Month: February 2013

Boots to survive the Zombie Apocalypse

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We recently started watching the Walking Dead on AMC and I am beyond obsessed. The episodes are so scary that I have trouble sleeping at night, but it is beyond worth it. In addition, imagine my surprise to see one of the main characters wearing a fantastic pair of harness boots day in and day out.

I wrote about my Frye Harness boots last fall, and the trouble I had incorporating into my wardrobe, and I feel Lori’s character gives them a whole new twist with her grunge apocalypse style. I really like how Lori wears a pair of straight leg jeans and then rolls them above the boots.

I think I will give grunge apocalypse a shot this fall…hopefully with no actual zombies!

 

Coach Legacy Duffle

Coach Legacy Duffle

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This bag is a great example for me of “shopping your closet.” I purchased it about 2003 or 2004 at a Coach outlet while visiting my grandmother in South Carolina. At the time I spent what I considered a fortune on the bag, and when I brought it home I felt guilty about spending so much money on it. In addition, the bag couldn’t hold the (at the time) large camera that I carried around with me daily, so the bag was sadly folded away in the back of my closet where it stayed for the most part. Fast forward to this spring when I was sadly attending my grandmother’s funeral and this was the first bag I reached for since I had such warm memories of my many trips to visit her.

Ever since then this bag has been back in a frequent rotation. It is too small for a daily commuting bag, but PERFECT for a weekend bag. The best feature is the adjustable strap so I can wear it as an under the arm pocket-book, or extend the strap to wear as a cross body bag.  Here is the lovely Michelle Williams carrying a very similar vintage-looking bag.

It doesn’t look like Coach is still making this bag, but here are two similar bags: Legacy Leather Large Duffle and Coach Classic Leather Duffle.

What bags do you find when you “shop your closet”?

 

Serious Clog Action: No. 6 Clogs 5″ Leather Buckle Boot

No. 6 Clogs

Any longtime TBB readers know that I’ve been longing for a pair of No. 6 clog boots for going on over three years now, but I was struggling with a serious case of sticker shock. I came close to purchasing a pair last spring, but just couldn’t pull the trigger. But FINALLY they are mine! I discovered a used pair on EBay in my (rare) size, and after a last minute furious bidding war I won the auction, and the boots were on their way from Berkeley, CA to my apt in Brooklyn, NY. Stay tuned for a detailed review, cobbler feedback, and clog sizing info!

Shopping for Quality, Ethics, & Cost per Wear

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One of my 2013 resolutions was to buy less cheap/disposable “fast fashion”, and focus on classic, quality items that last forever, and preferably are either second-hand or made in the USA, or some form of non-sweatshop labor. I started thinking about  this after reading about a number of horrific sweatshop fire related deaths in Bangladesh, and reflecting on how my shopping purchases could be contributing to the problem.

I could help (ever so slightly) by changing my fashion consumption in this case,  by thinking of my clothes and purchases in quality/ethics/cost per wear mode, instead of lots of cheap/disposable clothes that were most likely made in a sweatshop and would be thrown into a landfill in a year or so. Plus I like the idea of purchasing things made in the USA and supporting American workers, and the return of manufacturing in general to America.

Once I started going through my closet I was happy to discover that many of my favorite items are already made in the USA, such as most of my designer denim, which I also usually purchase second-hand as well, so double bonus! For new brands though, I discovered pretty quickly it is harder that I thought to find out who manufactures in the USA and who does not. Some companies hide this info on their website and you have to call and give an item number, or the only way to find out is to find the actual item in the store and check the label.

James Perse & Splendid are two brands I have already been buying and am (for the most part) happy with the quality. They are mostly made domestically, but you do have to check the labels since some are made in China. I shop the contemporary section of TJMaxx for both and usually have good luck finding pieces for about $20-$40.

American Apparel: I love the “basics are hip” vibe, and the comfy clothes also with a mission statement that I am totally on board with. However the sketchy/racy ads are a bit much for me, and make me feel a little skeevy. Plus the quality seems to have gone down the past couple years. I’ve bought some pieces recently where the zipper broke after a wash, or the stitching was ripping out after one or two wears. I think AA will be my place for  basics, such as tank tops and socks, but I’m not in any hurry to try any of the more expensive items.

Everlane: I haven’t tried Everlane yet, but think they will be next on my list. I don’t think they make all their products in the USA, but all seems to be ethically sourced and well thought out, which is good enough for me. I think I will look into a silk blouse and cashmere cardigan to wear to work, and a classic t-shirt and men’s french terry for the weekend. I recently read Gretchen’s Everlane review for the classic t-shirts and she was happy with the quality (and spot on with her previous post about quality and expectations). I’ve seen similar good review on Everlane from Cup of Jo, and Les Anti-Modernes.

LLBean: Although the Bean has been outsourcing much of their manufacturing they do have a whole “Made in the USA” section which is worth exploring. Happy to see my beloved Boat & Tote made the list!

What Made in the USA brands do you like? How to decide between quantity/quality? Does the type of labor that went into creating your clothes ever factor into purchasing decisions?

New Winter Jacket: Eddie Bauer Stadium Coat

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Outfit
Jacket: WeatherEdge® Superior Down Stadium Coat by Eddie Bauer
Boots: Frye – old (similar here)
Jeans: J Brand – old (similar here)
Sunglasses: Cheap pair I bought at a Brooklyn Post Office (!) but someday when they break I am going to replace them with these.
Hat: Uniqlo Heatteach (Men’s)

Ever since the temperatures dropped here in NYC (and let’s face it, even before then) I’ve been dreaming of a new winter parka that would work for both cold and wet weather. I have a great puffy coat from Soia & Kyo, (wearing in this post) but it is really only for cold/dry weather, since the nylon is instantly soaked in the rain and it doesn’t have a hood. I also have some great rain coats, but can only wear them in the spring/fall since they aren’t warm enough for winter. What I needed was a jacket that could combine the best of both.

After much searching of parkas high and low I finally stumbles across the WeatherEdge® Superior Down Stadium Coat from Eddie Bauer. Once the decision was made that this parka was *the one* my boyfriend was kind enough to step in and buy for me as an early birthday present. Very generous since my birthday isn’t until March!

I’ve been wearing the jacket for about a week now in all kinds of weather and so far I’m really happy with it. I love the big giant hood, and the faux fur looks so real I joke that it confuses my cats. Pockets are giant and well placed, and the zipper is a good quality. The most interesting thing about the coat is how the color changes depending on what kind of light I am in. It is officially called “Coffee” but with indoor lighting the coat looks army green, outdoors it looks like a brown/taupe. I really wanted an army green parka, but I am actually enjoying the color change since it is fun to check the different colors in all the places I go.

Only a few complaints, first I do wish there were some side “hand warmer” pockets included in the patch pockets. On really cold days I feel that wind tends to blow upwards inside the coat, but I think if I adjust the side tabs that will fix the problem. I could also use an extra inch on the sleeves, but I do like the rest of the fit, so I am glad I didn’t size up from my Small.

Other than that I love this coat and plan to wear it for years to come.

(The runner up to this coat was the Acadia Down Coat from L.L. Bean which also made Kim France’s list of non-awful parkas.)