and this amazing thing, and you know what, my best friend had brought them here, isn’t that cool?’ It is, darling, it is the coolest thing.

The lace dress was clearly not meant for repeated rough wear, and piled and felted with other layers. I wasn’t familiar with de-piling technology back then, so out it went after 20 wears. A good bodycon has been on my swap wishlist since then. The velvet skater skirt is still going strong at 63 wears.

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Swap III – May 27, 2017.

(3) Julie cardigan (out in Swap IX) and (4) HnM striped mini. I wore that cardigan 96 times (plus some uncounted lounging around the house) before I grew tired of it and passed it along. The little skirt is at 31 wears and has been difficult this winter: it requires a pair of black opaque tights to be worn comfortably, and in Barcelona that means November-February only. Maybe I’ve just outgrown little jersey miniskirts? It’s an unclear ‘stays’ at this point, it will have until the end of 2019 to prove its worth.

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Swap IV – September 30, 2017: pre-post, recap post.

(5) Laura polka dot dress (out in Swap V) and (6) Esprit floral shirt (out in Swap IX). The blue dress was pretty, twirled beautifully, and so plastic it suffocated me as if I was a sausage in cellophane. So out it went after 11 wears. The Esprit shirt was 100% cotton, beautifully finished, and oh! that floral pattern… but just too big for me. For it to keep a cool shape I needed to be very crafty with my waistlines, otherwise it just looked sloppy. So 51 wears and by-bye.

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Swap V – February 3, 2018: recap post.

(7) Forever 21 and (8) Atmosphere shorts. This is where my swap finds started to slide into loungewear… happily, so far. Both are with me still, most of their wears not counted (in the spreadsheet: 66 for the t-shirt, 31 for the shorts) as I mostly lounge around in these. I already mended a hole in the t-shirt – it is flimsy Forever 21 cotton mix jersey, after all – and it’s getting some new ones. Help, where will I find another incredibly soft and perfectly body-hugging t-shirt??? …at the next swap, I hope.

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Swap VI – May 12, 2018: pre-post, recap post.

(9) Home slippers, (10) winter gloves, and (11) Zara cardigan. This one went really well, mostly thanks to Margareta who had seen my wishlist online, spotted these things at the swap, and then just gave me the slippers and the gloves. The gloves are what they look like, basic and protect my hands from the bicycle wind. The slippers were exactly what I wanted: loafer style, warm and fluffy, rigid sole, *my size and width*, and made in Spain… I still have them but the sole is crumbling away, so – despite my efforts with the glue – they will end in textile garbage pretty soon. But what a glorious ride it has been!

The cardigan stands at 87 wears now. I did a basic mending of a hole it had when I picked it up and then added a fun ribbon (with duckies; from Carmen’s archives) on top of it to begin with, and now it’s unraveling again. Oh, Zara, you and your stupid nylon/cotton blends not meant for walking… my new plan is to just embroider it all over the edges, hopefully in the style of Liza Smirnova (especially, this!) and Ezra W. Smith. A glorious 3-in-1 plan: (a) mending the unraveling parts, (b) learning to embroider, and (c) improving this little cardigan beyond the wildest dreams of its creators. Hell yeah!

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Swap VII – September 15, 2018: recap post.

(12) Pink lounge kaftan. A no brainer: the thinnest viscose posible for the those summer days when having a thin layer of fabric feels better than the naked stickiness… Barcelona, pum-pum-pum-pum-pum, Barcelona, oooooh! The material is very flimsy and the hem splits are already breaking, we’ll make an assessment once the summer is over.

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Swap VIII – December 1, 2018: recap post.

(13) Fake Vans slippers (out in Swap X) and (14) black Mucha dress. I really like the idea of skater slip-ons, but Vans are just not good enough people to buy them new… and these ones turned to be made for sitting, not walking. despite being my size and having a pretty pattern, that sole was basically cardboard and 12 wears was I all I could do in these. I haven’s worn the black Mucha dress yet (what is a Mucha dress in my head? here), but have high hopes for it to fill the relaxed flapper summer dress void in my heart…

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Swap IX – February 9, 2019: pre-post, recap post.

(15) Bershka cutback (out in Swap X) and (16) Benetton pink sweater. These are results for my perfect top quest. The cutback top had me widgeting with the bra all the time, so 13 wears together was all we could do. The wool Benetton one, after Mara’s embroidery intervention and some de-piling, and ten wears, is now happily waiting for cold weather to come again.

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Swap X – May 11, 2019: recap post.

(17) Red lounge pants and (18) yellow lounge pants. It has been only a month, but the red ones are happily integrated in my wardrobe and oh! so comfy. The yellow ones need that elastic change, I’ll keep you posted once that happens.

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So, what have we learned, folks? That swaps are great! It is the perfect playground to do so many things, and there is time for browsing even if your are organizing/helping out, wink-wink… You can experiment, and bring things back if they didn’t work. You can radically reduce your wardrobe knowing that garments are not scarce and you can always fill it again. You can pick up wacky garments for your upcycling and refashioning projects.

My strategy by now is that of having a clear, very visual, very exact wishlist (Pinterest is my tool of choice for that) but then still be flexible if something that truly speaks to your most authentic self jumps at you.

What have been your best swap/second-hand/hand-me-down finds? Do you have an explicit strategy for these events/places? Are you more of a wishlist person or the intuitive picker?

#whatiwore 2019w23 + Sunday links

Here, the first summer gazpacho for the little gray cells:

1. An honest look at courtroom dressing to influence the outcome: Does This Dress Make Me Look Guilty? “Her legal team was concerned that an appearance in Rikers Island prison garb would make her look guilty and prejudice the jury against her […] Just because it’s obvious doesn’t make it less effective.”

2. Oh, the beautiful difference when the fashion critic at large is serious and respectful and when she cannot hold her sarcasm…

Exhibit A: “Rihanna will become the first woman to create an original brand at LVMH, the first woman of color at the top of an LVMH maison, and her line will be the first new house created by the group since Christian Lacroix in 1987. It joins such storied heritage brands as Dior, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi and positions Rihanna as a breakthrough designer on a number of levels […] Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together […] Fenty, however, has made inclusivity of all kinds — size, race, gender identity — part of its identity from the beginning. […] LVMH’s first foray into original couture, Lacroix, did not end too well; it sold the brand in 2005, and the name is now largely associated with an unrelated sparkling water. Whether this story will rewrite the playbook of luxury remains to be seen. But the first chapter is about to begin.”

Exhibit B: “‘Yes, it may appeal to a small niche, but I think it’s worth doing regardless of its consumer potential,’ Mr. Sarkozy said — also with a straight face. It was hard to tell if he was in the midst of the most thoroughly considered conspiracy to hoax the fashion gullible since Laura Albert created JT Leroy and fooled the literary world — a test of how elastic is the desire for a famous face and an insider product — or if he meant what he said. […] The company is backed by the Spanish billionaire Juan Roig, the president of the Mercadona supermarket chain. […] The men were photographed in conversation with Mr. Sarkozy in return for shoes. Though Dr. Pinker normally wears cowboy boots, he said he quite liked the loafers.” The preposterous shoes in question can be looked at here.

3. The pleasure of doing a facepalm for the ultra-pure vegans (no wonder we are at the butt of so many jokes, much of that is deserved) and reading some reasonable ones: On Privilege, Priorities, and Processed Foods in Vegan Diets. “And while a steady diet of highly processed foods isn’t the best choice for health, it doesn’t mean that you need to eat only whole plant foods if you want to be healthy. That’s a perspective that plays to fears around food choices. It burdens people with undue worry about whether every single bite of food they take will protect or harm their health. Eating is not quite that precarious. If you are consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber plus foods that provide healthy fats, enjoying a fast food veggie burger once or twice a month is not going to make or break your health.”

Additional links from that article: Should We Condemn Hampton Creek and Impossible Foods for Animal Testing? and Yes, the Impossible Burger is vegan. Bah, now I want a Burger King burger, and they are not rolling those out in Spain anytime soon… it took three (!) years for the vegan Ben & Jerry’s to get here, after all.

An additional old one but good one one the ‘clean eating’ fallacy: Clean is for underwear, not food.

4. And just because it makes me giggle (yes, absurdly immature!), the whole culture around penises and tailoring: (a) Dressing Left; (b) Sir, Which Side Do You Hang?; and (c) 5 Theories For Men Dressing To The Left Or Right.

5. I am very tired of graphic t-shirts by now, but some people can still celebrate them alright: Is Your Tshirt Cooler Than You? and The Most Expressive Garment. I’ll take a break for a while in an aesthetic place where garments do not shout weird phrases at me… For such inspiration, see these beautiful people doing amazing stuff before neon performance fabrics – and slogan t-shirts – started to litter the view: The Amazing Style of British Cyclists.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Style mood board: me-me-me! Oh, the naughty idea that my own archives contain enough style inspiration already…

What I was writing about two years ago: Adventures of the spring 2017 capsule.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w23 + Sunday links. Wore also this week: Veja Wata sneakers, …

What I was wearing two years ago: Come, fund us! + #whatiwore23. Also, that time when I decided not to be a pirate and asked my friends to donate me money so that I could legally screen The True Cost. They did, and I will love them forever for that.

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What’s your take on the graphic tees (and sweatshirts, and pouches, and tote bags), aye or nay? Do you have that one favorite message you’d enjoy wearing all the time?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

Renova la teva roba: Barcelona’s municipal clothing swap

Yes, this is the post where I’ll tell you how the municipal clothing swaps work in Barcelona, and why I think my swaps are better than theirs… Brazen, I know, but bear with me. Most of it is about *how* it is done, not the fact that they are doing this or why would they. The overall goal, as stated in their website is to promote ‘el consum responsable, la prevenció de residus i la sostenibilitat’. Great, we are obviously on the same page!

To be more diplomatic, I see how their secondary objectives are very different from mine, and I don’t think that theirs work in their favor. My major disclaimer here is that I haven’t spoken with people in charge of this activity yet. I plan to do that once my thesis is out of the way, so I am oblivious to possible probable institutional squabbles that might have shaped the architecture of Renova la tev roba at the City council. So I hope there will be a second part of this post explaining how it came to be. And I didn’t go to all the locations (yes, plural, more about that below), so it could be that I just had bad luck… Well, this is my experience as a normal Barcelonina who wanted to take part in the municipal swaps.

Down we go to the details, and, gosh, how many details… and that is my first disappointment with the priorities of these swaps: you really have to pay attention to the small print. The idea clearly is that you learn that the month of swapping (twice a year!) is coming, download the bulletin (I also uploaded a copy here) and carefully study it.

Because there is a lot to study… (1) This May there were 18 spaces where you could go and swap, all across Barcelona. (2) Each of them had different days and hours when the swapping would take place. (3) You have to go at least twice because at each location there was a time window of gathering your discards and then another one for picking up new-to-you things. (4) There is a limit of what you can bring: 10 garments max, and only 2 max if they are winter jackets. (5) Only clothes and accessories, no footwear, no underwear, no linen, no other objects. (6) The same limit applies on what you can take: 10 garments max, and only 2 max if they are winter jackets. (7) When you give your discards, they are looked at by the staff/volunteers to check for stains, rips, etc. and, if accepted, you are given vouchers according to what you have brought, ranging from 1 point for t-shirts and accessories to 5 points for winter jackets. (8) When you come back to pick things up, you can take only what your points will buy you, e.g. if you brought three t-shirts, you now have three Renoves which can get you other three t-shirts, or a bag (one point) and a cardigan (two points), or a dress (three points). (9) Vouchers are valid only for the current edition. (10) But you can bring them to other spaces, i.e. discard in one location and go pick things up in another… Is you head spinning already?

It is clear that the second-order objectives are ‘decentralization’ and ‘justice’ as in avoiding free riding. The decentralization part makes certain political (keep the neighborhoods alive!), organizational (externalize this to already existing network of Centres Civics or Ateneus), and accessibility (people might be more willing to go if it is nearby) sense. However, it also means that the possible amount of garments and energy available is divided by 18 and scattered around. But I could buy that…

That acute fear of free riding is just weird, though. I know I had it before the first swap I ever hosted. And I have observed it at the Botiga Gratis of Banc Expropriat. It is this fear that, if you say that something is free, a horrific hombre del saco will show up and take everything. And you little helpless organizer will just stand there in your impotence because in your naïveté you had said that is was free… which is (a) absurd and (b) has never happened. For me the biggest argument against these formal ‘protective’ measures is that they promote the opposite of the idea that clothes are so abundant that there is no need to stress about them.

So, what exactly did I experience?

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Espai Intercanviat, Programa Millor Que Nou.
Dropped off on May 22, browsed on May 25, 2019.

I had been curious about Millor Que Nou for a long time, as it is the municipal hub for all kinds of activities that promote reuse and resistance to programmed obsolescence: repair and maintenance workshops, talks, and an ongoing exchange of objects. Take a look at their workshops, they sound great nad trying them out is on my to-do list! So I picked two good enough but nor exciting anymore pieces from my wardrobe: my mom’s gray cardigan (2012, 219+ wears) and her jersey dress (2016, 24 wears), washed and folded them, and went to Sant Antoni.

And that was swift: an employee of the Espai Intercanviat took my stuff and chatted a bit. I made her explain all the details to me again, just trying to catch her at ‘this is ridiculously complex’ but she wouldn’t. She did admit that many people brought too shabby things. I got my five Renove points (cardigan = 2 Renoves, dress = 3 Renoves) on a little slip of paper and went away. Having forgotten to take any pictures…

For the day I could pick stuff up I revised my Pinterest wishboard, and went back to Sant Antoni. It was a rainy Saturday morning, and I think there were only two other persons going through the clothing available, one of them with a baby and looking at baby stuff. The point system here was interpreted as needing to mark every garments with its ‘price’, color coded. And somebody had gone through all the garments putting little stickers on them. Tedious and a bit pointless, imho. These people have a lot of space, just separating by ‘price categories’ could have worked out fine. And the categories are pretty clear as not to create confusion at the ‘check-out’.


The supply was the typical lower-end second-hand one would find in a Humana on a bad day. Bershka, Decathlon, piling, worn out jersey, stretched knits, and the occasional hole… all that ‘no rips, no stains, our people will check this before accepting’ quality control is clearly just to weed out the complete aberrations that people should recognize on their own and discard in the orange container.

My purple dress was hanging there, looking quite sad and stretched on an unfriendly hanger… I didn’t see the cardigan. I hope that means that somebody had already picked it up.

And, if you came looking for a wallet, a belt, a bag, or a starfish fancy dress for your toddler, it might have been your lucky day! I came in looking for a headband, a short and thick sweater, a bodycon dress, and a basic 3/4 sleeve t-shirt, and went home empty handed. But I am very spoiled by now. For somebody whose luggage had been lost, there were plenty of options to start anew.



The weirdest thing I saw: used coffee capsule earrings. ‘Price’: 1 Renove. I’m all for reuse, but who thought that this was a good idea? And who would like to wear these, even if your beloved niece gifted them to you? If somebody gets this, please, explain!

The second weirdest: a jacket with a Humana price tag still on. Imagine all the travel and sorting this jacket has been through, dude, it deserves a comfy retirement by now.

The books and the shoes, and the toys, and the electronics were all off-limits until the Renova event ends it goes back to its ‘we swap everything’ policy. The year-round scheme is a bit more elastic: they also count your given up items to permit you to take some. Hold on, here comes the funny bit that creates even more questions about who thought the Renova la teva roba scheme: in the Millor Que Nou exchange clothing is given away with no strings attached, assuming – according to the employee of the space – that ‘clothing is a human right’ and that, if people came asking, they really needed it. She did not seem to realize the glaring contradiction between that statement and the setup for Renova la teva roba.


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Casa Orlandai.
Dropped off on May 29, browsed on May 31, 2019.

OK, for those uninitiated in class differences by neighborhood in Barcelona, Sarrià is posh… so I was curious. Maybe this was the magical place where rich people exchanged their beautiful frocks? Was this a possible entry point for the quality vintage that does not turn up in Humana?

Although I still had my 5 Renoves from Millor Que Nou, I also wanted to try out discarding garments there. C’s jeans that I had modified (2018, 30 wears) was the garment I had to get rid of. I had put a real effort in making myself wear them, and they never felt great. Bah… Jeans are not the easiest swap thing, as you have to try them on. And I was bringing a pair that wasn’t even true to its measurements, not even a pair of men’s pants anymore. I tried to at least warn people with this sticker:

The Centre Civic is a beautiful modernisme villa with a sunny backyard café… and as this is not a year-round activity for them, the clothing containers were in the hallway and I was attended by one of the reception ladies, don’t know if employees or volunteers. My data was taken down carefully… both the type of items I had brought and the sociodemographics: gender, age, neighborhood. She was somehow very surprised – ‘oh, what a great idea!’ – that I had modified my jeans, but lamented that I had only three Renoves. Then I asked about the possibility to use the other five from Millor Que Nou and she, after having checked if those points were truly from this year’s edition, confirmed that and said that, well, eight Renoves was already a nice amount…

And I was told that there are additional rules! Surprise. According to the lady who attended me, the event had been such a success in the past that, to avoid overcrowding, there would be raffled turns to control the number of people who enter in the swap. So not only one should come back on just one particular day, it also necessarily had to be between 17:00 and 18:00 to get my raffle number and then possibly waiting for your turn until 18:30. This already felt like so much effort…

So I did arrive 35 min before the magical 18:00 of the raffle, got my number – 35 – and read my book in that sunny backyard while eyeing others present. My field notes read: ‘The patio is filled with beautiful rich mothers and their wild toddlers. An English-speaking bunch too, the only ones that smoke. Unclear if they are all here for the swap or just part of the everyday routine of this place. How many people are doing the same strategy of going to the posh neighborhood? Few here look like they don’t belong.’ I was really hoping that that bunch of cool moms would be there to swap… seemed befitting.

As the designated time approached, I didn’t really notice any movement. I was waiting for those moms to move inside! A few minutes to 18:00 I went back to main door just to find it locked, and a run-around to the patio-door got me there at a moment of post-raffle frenzy. It took me a couple a minutes to figure out that they had actually opted for first-come-first-served model and numbers up to 45 were allowed to enter now. Then I got lost in all those modernisme stairs, and – after having my raffle number taken away at the entrance – stepped into the swap at 18:07 (that’s the time stamp on the first photos)… and it’s a memory blur there because I was so shocked about what I saw. I might have laughed hysterically. Maybe only on the inside. Here, do you see anything weird in these pictures?



Dude, I had never seen a swap were there are more people than garments! And such nervousness about grabbing sometthing, anything. This was the farthest possible thing from mindfully swapping. No changing rooms, no mirrors, just taking whatever there was. I actually saw an elderly gentleman taking a thick, sparkly jersey cocktail minidress. There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation to it, but still… And there were barely a couple of things left at that point. Only a heavy air of stress and scarcity. Add to that the final scrutiny and queuing to ‘pay’ at the exit, and it all smelled too much of my family’s mythology about soviet and postsoviet scarcity.

Maybe they brought in more things just after I left at 18:09… Maybe they had just started earlier for those with insider knowledge, i.e. numbers 1-20… I’m still unsure what to think of this. I came out shocked and texting Mara and C the photos. I just needed witnesses, I needed their confirmation that this was clearly ridiculous.

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So… this brings me back to my initial point of Un Armario Verde swaps being better than the municipal one. They are. Obviously, we do not cover such territory but we are also not a public entity with a network of spaces all around the city. Our overall offer is wider and nicer than in Millor Que Nou and, well, there are no feeling of scarcity, as opposed to my second experience. If the main overarching goal is to teach people – via material experiences – that garments are abundant and there is no need to shop new, one has to create places that feel that way. D-oh!

Being a confirmed obsessive compulsive data freak, I don’t think I’ve ever said this before but, these people are too focused on controlling and data gathering. Chillax! Make a party out of it. Teach people that there is an abundance of garments out there…

Until I get an insider’s perspective on this, have you, beloved Barceloninas, tried the Renova la tev roba swaps? Maybe it was a wild party at Lluïsos de Gràcia or Fort Pienc, and just happened to have chosen badly? Or, having read all this, do you think I’m overreacting out of self-interest and bias towards my own events?

#whatiwore 2019w22 + Sunday links

A detail: After my May 1st sunstroke, my goal for summer 2019 is to have no more! I already shared my last major sunburn – July 2016 – photos here, and this time it was a much smaller surface although maybe even a more idiotic. How stupid does one have to be to go walk the Catalan country side on a sunny May day without a hat and with one’s hair combed back? Well, me-stupid…

The result was the one any reasonable person would have predicted, a f*ing headburn and a headache alright. Here, have fun at my itchy and scaly expense:

So I’m clearly back to the square one of my ‘vete por la sombra, hija!’ mission. All the sunburnt tourists on my metro line are helping to keep my morale high and, since Saturday, proudly wearing my official sunhat. In my journey through all possible clothes’ swaps in Barcelona, we were at Glow Yoga with Mara… and this mysterious beauty apparently is no less than from the studio owner’s mom, if not made in Argentina then at least one that has resided there. Oh, how I love a fun garment story! And a quirky Latvian brooch + a Tate Modern badge elevates it just a notch to try to signal that this is not a beach hat. I’m tracking the wears, and have promised myself to wear it at all times until October. Will keep you updated.

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And now for the grey cells who haven’t been cooked yet:

1. Talking about cute garment stories, I would like all outlets filled with quality sentimental content as this one: Suresh Singh’s Tank Top.

2. And a quaint pattern history about that time when US military thought they could camouflage from (early) night vision technology by using a new camouflage pattern: Who Made That Strange Pixelated Camo?

3. What happens when upcycling comes to buildings: Hotel Project Would Revive Embodiment of Jet Age at Kennedy Airport and T.W.A. Hotel: You May Want to Stay at Kennedy Airport. By Choice. Seriously. Although this is clearly a very special case, it still warms my heart… I’ve never been able to digest that destroying old buildings and building new ones in their place is cheaper than restoring the old ones.

4. The complicated topic which I prefer to read instead of writing about: Finding the Beauty in Cultural Appropriation and Appropriating or Appreciating Indigenous Fashion: Playing Dress-Up? + how Dior is trying to do it right: Dior and the Line Between Cultural Appreciation and Cultural Appropriation and Feminism, Marrakech and Diana Ross: the second coming of Dior.

5. And in Marie Kondo news, (a) National Geographic doing a curious spin on the plastic problem and blaming her for disturbing all that plastic shit that has been peacefully decaying in people’s homes: Marie Kondo helps declutter homes. What does that mean for plastic waste? Weird… (b) If you needed male endorsement for KonMari, this is an excerpt from Cortex #84 Radiating Anxiety, and (c) on hiring a KonMari consultant as a sound financial choice: The Marie Kondo effect: should you hire a professional declutterer?

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What I was writing about a year ago: Book review: Second Skin by India Flint. This is a great one for any fiber lover…

What I was writing about two years ago: May [2017] Swap recap. The third one, we were so young, so innocent!

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w22 + Sunday links. The same as this week: the WAG skirt, Veja Wata sneakers, Kristīne’s ‘sailor’ skirt, the ban.do feather headband.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w22. Still wearing: Kristīne’s ‘sailor’ skirt, the ban.do feather headband, the pearl earrings. I find the fact that the week 22 has felt summery in the previous years too somehow reassuring… I was raised on the meteorological calendar, and June 1 is when my summer starts (we have an ongoing discussion about this at home because C believes only in astronomical seasons).

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What’s your summer well being resolution strategy to be implemented? A hat, a sunscreen, going to the beach more or going to the beach less? Are you any good at knowing the destructive side of sun and protecting yourself adequately?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w21 + Sunday links

A detail: the Dana Zeberga wooden ‘Russian’ set is my by far most complemented thing, people go crazy for it. Happened again this week! ‘Oh, how pretty… Oh, what is it made from… Oh, where is it from… Oh, so beautiful…’ Indeed, it is. Latvian design ftw!

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And your weekly porridge so that you would grow bigger and stronger, and defeat patriarchy *and* climate breakdown:

1. Ugh, I’m a bit confused about how many people make basic fast fashion primers and feel good about themselves… I might scream the next time I come across one of these. Anyways, in case you wanted some: (a) Why fast fashion should slow down from Science Weekly podcast; (b) How To Make Fashion Sustainable; (c) 6 things fast fashion has to do now to help stop climate change; (d) BBC New Year Solutions: Clothes.

I wrote down a Dilys Williams quote from this one, though: ‘I am wearing vintage although I bought it new’. That’s the sustainability goal and the rest is rubbish.

You already know my napkin-fitting strategy for detoxing your wardrobe: (train your mind to) acquire less – use up and make it last – replace with used – when truly needing new, buy ethical and well made. Boom, that’s it!

From the same BBC podcast came the assertion that plastic microfibers are mostly shed during the first few cycles of washing… which seems logical because those fabrics would be new, unmoved, still full of factory dust, hanging thread, etc. Also, it’s hopeful because that would mean that using for longer your synthetics would be a good practice. However, my intuition would be an inverse-u shape when at some point those fibers weaken and start to break down… Or don’t they ever because they are plastic, and plastic is (almost) forever?

I found this referencing this study saying that ‘all garments shed more when they are brand new’. The actual paper (published in 2016) also says that ‘there are currently no peer reviewed publications that compare the quantity of fibres released from common fabrics due to laundering’, so they are the first ones. From the outset they assume that new garments shed more: ‘Any initial spike in fibre loss from new clothes was reduced by washing each fabric four times before recording any data’. And those first times shedding looked like this:

Then there is exactly what I was looking for: ‘Microfiber Masses Recovered from Conventional Machine Washing of New or Aged Garments’. So, ‘the mass of recovered fibers increased significantly after aging (p < 0.001). On average, aging resulted in 25% more fibers recovered. Visual inspection of the jackets indicated that there was fraying on the aged jackets, which could lead to the increased mass of recovered fibers’. So the inverse-u does sound reasonable after all… This is all polyester, though. And the wear and tear is mechanical. And then you have this paper from 2019 citing the previous two and reminding that ‘Relating experimental test results to the wide range of real-life domestic or commercial laundry practices is difficult, and variations in conduct of the testing and in measurement techniques and protocols makes com- paring outcomes of different experiments extremely complex’. So it’s all bad… just try not washing. For some garments an airing or a cold hand-rinse can be enough.

The BBC did the part about where most of garments’ footprint comes from unsatisfactorily unnuanced and do not publish a long list of show notes with links, that’s why you just got a ladle-full of scientific papers: the footprint really depends on the type of garment and user behavior around them. There are ones that are smallish but often washed at high temperatures (underwear, t-shirts) whose most footprint will be from all that laundering, however, exactly the heavy trousers example given is less likely to be among those, especially if people are reasonable about (and, hopefully, among those who believe that going 6 months without washing one’s jeans is the way to go). If there are idiots out there doing hot, long cycles + dryer every two days for their heavy white jeans… could be true. My thinking about this is shaped by Kate Fletcher’s books this one in particular.

tl;dr: When it gets down to calculating impact of individual pieces, it is ultra-complicated. That’s why I try to stay away from the big estimates of this many tonnes, such percent of all CO2, nth most polluting industry. It’s just statistical prudence.

2. Just to add insult to injury: HnM Is Sitting On $4.3 Billion Worth Of Unsold Stock and Forever 21 ‘steals’ anti-fast-fashion artist’s work.

3. The celebrity event supposedly about fashion called Met Gala (What? The Met Gala 2019: Everything You Want to Know) happened… and even the NYT fashion people sound like they feel meh about it: “What is camp, by this definition? It is dress gone so far into the realm of costume that it may never find its way home. It is an unabashed attempt to break the internet. The dress code may have been “studied triviality,” but its expression was most often “extravagant literalism.”” Exhibits (a) Extreme One-Upmanship on the Met Gala’s Red Carpet; (b) ‘Camp’ at the Met, as Rich as It Is Frustrating; and (c) The Cannes Red Carpet Is So Much Better Than the Met Gala or the Oscars: “The Met is a costume ball, and there’s so much riding on the Oscars, but Cannes is where you can establish personality”.

4. As counterpoints to so much triviality, here: (a) on the reasons to keep an archive of women’s everyday clothing and its ‘museum potential’: Should These Clothes Be Saved? (also a story about how much difference one dedicated lady can make, hell yeah!) and (b) I made a 16th century shirt and it taught me about the crisis of fast fashion. Indeed, learning to (hand!) sew has an enormous potential to open people’s eyes. It’s very hard to consume garments as if they were disposable once you know how much work goes into creating one.

5. And just for fun: The Somewhat Sinister And Rebellious History Behind Your Striped Shirt.

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What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Kaftan. Oh, #100wears, how much I love you! Unfortunately, few garments live past that in good health. The kaftan came apart in late 2018, and has been waiting in my fabric stash to become a pair of shorts since then.

What I was writing about two years ago: Get to know your fibers (and stop cutting the tags). A suggestion to explore the fabric composition tags in your wardrobe just to know what exactly – or what mysterious fiber mixes – are your garments made of.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w21 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w21. The same as this week: Veja Arcade sneakers! A bit uneventful week, I was too busy pushing the wears for the Liisa lace top and C’s jeans.

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Do you find the big statistics beneficial (as in propelling you into action), too scary, too imprecise or just impossible to grasp? Do you have a favorite one that you love to tell people? So, numbers that shock people into action (although they might be imprecise), aye or nay?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#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.

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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’?

#whatiwore 2019w20 + Sunday links

Oh, I’m sure that exhausting brain gymnastics and doom’n’gloom is what you came here for… cheers!

1. Here, a dose of varying kinds of climate realism: (a) Safia Minney’s first podcast episode with George Monbiot on his “Environmental Breakdown and How to Stop It” and (b) Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes podcast episode on “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells. Wallace-Well’s original article that he then turned into a book is here: The Uninhabitable Earth.

2. In the recurring section of ‘ugh, I cannot believe we are still debating this shit’: The Criminalization of Women’s Bodies Is All About Conservative Male Power by Laurie Penny. And some additional sound parenting advice from Feminist Ire: How to talk to your children about abortion.

3. Why do we all have to be beautiful? bubbled up in my feeds, and I wish I had something intelligent to add. I offer you these instead: (a) Nina Simone’s Face; (b) Incomparable Lightness of Being Ugly and (c) a whole line-up of men (!) who made a point via their not conventionally handsome features: Pablo, Georges, Bill, Jacques. Among women, Diana Vreeland comes immediately in mind for having announced her conscious decision – helped by social class, mind you – to rise above the beauty trap in favor of style/elegance/whatddayacallit, although her lifelong work probably trapped millions of women exactly there.

4. Because every week should be fashion revolution week in your head: (a) Who Made My Clothes? And Other Important Questions, (b) Less is More: Can Sustainability And Profit Co-Exist? (the key for me here was this quote: “the top three reasons for implementing sustainability targets in business today are driven by the desire to grow revenue (39%), reduce costs (35%), and/or protect their brand (30%)”), (c) Will a 1p tax solve the problems caused by that £5 dress?

5. Style development advice 101: Support Stores That Bring You Value and Developing Your Eye.

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What I was writing about a year ago: May (6th!) Clothes’ Swap Recap. Turns out that the little gray Zara cardigan has been with us for a year now, after one fix (though requiring another one soon) and 83 wears later.

What I was writing about two years ago: Let it go, let go (of non-serving restrictions). Basically, on how self-imposed restrictions can be helpful and transformational but maybe need not to be taken overly seriously when they start to affect the quality of your life. Especially with minimalist, zero-waste, no purchase inclinations… you go, girl, but remember to be kind to yourself while doing it!

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w20 + Sunday links.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w20. Still wearing this week: Veja Arcade sneakers and the No-pasarán t-shirt in its glorious transformation.

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I’m low on uplifting stuff and climate optimism this week. Where do you look for a ray of hope in such moments? Resources I should read, people I should follow, anything good and sustainable anywhere that has sparked joy to you recently?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

May Swap (10th!) recap

May swap – the 10th! – was, well, normal… Typical. As planned. Pretty much a well-oiled and known event. The highlights and aftertastes include:

(a) There were enough people, not too much people, feeling even a bit empty at times. The only approximation to the scope and attendance I have are the FB event numbers, so… I have FB ‘reach’ stats since Swap IV, and these thousands of people – the record 19.7k for Swap IX – who have scrolled past it on their FB feeds is why I often joke that it’s surprising that we haven’t had to call Guàrdia Urbana just yet. Well, this is how one learns that reach does not translate into action… and the reason why I’ve had several unexpected conversations along the lines of ‘oh, those swaps are yours? Sure I know them.’ Or people who come by and, when asked, say that they probably saw the event on Time Out. Ha!

I have also learnt that ‘interested’ doesn’t mean shit. Some of those turn up but what they actually serve it to show the potentials – as they cannot see the FB reach – to what extent is this event an appealing idea to other FB users… To illustrate my point with an example: 148 ‘going’ for Swap IX vs. 150 ‘going’ for Swap X make sense, the 343 additional people who clicked ‘interested’ did not turn this one into a more crowded swap. But it is satisfying to see the number grow, or, well, stay high.

(b) As for the demographics, fun fact: the audience is a faithful reflection of who I am. Early thirties expat smarty-pants all the way… Men’s corner is a rather sad affair, children and older people are not necessarily catered to, and the class bias are enormous. Easy-to-implement ideas on how to mix it up a bit are most welcome!


(c) Being featured as one of the ‘official’ Barcelona swap-thrift events. All it took was one FB message, but felt and looked cool anyways.

(d) Seems that the separation between bar money and tips/taquilla inversa is finally clear. Cool. By having all the free stuff inside the event space and leaving the drinks at the bar, geographic distance did its magic.

Also, I had a lot of fun making my lettering signs that would guide people to the bar (and the tip box). So much so that I forgot to take a picture of them. Here’s one from the ‘dress rehearsal’ at home:

(e) To be completely open about the money, these are the stats since I started having a tip jar… Keep in mind that I spend around 25€ for the snacks and then there’s the tape, the garbage bags, the incense, the posters I had printed *and* the time invested. Time for finishing the thesis? Time for growing my KonMari consulting business? I won’t even try to calculate the hours spent because that would be very depressing, especially taking into account that a great part of it is answering idiot questions in two languages to people who clearly haven’t even clicked on the event description. And the time and resources of other people, too, of course. Thank you so much, Mara! And Margareta! And Patricia and Chus! And Lala!

We get – quite consistently, curiously – 30€ in tips. Except for Swap IX which was 7.30, and truly enraged me. Hence my money anxiety after these 10 editions… An anti-capitalist labor of love is alright but I am angry when it clearly isn’t appreciated because the dots are not connected. If every person who passed through a swap put just 1€ in the tip jar, this would be amazing. Even if only those who come by and thank me effusively for the ‘amazing idea’ would do so… It sounds incredibly naïve, I know, but it’s rather unpleasant to run an anti-capitalist operation in a capitalist world with no capital. Who knew?!

I already shared my fatigue after the Swap VII, then mostly about the lack of volunteers, and this circles back to it. I’m working on how to square the circle and continue my labor of love while getting all the right feels out of these event, as opposed to feeling exploited and like paying a great party for other people.

(f) And, talking about volunteers, we have a problem. My angry September post got quite few reactions of ‘oh, but just ask for help’. I do. A week before the swap I dutifully ask for volunteers, with clear hours and ‘job’ descriptions. And, with very few noble exceptions, I get the typical Wild West scene of tumbleweed on an empty street. Yes, back to the appreciation of the effort needed to host a swap the way I like it…

This time the setting it up started late, so some people had to be sent away at 11:00 because the ‘shop’ was not there yet, and it just happened that only three of us wrapped it up. Thank you so much, Margareta and Anouar! The open question is how to ensure timely and numerous volunteers whose pay is the pleasure of taking part… I thought it was enough, but clearly I’m weird.

(g) There were a lot of leftovers this time. Aimee (or any other crafter, remember the offer to come pick up whatever?) wasn’t there to collect any of it, so the wrap-up and final disposing of was lengthy. I prefer to think that it is because my loyal un-customers are losing their attachment to the idea of clothes as a scarce resource and shedding garments instead of accumulating…

This is just a fraction of leftovers, on their way to Botiga Gratis:

Both the wannabe Vans slip-ons that I had picked up at the December’18 swap and the ballet flats I tried on during this swap ended up at the Banc Expropriat. Hope somebody there will be happy to adopt them!

As for me, I have two new lounge pants. The yellow ones need a couple of new elastics, and the red ones can accompany me on a new yoga journey whenever that comes. Cool, thank you my beloved anonymous donors!

And there is a care suggestion too: (a) do a more-ritualistic-than-truly-cleansing (i.e. cold, short and gentle) wash of your new garments to make them symbolically yours, acquire the smell of your detergent, and (b) be cautious while doing it, as you don’t want that first wash to be the one hat destroyed your whites. Just be adult about this!

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Do you have any swap experiences? Have you ever organized a swappy event? If yes, how did that go? If you have read this far, what advice would you have for my discontent?

#whatiwore 2019w19 + Sunday links

A detail: The swap morning elevator selfie!

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And the Sunday picnic of information nom-noms is here:

1. This is just a fun story illustrating a million possible ways how brands that do not update their designs create happiness exactly because of not doing it: My Brother Lost His Pants. My own complaints about Veja just making new designs and not bringing back my favorite sneaker ever, are here.

2. And just a bit of technological musings comparing people’s fear of automatic elevators in 1940s and our fear of driverless cars: Pushing the right buttons. Technology is so outlandish until it is suddenly so commonplace…

3. This is the weird story Sunday, so The Weird and Glorious Culture Shock of “Take Ivy” about the man who went on replicating inexistent styles until they became their own reality in fashion. Basically, the magic that might happen – though usually doesn’t – when you copy an aesthetic without knowing what’s behind it.

4. This could be one of most intriguing headlines ever: When Their Trademarks Are Used, the Hells Angels Resort Not to Violence but to High-Profile Lawsuits. Indeed, I didn’t know either that Hells Angels is a registered trademark…

5. When the answer is simpler than you expected (but that doesn’t make it more feasible because of political reasons): Rewild the World.

6. A mediation on how some pictures of anonymous people come to illustrate whole social / political movements, partly due to how those depicted are dressed: ‘It’s Going to Be the Image of the Revolution’.

7. Ugh, there is so much to say about the Notre-Dame fire and aftermath, and so much has been said. But here you have a bit on the symbolic importance for the fashion world (Woven Into the Fabrics of France) juxtaposed with the lavish promises of donations for rebuilding: French Titans’ Pledges to Notre-Dame Pass €850 Million. And a piece from a couple of years ago describing the symbolic value of such gestures (and how that symbolic value can be turned into euros) – ‘you have to think about exactly how you are engaging with the consumer […] the new model is representing something a whole lot deeper and more meaningful to consumers’ – For the Wolf of Luxury, a Chance to Be a Lamb.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Swap VI and the problem with the threadbare. Complaining about how having fewer things make them wear out sooner, that’s just pure statistics.

What I was writing about two years ago: We shall swap again. Explaining the logic of who leaves my wardrobe to go and be swapped away…

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w19 + Sunday links. Also, showing off my first #memade garment ever!

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w19. Still wearing: my mom’s gray cardigan and Monton bird skirt, and Veja Arcade sneakers.

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How did you feel about the Notre-Dame donations? What would you change in the world with €850 million euros? Which sustainability cause you wish the extra rich would start throwing their money at?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w18 + Sunday links

A detail: The 10th (!) swap is coming next Saturday. And these two pieces are leaving my wardrobe for sure… The fake ‘vans’ turned out to be too thin-soled for any reasonable walking, and the cutback top is too complicated to wear. The shape is great but that cut is clearly meant for the no bra people. I just end up readjusting it all the time to hide the bra, and who has time for that? So these two, among many others, will be up for grabs on May 11. See you there!

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Are here come the brain nom-noms:

1. I’ve been thinking a lot about the extent to which some entrepreneurships are made possible by families and significant others, and this popped up in my internets: “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.

2. One of those random heritage brand stories (and an interview!) on myth creation: The J. Peterman Company: Uncommonly Good Stuff From An Uncommonly Interesting Man. And another one: The North Face: From Summits to Sidewalks. And another one: The Harrington Jacket: A Hit Across the Pond. Fashion history is a fascinating subject, especially if one goes item by item! Like so: Fatigue Fashion: History of the OG-107 Trousers.

3. If you want a reminder on what to hate vehemently, here ‘Cars are ruining our lives. We should cut their use by 90% over the next 10 years’: Auto-Destruct.

4. I had never thought of how a good billboard can be amplified n-fold by people appreciating it and posting that on social media. However, marketing people had thought about it: The Beauty of a Billboard in the Age of Instagram.

5. In hopeful news section, this sounds too good to be true (fingers crossed, though): Fast-fashion retailers like Zara and HnM have a new threat: the $24 billion used clothes market + pro tips on buying second-hand online: Emerging Markets.

6. If you were ever looking for a fashion essay that brings together Samuel Beckett, la Résistance, and the history of industrial chemistry just to talk about ochre, here you have it: The Color of Roussillon, France. I can’t help but love it, this is how I want to write when I grow up…

7. And to crush your aspiration to cure everything with some reusable bags: Your cotton tote is pretty much the worst replacement for a plastic bag.

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What I was writing about a year ago: #FashionRevolution Fix it! workshop + easy fixes. We had a blast doing some basic hand-sewn fixes exactly a year ago, let’s see if another one happens soon…

What I was writing about two years ago: Style ebb and flow, me and others. From that time when I spent a couple of hours in the Chicago Midway International Airport meditating on what I wear and why… mostly on how I don’t do it for anybody else’s pleasure but my own.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w18 + Sunday links. Still going strong: Hummel Madelaine jacket, Street One jacket and the now-reborn No pasarán t-shirt, Veja Arcade, the red wooden necklace, my mom’s gray cardigan and her gingham dress.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w18. Even two years after, my mom’s gray cardigan, Veja Arcade, No pasarán t-shirt, and Liisa’s black lace top coincide.

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Have you been swapping lately? Any interesting newcomers, any long-needed partings? Do you have those special friends or family members whose wardrobes you keep an eye on for when they are tired of their stuff? Or do you suspect that you are that person with the wardrobe that others are hoping to raid?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee!

#whatiwore 2019w17 + Sunday links

Here, feed the brain:

1. I still don’t have a properly formed sociological opinion about the KonMari fever and all other homemaker-influencers, but it will probably be something along the lines of ‘try to control a least a bit of your life (as the economy in unpredictable and the planet is down the toilet)’ mixed with it being an easier field for women’s entrepreneurship: What the rise of the ‘cleanfluencer’ tells us about women’s lives in 2019.

2. Because I find this explosive mix of niche fashion anthropologies and a fashion giant trying to restrict who can wear their wares hilarious: (a) Patagonia Drops Co-Branded Fleece Vests; (b) Patagonia Is Cracking Down on the Wall Street Uniform; (c) Are Bankers and Venture Capitalists Really Getting Fleeced by Patagonia? and the actual evidence that the conflict is real (d) Midtown Uniform Instagram account.

3. The fashion casualization stuff still appears on my feeds, so here you go: (a) a  historical one on East India Company enduring English garments in highly inappropriate weather for stupid reasons: Idiotic Pride; (b) Casual Friday and the ‘End of the Office Dress Code’; (c) Why American Workers Now Dress So Casually; (d) The Origins of Business Casual; (e) on how fashion advice is routine in politics: Hey, Governor, What Are You Wearing?; (e) and how we are probably all ending up in tights and onesies: It’s Possible Leggings Are the Future. Deal With It.

4. Just for fun and footwear history: (a) History of Wellington Boots: From Battlefields to Potato Fields; (b) Horses to Hollywood to High Fashion: The History of the Cowboy Boot; (c) How the Air Jordan 1 Became the New Chuck Taylor; (d) Nike’s Air Jordan was a key turning point in menswear.

5. And a couple of ladies whose job you might want to have: Kelly Harrington: 100% Denim and Dress For A Role: Style Lessons From A Costume Designer Keri Langerman.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Luīze goes to KonMari Consultant Seminar.

What I was writing about two years ago: Breathe deeply, it’s clean enough.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w17 + Sunday links. Still repeating: Inga’s PhD dress and Liisa’s skater skirt. Also, Veja Arcade sneakers.

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w17. So many still in rotation: Hummel Madelaine, the Indian Prince shirt, Veja Arcade, Inga’s PhD dress, Ginta’s MnS black dress…

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What are your 2 cents on the fashion casualization? Do you think it would be fun going back to wearing little white gloves every time you leave home and starchy underskirt? Or are you among those who cannot wait until it will be acceptable to get married and/or buried in your yoga pants?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

#whatiwore 2019w16 + Sunday links

Here, a spoonful of informed and furious:

1. I haven’t participated in any of these yet but even my introvert self is getting there: (a) Climate Change Protests Disrupt London Fashion Week; (b) First Strike; (c) suggestions on how to prep and disseminate from Body Politic / Extinction Rebellion; (d) No More Excuses.

2. Why it might make sense to dress formally when protesting: Wearing a Suit Makes People Think Differently. I actually vaguely recall a protest initiative where people marched dressed in their best… and how it impressed both media and the police. In UK, I think, but cannot seem to find to find it… Help me, please, if you know what I’m talking about!

3. The Earth Day is coming and the Fashion Revolution Week is coming, and you will read the same articles again and again. Like these: (a) My Year of No Shopping; (b) How online shopping and cheap prices are turning Americans into hoarders; (c) Waste Colonialism; (d) Your HnM addiction is wreaking havoc on the environment. Here’s how to break it; (e) Is This the End of Recycling?; and some people like to inject a bit of hope, so we are back talking about plastic-eating bacteria that might or might not be in the market in a couple of years (f) Hello, Little Microbe. Doesn’t This Jacket Look Yummy?

4. And there are always more plastics to worry about: (a) Should We Worry About Little Plastic Produce Stickers?; (b) The truth about fruit stickers because no article that starts with ‘the truth’ will ever tell anything nice; (c) Esta empresa española está revolucionando el mundo del etiquetado de alimentos. Fun fact, these people tell that the laser-tagging technology was invented to prevent melon theft in supermarkets, i.e. people paying for more expensive melons as if they’d be the cheaper kind

5. And some more analysis of ‘why fashion so ugly?’: How Sound Branding Changed Fashion.

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What I was writing about a year ago: #100wears: Red flea sweater.

What I was writing about two years ago: Persuasion or #fuckfastfashion, but gently.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w16 + Sunday links (aka what I wore to the KonMari consultant seminar).

What I was wearing two years ago: How I pack or #whatiwore 2017w16 (my minimalist travel outfit planning illustrated).

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What do the designated days of activism mean to you? Do they serve as an additional impetus? A means to reach out? Or are you slightly irritated that suddenly, once a year, everybody is so keen on sustainability just to forget it tomorrow?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee:

Vegan-friendly omnivore places in Barcelona

Let’s talk eating out! I’ve been thinking about writing a post about my favorite vegan-friendly omni places in Barcelona for a long time, and an unpleasant experience pushed over to finally do it… The first disclaimer here has to be about my preferences when it comes to eating and eating out in particular:

(1) Food matters to me. I like it, I enjoy, I cook (one of my very few useful skills once the digital apocalypse comes), and my food should taste good. So my interest in food – as for most people – go beyond fueling life in my cells. Fuck Soylent, I’m looking for pleasure.

(2) I eat mostly vegan (with aspirations towards a whole food plant based diet) and will do vegetarian when eating out, but eggs and dairy is as far I’ll go. I’ve been ovo-lacto vegetarian since 2006 (and toying with it since I was 14, so 2002), and seduced by veganism as the only reasonably ethical option since 2010/2011.

(3) C is an omni and, while he is very flexible and down for a good tofu (the V-only places he would approve of include El Vergel in Tarragona, The Spread Eagle in London, V Spot and Beyond Sushi in New York among others), prefers to have his options open when eating out.

(4) And I have to admit that there are veg*an places that take their Ⓥ clientele for granted instead of really taking care of the umami in their food. Also, I think it is more reasonable and engaging to include vegan food in your omni menus instead of making me feel like an outcast who is so weird she needs her own special restaurants or at least ask for special treatment in normal people places. And I want people to accidentally order vegan food because it’s so good. Or maybe I’m just too picky and know nothing of vegan advocacy…

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The quick suggestions if you came here for v-only recommendations in Barcelona are the following, all these are vegetarian with ample vegan options:
Maoz: €, great but always crowded which is a problem as the appeal of the place is in the unlimited salad toppings while you are working at your falafel;
Quinoa: €, good but very little seating + some former employees have filled Gràcia with ‘Quinoa exploits its workers’ graffitti;
Teresa Carles: €€, especially reasonable if you go for the working-day lunch menu but nothing otherworldly;
The Green Spot: €€, an attempt at veg*an fine dining, very nice but a long way to Vedge, my best (and only) experience at vegan fine dining so far.

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So, my current favorite vegan-friendly omnivore places in Barcelona… I’ve been there with v-friends and with omni friends and the satisfaction level has been very high. As for me and C, we have left a small fortune in every one of these:

La Rovira

These people have achieved a miracle: a craft beer place that doesn’t feel snobbish and has maintained the feel of a normal Spanish bar where people pop in for a coffee, to read the newspaper, to watch a Barça game (check before going, you will have less seating but so much more ambience if you go on a game day), to see friends, eat, drink, and be merry…

The menu consists of typical snacks and starters (olives, potatoes, fish conserves, etc.) and sandwiches. And among those sandwiches is my favorite vegan sandwich of all times (and three other vegetarian ones, all good). No, you don’t have to arrange anything or ask them to hold an ingredient. Legalitat is your perfect (big!) beer sandwich with seitan, grilled onions, white bean paste, dried tomatoes, and raw zuccini… if you do slightly spicy, ask staff for Salsa Valentina hot sauce. Delicious! There are also usually some vegan options in the seasonal offer, like vegan ‘meatballs’ or a saucy seitan bánh mì experiment. As for starters, guacamole, potato chips and banderillas (an olive, a pickle, a pickled oinion, and a spicy pepper on a little stick) are yours. The sauces for the patatas bravas are vegetarian but not vegan. Home olives contain anchovies, beware.

As for vegan dessert, go for a sorbetto in one of Gràcia’s plazas. The craft beer selection is excellent, and this is one of the rare places where they won’t treat you with contempt if you ask for a wine or water.

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Mosquito restaurants

Most Asian flavors are my cup of tea, so I’m always looking for the best new place that will make me happy without all the shit about traditional pork broths, fish flakes and mysterious sauces. And the Mosquito chain (several slightly different restaurants, same owner, same mochis) will do exactly that with your options clearly marked and staff knowing their menu while also keeping your omni friends happily slupring. Your options include Mosquito for dumplings (vegan: chard/collard filled dumplings, smoked tofu + rice, edamames, kimchi), Red Ant for ramen and bibimbap (just ask them to hold that egg), and noodles, kimchi, seaweed salad, Cal Cuc for hot or cold ramen (again, ask for no egg; the cold shoyu ramen is really nice). These places get crowded and Mosquite is infamous for its live queue, go to Cal Cuc in Poble Nou to avoid that but I’d say that the dumplings are worth it. Unfortunately, their incredible mochis are not vegan… Servers are knowledgeable, busy, and often very rude, focus on your noodles instead.

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La Taquería

I’m under a taco spell, what can I do? While there are many things here for the cheese people, the vegan option is one: guacamole for a starter and then vegetarian alambres (make-your-own tacos) containing bell pepper, onion and white mushrooms + I always ask for extra nopales (you can also get extra pineapple if you are so inclined) served with the four home sauces ranging from non-spicy to OMG. Use the sauces, they make all the difference – take that little non-spicy green pepper magic and spread it evenly on your 4 tacos, don’t share it with anybody else! Sorbettos (drunk ones, if you like mezcal on your postre) for dessert. I stick to my micheladas in this apparent tourist trap just by Sagrada Familia and try to forget that tables are covered with tarpaulin. And learning that sucking on ice cubes at least gives an illusion of calming the fire in my mouth:

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The best vegan ice cream ever (yes, leaving the glorious Van Leeuwen second)
Rocambolesc

Oh, brothers Roca, they have changed my life, OK, Jordi Roca has… because once I’ve tasted their sorbets, I can never go back to the usual icy sugary stuff that ice cream joints offer to vegans. The creaminess and the flavors are pure magic! I tried it for the first time in Girona last summer – blueberry and watermelon sorbets, pictured above – and I was blown away. After having found out that they also have a shop in Barcelona, on the f*ing Ramblas, no less, I kept re-asking if the sorbets were really vegan… they are! That creaminess, though.

The shop can feel a little overwhelming because there is a lot going on. Jordi expects you to choose an ice cream, then a mountain of toppings, then maybe put it into a bread packet and heat it… Bah! No! Go in, look above your head for the flavors available – typically 5, with 2 sorbets among them – pick yours and say no to toppings, the ice cream is good enough on its own. They also have pints to take with you. Bring one when you are visiting a Barcelona vegan, and they will love you forever!

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For vegans with pizza cravings, I recommend Messie where you can opt for vegan cheese on your pizza and Sortidor where their vegetarian pizza is so lush (spinach! artichokes! the whole garden!) that ordering it without the cheese does not destroy the experience. Madre Lievito was my first experience of the simplest pizza Marinara being truly enough and incredibly tasty.

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From left to right: El Vergel, Quinoa, Ale’n’Hop (our first vegetarian favorite when we moved to Barcelona).

If you have food restrictions, do you prefer to be integrated (separating what has to be separated in the case of allergies) or have restaurants catering to you specifically? If you inhabit the veg*an world, what are your Barcelona – or worldwide – favorites? I am ready to travel for food…

#whatiwore 2019w15 + Sunday links

A detail: Here you have a little garment story. First, at the February Swap I picked up this small Benetton 78% wool and 22% angora sweater. It had a rip at the front – somebody had clearly once pinned a brooch on it and unraveled it – that I was afraid to try and fix, but Mara is not afraid of anything, so she bravely mended this beauty:


Then, after less than ten wears (and two hand washes), I noticed that my little swap sweater was piling very quickly. Well, that is cheap wool mixes for you… So I shaved it. With this thing. C invested in one recently, and I am very impressed. However, as he remarked, a few more shaves and I won’t have any sweater left.


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But now, here’s a hearty soup for the brain:

1. On the complicated relations between price and value in fashion: Untruisms: You Get What You Pay For.

2. Ever heard of ‘ecocide’? I hadn’t either until I read George’s column about the work or Polly Higgins (1, 2): Law of Nature.

3. There are certain types of information I always find delightful, one of them is ‘look at this lady you never heard of before who run her fashion business (after some horrible shit happened and she had to make her own living)’, so ta-dah: Hansi Originals and Hansi Landis.

4. If you are dumbfounded by how people create their uniforms (pro tip: whatever stuff you have on that chair that you don’t even put back in your wardrobe because you are wearing the same thing tomorrow *is* your uniform!), here, Caroline will tell you how: Spring style: My uniform for warmer days.

5. Before you stash away your winter stuff, this: I’d Like To Try To Fumigate This Here Sweater: Dealing With Moths, Without Pesticides and A Textile Conservator Explains How To Deal With Clothes Moths.

6. Then, in denim news: (a) Kingpins to Require Denim Exhibitors to Meet Supply Chain Standards; (b) What Does Levi’s Impending IPO Have To Do With Your Leggings? (c) New Levi’s® Wellthread™ x Outerknown Features Groundbreaking Cottonized Hemp; (d) and I cannot help but applaud this brilliant advocacy strategy: Levi’s Leather Patches Come Under Fire by Peta (who are now their shareholders).

7. And just for history fun and a reminder that most writing people have written questionable stuff just to earn their living: The Walt Whitman Method for Acquiring a Manly Chest and Avoiding Syphilitic Taint.

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What I was writing about a year ago: Yes, there are garments that I’ve never washed. From that list I’ve now washed the red flea sweater and my mom’s Monton bird skirt.

What I was writing about two years ago: Journey on Hobbit Feet.

What I was wearing a year ago: #whatiwore 2018w15 + Sunday links. OK, I’m repeating the yellow scarf, the No Pasarán t-shirt in its current incarnation, Liisa’s black velvet skirt, and my mom’s Monton bird skirt. Boom!

What I was wearing two years ago: #whatiwore 2017w15. Oh, this is one of the rare weeks that 0 garments coincide with the respective week from two years ago… See, even my wardrobe changes.

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What are your knit-care experiences? Piling upon first wear from garments you thought were a good investment? Or a random thrift find or a hand-me-down that exceeds all expectations? Any moth catastrophes to grieve?

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Also, the tipjar is available if you ever feel like buying me a coffee: