Shopping Reflections – 1st Edition

Promised a long time ago, here are few thoughts regarding what I’ve bought in past few months. For over a month, I managed to not think about style and fashion at all which felt really good as I didn’t want anything and therefore didn’t shop. I was content with my wardrobe and how it worked – when preparing for a week-long vacation in Spain, packing stuff took me just about half an hour. However, this ideal state was ended by a trip to Primark (I know, I know) as my boyfriend needed some summer shorts and looking for them in our country hadn’t yield successful results. I went there with him, saw they had nice underwear of good price that was almost impossible to find at home (the horrible quality and pricing of stuff here will be discussed in some of the next posts), things were adding up in my basket… and the rest of story is something I’m definitely not proud of.

(Of course, he bought just what he intended to buy and is totally content with it. One day, I’ll master this skill, too.)

The underwear was much needed so I have no conflicting feelings about it which unfortunately doesn’t apply to the rest of my splurge – a summer LBD and a minimalistic rectangular black purse (it isn’t showed in the photos as I forgot about it and don’t want to photograph it again, so please pardon my laziness). It won’t be problem to sell them or to wear them primarily (I did wear the LBD during the vacation a lot) but they weren’t something I needed – I just fell victim to ridiculously low prices, not paying attention to the ethic aspect of them or to the fact their quality corresponds to the price.

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Self-shaming aside, let’s have a look at the stuff themselves:

1) Two a-line skirts from H&M. They nicely fit and look like I put some effort in my image but I’m not overdoing it at the same time.

2) A navy blazer, bought second-hand – unfortunately pills a little. Except for that, it’s a super comfortable and smart-casual option what to throw on when the weather is chilly (though more on the casual side of the continuum, I guess).

3) A perfect white T from Marks&Spencer. Seriously, it is so far. I didn’t think I’d find that so soon. The cotton has ideal weight, it’s soft, breathable and very nicely cut. (In our country, M&S is one of the few stores where you can find decent clothes that hold up for more than two washes, though you have to choose there carefully, too. However, it’s a brand that can be too expensive for many people here. Yes, even M&S.)

4) The mentioned LBD with crochet in the front. Looks nice but the fabric is quite bad so there may be some pilling after the next wash, I guess.

Turns out I opted for neutral palette though I didn’t plan it and wanted to introduce more colour in my wardrobe.

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Shoes and bags –

  1. Black leather loafers – super soft and comfortable, could walk in them for hours. Good rubber sole so you don’t feel every tiny stone you step in. I bought them by heart as at a certain point, I got sick of overthinking my purchases, choosing the stuff for so long and then maybe buying them actually… I was tired of browsing through second-hand sites and wanted something new. (Which is why I bought some of the stuff above, too. Most of my adult wardrobe is second-hand.) Too bad I bought them true to my size and didn’t realize that leather stretches over time. Also, the problem I had with ballerinas applies here, too – I have tiny feet, too narrow for this kind of shoes. I put insoles in them and will wear them until they become too big or unwearable – then I’ll figure out what next. It’s a good reminder of the fact that some physical dispositions don’t really change over time and I should be aware of them.
  2. Leather orthopaedic sandals – bought at pharmacy, the best ones I’ve had so far. They survive a lot of standing and walking, including various terrains and conditions from almost boiling beach sand to stony road – not a scratch on the leather. The straps are soft but firm. They’re made in the Czech Republic and the only item here I’m 100% sure it’s ethically made.
  3. Dark brown leather satchel – bought in Spain last week, perhaps the most beautiful bag I own. While wandering through the streets of Alicante, we stumbled upon few stands that sold leather goods. They smelled nicely and the stuff were mostly of much better quality and sewing. I felt immediately in love with them. You simply can’t find anything like this in the Czech Rep – the only leather goods you can buy here, except for one store that specializes in jackets, is that from fast fashion chains. My man persuaded me I could use some nice, well-made bag (see? He’s persuading me to buy stuff) and I should consider buying it there as the options in our country are almost non-existent. So I went ahead and during a nice and friendly conversation with the seller opted for this one. I thought it’s a local product but unfortunately it’s imported from Morocco. Which made me thinking about the ethics. According to Google, some leather tanneries there seem to stay the same as a few hundred years ago which gives me hope about not using the nasty chemicals that do harm to environment but as the origin of this bag is hard to find since it was bought on the street stand, I can never be sure. *sigh* Hope it lasts long at least, the second strap isn’t so thick when examining it closer.
  4. A tiny purse from Mango, bought second-hand. There’s nothing more to say, it works fine with my wardrobe and is good for groceries or going out. I won’t be too sensitive if it gets damaged.

The biggest problem of mine seems to be to shop more ethically. My heart bleeds every time I see how miserable are conditions of the workers in the Third World but when I shop, it’s surprisingly easy to close my eyes and not think about it. The fact that shopping possibilities here are so limited and that I need to stick to student budget makes it even easier. Because who can afford to pay shipping of ethical brands that costs more than the garment itself (being expensive enough alone)? Surely not the majority of Middle Europe where I belong. The solution could be in second-hand shopping or very rigours choice of what to buy but as I’ve said before, one becomes fed up with overcontrolling oneself and that she or he never gets anything new.

Do you have some experience with similar situation? What would you do?

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2 thoughts on “Shopping Reflections – 1st Edition

  1. Those bags look beautiful. Esply, the saddle. I have been using mine for 8 years now and I never get tired of it.

    I get tempted by so many things in Zara. I have purchased something and returned it this year out of guilt. Always a work in progress. Hope you dont beat yourself about it.

    I never realized how hard it is to have access to brands outside America. Thank you for the reminder.

    Like

    1. I hope that bag lasts few years, too. I love the smell of well made leather so I keep wearing it a lot these days.

      Thank you. I know returning purchases well, too. I need to figure out what makes me vulnerable for impulsive shopping so I can avoid it next time.

      Like

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