Monday, 9 November 2015

Wardrobe Stalwarts Part 1 - Chanel flats and Champion sportstop

  Fashion has been on my mind a lot lately but
not so much in questioning what I was wearing any given day.

I had been feeling things about the whole rigmarole of 
fashion and trends and economic side effects 
but I kept telling myself I was becoming the old fart 
swore I'd never be.

But then like some of you I presume, 
I watched "The True Cost" which is still on Netflix 
in the UK and it solidified exactly what I'd been feeling.
If you haven't watched, it really is a must watch film.
I know that there are many crazy things happening in the world right now but this is one that actually affects our daily lives.

Clothes are a necessity still. 
That trend will never change.  
But it seems without exaggeration that a purchase of an item 
of clothing is as political as casting a vote for the next leader 
 your respective country.

But what can a civilian do?
Shares on Facebook feeds and a feeling of deflation right before you bite into a donut or drink.

I have been reviewing long term my relationship with items and physical objects.
It's a mid life thing I suppose.
I'm torn between "collecting" and a genuine attempt of collecting.
But during my last renovation, 
I felt embarassed by the things I had.  
I was never a frequent shopper to begin with but the forced move out of my house slowed that even further.

In the spirit of buying fewer but better,
 I thought I would do an ongoing series of short posts to share with you some items that have lasted at least 5 years but 
I will aim for at least a decade or so. 

It would be fun to see what readers who blog have as well that have survived a decade or so.  It might help us all when we go shopping not to waste money, time and resources?

So let's get down to business.

The shoes that have survived moves to Australia, New York, London, and Asia / renovations / wardrobe swaps are the following pair of Chanel flat two textured half patent half leather slingbacks.

These shoes were bought in.
Drumroll please........

20 years ago.

They were bought because I had my first serious job interview and I thought I'd be having a few more of those so would be used regularly. 
The cost was justified because feet usually stay the same size unlike jeans.

I'm not modelling them well as I've got a massive cold and have spent the past two days in bed so I'm sitting on the floor.
The Chanel logo that was in gold is worn off.
The only proper remnant is the imprint on the buckle.
Not that it matters really because they aren't going on eBay.
I've had these resoled at least 5 times.
I still wear them and they are still comfortable.  
Some say that manufacturers have changed and the quality has gone down of late(the past decade).  
I couldn't say because I have rarely seen shoes at Chanel recently that look like they won't be outmoded in three years time.
Trick was in resoling them before they needed to be resoled.
That was a tip from a shoemaker so if you like a pair of shoes, 
don't wait to fix them until you need to.

Right next one.
Not sexy but I have a soft spot for this one.

It's not my sports bra.
It's what I wear over my sports bra.
You thought 1995 was a bit much.
I got this in a sale in Melbourne in 1993.

Yes it's getting threadbare but I can tell you that if I'd known how great the quality was I'd have bought boxes.
But right after this batch the factory moved to Asia and it just wasn't the same and the next batch was thrown away decades ago.
I've gone through many rounds of working out and I have to say Champion made in Australia was such fantastic quality. 
But then again I suppose if you make something too well then the need to buy more is negated which is bad for business...

I will be going through my wardrobe and sharing with you some more bits that have lasted and survived.
Those in the Northern hemisphere, start upping your vitamins now!


  1. a fun topic i was just discussing with a friend. i try to buy less but really well. as long as i did not go trendy, i can get miles out of clothes.
    my longest wearing article is a long cotton shift dress bought on the streets of morocco for 5$, 15 years ago. strictly a summer outfit, it looks like the day i bought it, defying all logic!
    shoes, 20 years.......never, too rough!

    1. It is that elusive quality where something just lasts. I wish I had a perfect formula to share but that shirt dress sounds comfortable and bet it feels wonderful.

  2. A sweater my dad's mother knit for my mother in 1961. Still wear it!

    1. Oh Wendy - that is a family treasure to be handed down! Please make sure it is stored well.

  3. Spend the money it lasts or at least it use too!I have a bra on right now just like this from exercise class this morning!I love it too.I just wonder who the maker is if it's the same I will let you know!!!I have STUFF loads of stuff and I willnot be reading that book soon that tells us to part ways with our stuff!Thats just ME.I find comfort in things from the past!Rich fabrics and cozy pillows!Keep posting it will be fun to see what has made the Grade!!!

    1. Yes now it doesn't seem that spending money equals to things lasting though. I also find comfort in the items because it's a memory starter. fabrics only get better and better right? I say i am no minimalist but then I traveled in Japan for a week with one carry on!

  4. Hope you are feeling better. I'm a big fan of buying well and keeping for a long time too. xo

    1. Came downstairs today! odd being on one floor for two days but thank you. Yes I was never into disposable but there are items that i have bought and never used too unfortunately x

  5. Thank you for sharing your tried and true wardrobe staples, C!

    SSG xxx

  6. Your shoes look great! I developed "fat foot" let's just say after having only 2 kids. So I gifted my versions of your duck bill sling backs (as I called them) to my sis who has worn them to death. I made her send them to leather heaven by taking her to a store and buying her new shoes last year. You are quite right in saying they don't make things like they used to! Am also with you in buying fewer but better.
    I have my 3 winter coats from back in the day ( only needed them for about 3 months in Sydney's winter using public transport ), with the oldest being my opera length coat bought in 1996. In 1996 we bought navy ( spray?) jackets which are lined with navy striped fabric from Santorini which are hip enough for our 14 year old to wear today. They are really well made and have not dated ( unlike their owners)! Den x

    1. The funny thing is that I have my winter coats for ages and almost too well because sometimes you get an itch to shop right but I can't justify it because my coats are still in amazing condition!!! Navy fabric from Santorini sounds rather lush Den! x

  7. I am going through a period of really thinking about what I buy. I am buying less now. I have had a few pairs of shoes resoled recently and I felt good about that.

    1. Good to hear. Resoling shoes is really gratifying no? I have made the mistake where i left resoling too late and had to get rid. But I like being mindful with most things now too. x

  8. Love this post! I watched that doco two weeks ago, and found it all so though provoking. I also think a lot about the conditions workers work under/ environmental costs associated with building products. All the cheap marble stuff being made at the moment makes my skin crawl. It's everywhere, and is all coming out of chinese quarries with appalling working conditions and environmental cost.
    I have lots of things that are very old in my wardrobe. Some are in the same vein as your sports top - not expensive 'designer' things initially, but quality and worn to death. I've always spent a reasonable amount on shoes. I resole obsessively and rarely throw them out. Your Chanels are perfect. Not anything like you'd see today - where is the giant CC??!
    Hope you're feeling better soon xxx

    1. I had to take a days break and watched it in two halves. It encompassed so much. I do have another pair I'll show next time that has C's. Some didn't last because of moth but that was my fault. I tend to keep shoes a long time and believe in the cobblers talents. Good excuse to watch narcos in full!! Xxx

  9. I have to see The True Cost, I can't believe I haven't yet so thanks for the reminder. Thanks for reminding me too to have my Chanel flats re-soled. Mine are pale pink ballet flats very classic, I bought them on ebay a couple of years ago and they became more comfortable and are essential footwear for me now. I'll be passing the cobbler shop today so I'll throw my Chanel shoe bags in my bag before I go.
    Great idea for a series , I love it. I hope your cold is better that is the pits. Yes to vitamins, I started on extra vitamin d in September and I swear it's making a difference already.

    1. Oh Dani you just have to watch it! In fact it might be something to watch with the family even. It's so interesting and articulated what we were thinking in our heads. Resolving seems a lost art though and now with cheap shoes it can be more expensive to resolve than buy a new pair. Here's to a healthy winter x

  10. Hello Naomi, I hope you are feeling better again now. Chanel shoes are lovely - of course. I had a think in response to your question, and I am surprised by the answer, not what I would have imagined at all: I bought some Eskander (Old Lady/ textile lecturer cashmere knitwear brand at Liberty's, weirdly expensive though) when I was pregnant with my daughter and it is still in beautiful condition and very wearable today. My daughter is now 18!!! In general, I am quite ruthless at clearing stuff out as time
    passes. The only other stuff I have hung onto are my Hermes scarves which I started collecting as a student and still wear quite happily. ( Completely agree about the resoling of shoes. KG Shoes of Eversholt Street NW1 are the best menders I've found ).

    1. I must google that brand and see if it's still around. I did a big charity drop but still have stuff hanging about. They are useful or have great memories so I kept them BC eBay wouldn't remunerate me sufficiently. Watching Netflix in bed definitely helps - thanks Sue x

  11. So interesting! I will love reading this, but won't have much to add. Men's clothes and shoes are so much easier and generally easier to spot the quality. My clothes all stay in good shape forever because I expand and shrink out of them so frequently that few are worn more than ten times in five years.
    Haven't seen True Cost. Not sure I can handle another stirring documentary at the moment.

    1. If women had a tux equivalent then that would be the end of the industry. True cost is not something you can ignore after you watch it. But funny after that one I have had to take a break because too many documentaries makes one way too pensive and serious.

  12. Naomi I really want to watch this film. I love that you are showing what lasts.However, the things that cost a lot 10 or more years ago were made better than those that cost a lot today. I am confounded when I buy a nice bag and it lasts barely a year. I'll have to go through and see what I can share. Those Chanel flats are a classic and still lovely. xo

    1. Oh Kim I'm going to nag everyone to watch it. It's a very powerful film and it affects everybody regardless of geography. I look forward to seeing any tips from your wardrobe staple too xx

  13. I commend you on your philosophy of less but better quality. My parents instilled that in me as a child and I hope to preach that to my teenage daughter (yes, preach as I deliver an almost daily sermon to her about forgoing cheap trinkets and saving up for one good thing).

    When I got my first job in London back in the early 80's, and commuted for hours each day, I noticed that my handbags were suffering with all the bits and bobs that had to sustain me throughout my long work day (make up, hair brush, Sony Walkman and cassette tapes - remember those - books, walking shoes etc.). Anyway, I bit the bullet and purchased a staggeringly expensive LV Speedy bag from the Bond Street outlet. Back then, of course, they were not ubiquitous as they've become in recent years, and were few and far between. I still own that bag and it has proved an absolute workhorse. I just lament the fact that there are so many of them about nowadays (fakes too). One would dress up smartly and carry such a bag in those days, now of course, not so much. It was all part of a look.

    I love that you still own and enjoy your shoes and work out top. Sadly, as you note, the quality of everything has gone downhill rapidly. My friend just replaced her 12 year old tumble dryer last week as it clapped out and not worth the expense of repair - a dozen years it lasted - utterly shocking! Mine has been trotting along for at least 22 years.

    1. Oh I remember my Walkman with my own mix tapes! But isn't it interesting that your speedy is still going? And yes it's very popular but for a reason. It's so easy and my friends who have them love it. But I'll say that Louis Vuitton has changed quite noticeably. I have my mother's old lv bag she got in the 70's and the leather is thicker than it is now. I damaged it I. Storage but it still works. I bet you could get more for your bag now than you bought it for. People love vintage and authentic lv stuff.

  14. This is my attitude, I love keeping the clothes and shoes I love forever! Really, and it upsets me to no end when I see expensive clothing made in a shoddy manner!

    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Sandra Goroff

    1. Yes if clothes are made to be sold then shoddy is no excuse at any price level.

  15. Hope you're feeling better now Naomi!
    Haven't seen that doco - but it sounds v worthwhile. For a few years I developed and ran an environmental management system project for a government department - of course our focus was different: on office equipment and consumables, building fit-outs/conversions etc, but much of it applies to clothes and accessories too. As part of that we had to assess the true cost of things, cradle to grave - raw materials, manufacture, appropriate use through to ultimate environmentally sound re-use, recycling and disposal. We even factored in the costs and environmental impacts (eg greenhouse gases from fuel consumption) of transport from sources through to our location. It was a fascinating job and I learned a lot - I was a "generalist" not an environmental specialist when I started, there were few around back then, so I had to teach myself in the course of putting it together. But our department achieved certification to the international standard and maintained it. Many of these issues would be applicable to clothing purchases today.
    I tend to mix things up - buy the odd high quality items like Hermes scarves, good handbags etc but also lots of things from Op Shops that are really cheap - though many were clearly originally v good quality and have had the occasional lucky find there at or brocante markets. On impulse once bought a silk scarf with an ancient Egyptian design pattern for A$5 because I liked the colours. When I got home and looked at it properly, it was Hermes and in perfect condition - still had original folds and lovely hems. have also found vintage scarves by Jean Patou etc. Buying this way I always feel fine about giving back things I no longer want.
    Nowadays I wish I hadn't cleared so much out of my wardrobe over the years, eg had fabulous Mary Quant clothes and shoes/bags etc - all given away because I'm no longer the Twiggy I was back then. But if I'd kept them I could now have passed them on to beautiful grand-daughters. Still have what are now vintage handbags, silk scarves, pashminas etc. Also lovely things from my mother. There's a vintage Celine speedy bought in the Nice brocante. Beware of buying old bags, I say. In v good condition otherwise but has a musty smell inside. Of course the stallholder told me to put some lavender inside and it would be fine. It isn't really - though not as overpowering as at first. My grand-girls love my accessories so will keep a lot for them for when they get a bit older. Pammie xxx

    1. Yes thank you Pammie! That would have been such an interesting job - i recall that there are all sorts of permutations so glassed water is better than plastic but then transporting is heavier and not as carbon friendly etc etc. But I have to insist that you watch the film. It's not just about clothes really but just about our general wasteful manner. Yes I think buying at op shops are great though I don't always strike it so lucky but find it a nice way to give things a new home where it is better loved and used. I think as long as it functions well that it's a keeper but musty smells doesn't work so well! and unfortunately not much you can do as you can't even kill the mouldy smell in leather but Celine stuff is great - I have an old clutch my mother gave me and the inside is even better than the outside! xxx

  16. Well I'll be looking forward to seeing your gracefully ageing wardrobe going forward. Do you know I can't think of anything in my wardrobe that I still wear that is over 10 years old (let alone 20 years lol) however, 'still wear' being the key words. I have plenty of clothes that are over 10 years old which I do not wear and are just taking up space; i haven't faced getting rid of them. I even came across an old netball skirt the other day and I haven't played in over a decade. I tend to throw my shoes out though when I'm done with them but that might be because I never used to spend a lot on shoes. happy weekend and get well soon xx

    1. Mind you are are still young enough and I am showing my age now! xx

  17. Looking forward to the rest of this series. just fascinated, I don't think I have shoes from 1995 but I may have Brora cashmere jumpers. As you know I try to refresh the contents of my little wardrobe - but some things are classics. I have a Chanel jacket from 1999 or 2000 and jewellery of course. I ve got bags older than that, but they were bought second hand, so it doesn't count does it?

    1. Yes it does count! In fact my Asian side of me doesn't like used goods but my Western side love antiques! Better used than landfill right?


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