Make do and mend

Chronicling the various patches, weak spots, and blowouts on my most worn pairs of jeans. They vary between one and four years old. Two bought new, two secondhand.

altered waist · patched pre-existing holes in the knees

fixed ripped belt loop

crotch repairs

more crotch repairs

Things I’ve learned over the last few years wearing these in heavy rotation:

Jeans are better bought new since they will be worn a lot.

Stretch high-waist jeans need to be pulled up way too often; mid-rise is best.

Tailoring jeans to fit is well worth the expense.

Never take shortcuts when repairing jeans. Matching thread and a sturdy patch make all the difference. Use a similar weight and fabric blend and overlock the edges first.

Never put stretch denim in the dryer.

Getting ready for when the sun becomes a thing again

@arie_carie  in Elizabeth Suzann

There have been a few glimmers of hope that the weather will improve and Portland will once again know what temperatures over 55 degrees feel like. In kind, I’ve been thinking a lot about clothes. In what seems to be a moment of growth, I’ve been a lot less focused on new clothes and more on the ones I have. Hooray for growth.

Let’s be real – I’m still a work in progress. There are many new things but that is another story for another time.

I might make this a regular thing since I did a similar post for fall. We’ll see how that goes in the future, but for now, on to the plans for the elusive Sprummer:

// Dye my light colored high-waist jeans to a medium blue…maybe

On my last list, I mentioned wanting a pair of high-waist, cropped, skinny blue jeans and couldn’t find a pair I liked. I figured since I have a pair that fit really well, I can just dye them. It’s still a consideration at this point (honestly, I don’t want to screw up the color), but I feel this is a better option than buying another pair in this particular cut.

// Get supplies to properly clean and waterproof my shoes

I should have been better about this because it rained a ton this winter. I didn’t see the cobbler nearly as often as I should have and a couple of pairs are worse for the wear (probably a good thing for my wallet since that would have gotten very expensive over the last several months). I plan to get them properly conditioned and then get what I need to take care of them regularly at home.

// Reassess the closet contents

This is an ongoing thing. I’m happy to say that I’ve been making better choices as of late but there are still a few things lingering that shouldn’t be there. Since the seasons are changing, I’m going to take a hard look at the items that have been stored away and decide whether or not they should remain.

// Mend/tailor anything that needs mending/tailoring

Also an ongoing thing. Clothes. Shoes. Jewelry. All of that. I’ve been keeping up with my jeans (so many crotch hole repairs), but there are a few things that have gone neglected for too long.

// Buy a couple of nice, long-wearing spring/summer tops

For several years running, I’ve been using the same few shirts for warmer weather; my favorite scoop neck t-shirts from UO that are no longer sold, a couple of Everlane t-shirts, and a couple of Everlane tanks. The UO shirts after years of wear are now threadbare and uncomfortably sheer. One tank was stained beyond repair. That leaves me with a few holes to fill.

After reading the Elizabeth Suzann post mentioned below, I’ve fallen in love with the brand and am planning to get a couple of tops. The Georgia tee in flax or ivory linen and the Stevie top (which isn’t currently sold, but I’m hoping for the return of) are my top picks. A close second to the Stevie is the Maxine (pictured above).  I only want to add pieces that look nice, are versatile and durable, and are easy to wear so that they are used and used often. These look like they could be the ones and I’m giving myself time to save up for them to make sure they are.

// Find a pair of good jeans

About the above mentioned crotch repairs…  After this 2-3 year run with my main rotation, I’ve decided secondhand jeans are a great idea if you don’t wear jeans as often as I do. I’m pretty sure two pairs are going to completely give out on me in the next couple of months so I’ll be on the lookout for a pair of sturdy, possibly raw denim jeans. The way my lower half is set up, this may not be feasible but I’m willing to humor myself. I’ve heard good things about Imogene + Willie and they have a store in Portland, so I’ll be checking them out soon.

Do you have any closet-themed plans for spring/summer?


What I’ve been doing instead of blogging

Between lots of thinking, a malware infection on the site, and the many newsletters that occupy my inbox, I’ve spent a lot of time away. To aid in your further distraction recreation, here are some assorted readings from around the internet over the past few months.

The myth of the ethical shopper. Very important albeit upsetting read. Sometimes we aren’t doing as much as we think we are and that’s good information to have.

Why owning 24 items of clothing is good for my creativity. I’ve seen many versions of this story, but I really liked this one.

The woman in the empty room. Because I’m on a minimalism kick and this speaks to it very poetically.

How to make your shoes last a lifetime. I’m getting more into making do with and mending my clothing. And men’s blogs. I really love reading men’s blogs. They place a lot more emphasis on choosing and taking care of well-made clothing. Dreamy.

The disease of more. On how progress is actually the enemy of progress.  Really interesting read.

Body scrubs, feather robes, and other failed experiments in self-care. Another good one that aims to lift the veil on the commercialization of self-care. Pro-tip: the most effective forms are usually free.

The real price of clothing.  A really insightful piece from the head of Elizabeth Suzann. She actually connects her prices to her production process and profit margin. It’s rare for a designer to pull back the curtain on how their clothing is produced. Much respect.

A tale of two cities 

I went down to Los Angles for work this week and, in an effort to document more of the moments where I feel good about what I’m wearing, noticed a subtle theme.

Portland // RODEBJER coat, EVERLANE sweater, ACNE jeans, JENNI KAYNE brogues

Los Angeles // AA bralette, BLACK CRANE dress, ACNE jeans, JENNI KAYNE brogues

I took these photos three days apart in 46 and 83 degree weather, respectively. Having consistency in the look despite the drastic change in climate made me happy. There is also a certain satisfaction knowing I’ve had some of these pieces for years; they make me feel like I made good choices.

The brogues have been with me since 2014 when I bought them to celebrate my promotion at work. I don’t generally like when shoes show the telltale signs of aging (read: CREASES), but these have worn beautifully. I’ve always wondered why Jenni Kayne didn’t make these part of the core collection of her shoes the way the D’Orsay flats were. Even after all this time, I still love the style and consider them the perfect flat.

Jeans are a signature and a staple for me. Acne makes three of my most often worn. I’m sad to say I haven’t found anything comparable to replace my two most worn down pairs when they finally give out.  The ones in the second photo I got secondhand in 2015 and I’ve had to repair them three times. There is a fourth hole I’m waiting to get larger so I can patch them once again. The jeans in the first photo were purchased in 2016 at the Acne store in downtown LA. I adore the cut and fabric (high waist, skinny, with substantial feeling denim with a soft hand but I wish the wash were a bit darker. I managed to rip a belt loop on these, so I’ll be mending them in the very near future.

The sweater is by Everlane and I bought it in 2015 when I first moved to Portland. It remains one of my favorite sweaters to wear when temperatures fall below 50 degrees.  I have to take a sweater shaver to it more regularly now, but it’s held up well having seen three winters. I read somewhere that all sweaters pill, but the good ones stop after a while. Hoping this is true.

I bought the Black Crane shirtdress on a bit of a whim last summer from West End Select Shop (one of my favorite local shops). I always love feel on the textiles Black Crane uses and it was hot enough out to merit the purchase of this gauzy thing. I usually use it as more of a layering piece, but I’ve worn it as a dress. It’s seen a lot more use than I expected because it’s so versatile.

The coat in the first photo is new and replaced my Emerson Fry coat (I loved it, but the color kept me from wearing it as often as I would have liked). I lucked out during a Frances May sale (another local favorite) where this was 50% off and the last one in the store. Knowing how impulsive I can be in these situations, I mulled it over for a few days, put it on hold, and parted with my money with a clear head on the day after. I prefer the cut of the shoulders and the camel color coordinates with everything I own much better. It also has a beautiful quilted lining and bound/welt buttonholes. I considered having it shortened to around knee-length but this winter made me reconsider. The length will be needed once the cold and snow start again this year.

Recently, I’ve been  making more of an effort to enjoy the things I have (or in some cases, optimizing the things I have so I can fully enjoy them).  After so many cycles of purge and binge, I want to take a more thoughtful and slower approach to the whole thing and really appreciate the clothes  I own. Here’s my first attempt.  =)

Thoughts on things

GUCCI Queercore Brogue Pumps

Ridiculous times call for opposing and equally ridiculous shoes.

That I meant two different things by the same word in the above sentence is a sign of the times. Nothing seems real anymore.

It’s snowing like crazy in Portland and I can remember where I was a this time three years ago. I could not have imagined that my life and the world would be where they are right now. I’m trying my best to just observe it all, not judge it as good or bad; but that leaves me wondering if I am being too passive when action is required.

To protect my own sanity, I’m not actively engaging with anything too steeped in the worlds of politics or popular entertainment. Twitter is about as much as I can take and I can’t stand that for too long.  That said, I completely agree with Viola Davis in this clip of her at the Golden Globes. I didn’t see any of the awards show or any more of what she said. I saw photos of Tracee Ellis Ross and Naomi Campbell on the red carpet and decided that nothing else could top that. I was wrong, because it was Keith Stanfield dancing as the cast of Atlanta walked to the stage to accept their Golden Globe. Rightfully so; it’s a really outstanding show.