Levi’s Wedgie Icon jeans | Made in China with American Cone Denim
r13 sweater (sold out) | purchased on sale with credits via Garmentory >
(when you use my referral link and sign up you’ll get a $20 account credit and so will I)
Vince platform oxfords | I sized down a full size
Rag & Bone nylon backpack
I am not immune. I still succumb to the call of beautiful shoes and cozy on-sale sweaters, in spite of their questionable origins and ethical credentials. To be frank, I am a little embarrassed by this, and almost decided not to share this outfit with you, and keep these purchases from you, but I couldn’t do that. First, because I LOVE THESE SHOES, and if you do too, I would highly recommend them. And Second, because you are my community, my people, and I share everything with you, even the mistakes and the purchases I regret. Of which there have been many over the years.
As of yet, I don’t regret purchasing these shoes. Yes, they are sheepskin. And after my going on and on about not buying UGGs anymore, or a real sheepskin rug for my office, I feel a bit hypocritical. No, a lot hypocritical. But who among us isn’t from time to time? None of us are perfect. Me, least of all. And ask my husband how hypocritical I am.
I can’t say that if I’d seen these online first and known they were sheepskin I’d have decided not to buy them, but as it happened, they were an impulse in-person buy and I didn’t know what they were made of at the time I became too emotionally invested to let them stay in the store. All this aside from the fact that since the beginning of the year, I’d resolved not to buy “new” leather – only secondhand. Strike two.
But as I posted on instagram, I don’t believe in perfection; only in better. 90% of the time, I try and succeed to make better, more responsible, more ethical, purchasing decisions. The rest of the time, I accept the consequences of my decisions, resolve to do better going forward, and move on. Life is much too short to continuously beat myself up for not being perfect, something none of us can be anyway. As Stacy has also resolved to do this year, “give yourself grace,” and then move forward.
So, I posted this outfit on Instagram, admitting, shocker, that I am not perfect, and decided also to out myself here, to you.
Anyway, I don’t read blogs or look at Instagrams where the authors only post about the “good” stuff, the “pretty” stuff, and the stuff that fits neatly into their little branding package. How boring. Life is none of those things all of the time.
So, lest you think for a second that I am perfect and I have everything figured out, here is evidence to the contrary. Enjoy 🙂
Oh, I almost forgot : if you buy these shoes, BEFORE YOU WEAR THEM, treat them with something, seal them, whatever. As I bought them, the guy was like, “I would take these immediately to Deno’s and get them treated.” And I was all, “oh, yeah, of course,” nodding my head in agreement. And what did I do?? Wore them the next day without spraying them. The day after that I took them to Deno’s and my shoe lady was like, I have to clean these first before we spray and seal them, or else the marks (that I got on them only wearing them ONE TIME) will be permanent. ugh. So, now I’m waiting for her to clean and treat my shoes before I can wear them again.
On that same note, I’m always so heartened at the long lines at the shoe repair place whenever I go; people are taking care of their shoes, getting new soles, and keeping them in excellent condition for years, which is a wonderful thing to see.
I think this underscores that these materials are popular for a reason – their durability, breathability, looks, etc. and we need to work towards both building up businesses that produce them sustainability and ethically, as well as perhaps regulations on their production and importation. I think it would be awesome to be able to go to any store and not have to worry about how the products for sale were made. That at the bare minimum there were standards on how the environment, animals, and people involved in production were treated.
I mean I’ve been writing about sustainable food for over a decade now and have a University degree in sustainable food production, and there are times I go to restaurants and stores and end up eating things where I’m not exactly sure how they were produced. If even the most informed consumer has trouble with this stuff, I think it just shows it’s the system that needs to change.
Grechen Reiter says
yes. thank you for this. of course i agree.
leather IS durable, and can last if it’s well taken care of, and it FEELS good to wear, I’ll be honest. I do just wish I could be sure that the animals who died for my shoes were treated with some “respect” and killed humanely. And that no part of their body went to waste. Something which is nearly impossible to know…
i can imagine it’s even more difficult with food – that’s something i’m really concerned about too. do you have a blog? or writings anywhere? I’d love to read more from you!! besides comments here I mean, which I also love 🙂
Yes! I’m trying as much as possible so seek out thrifted or used options for the clothing I want. However I need new underwear and that’s not really an option. I also seem to make an exception for new Elizabeth Suzann items (for better or worse – in my defense I do have two ES items from eBay).
Also trying to really make myself decide how badly do I need or want something before buying.
I also think about the provenance and sustainability of food as well. I’m fairly consistent about only eating meat at restaurants whose sourcing I feel good about. But at the grocery store I might choose the inorganic or less sustainable items due to availability or cost.
With both subjects there are so many factors to take into consideration. Is it enough to be doing the best we can at a given moment?
I heard Graham Hill speak at a TedX conference about consuming less not zero. He spoke about how he eats less meat and quantified the environmental and health impact of eating a few times a week vs. every day. Of course someone has different motivations for not eating meat will disagree with his most of the time message but I took away that it is important that we do not approach every issue with an all or nothing approach. Natural materials can breathe and last longer than synthetics. Our country’s excessive consumption and throwaway habits are the bigger issue IMO. I am looking forward to being back in a city with a skilled cobbler! Not only to repair but also to prevent wear and tear at the beginning of a shoe’s life. I still have kitten heels from a decade ago from Prada because I added rubber bottoms when new and regularly change out worn down tips. Each time you post those Levi’s, I am tempted to order a pair.
Grechen Reiter says
so true – i was just
lecturingtalking to my husband about “life isn’t about all or nothing” 😉
i definitely practice moderation when it comes to my eating/diet and that is what’s kept my weight off for almost 5 years.
i’ve never done preventative maintenance on my shoes before, but definitely with i had with my light taupe diepa restrepo loafers – they can’t be cleaned and they are looking rather ragged lately.
a note on the jeans: they’re growing on me, but i can only wear them on days i don’t feel the least bit bloated because they’re still pretty tight. i wish they were 100% cotton so they’d loosen up a little, but the 1% stretch in there keeps them from doing that. it’s weird. when i’m not bloated, they feel great on, and i do love the way they look on me. just FYI 😉
I do appreciate your honesty and I’ve been really trying to purchase items that are sustainable and cruelty free. Clothing and food. I’ve been organic and GMO free as much as possible for years now. I can easily pass on an item but I haven’t been as tempted as you were with the oxfords. Even with make up I check to see where it is made and pass on countries I know are not cruelty free.
One of my old bosses had this quote on her desk-
“We are much more human than anything else.” -Anonymous This quote has stayed with me over the years because of its simple truth. So when I am tempted or do eat or purchase an item of clothing that is questionable, I think of this quote. Now I’m telling you, enjoy your purchases. I love the cozy sweater!
Soooo…….wear these jeans on non-bloated days and your others on bloated days? Your clothes will last much longer that otherwise, even taking into consideration that you are wearing them less. Clothes need to be aired out in-between wearings. It really makes a difference IMO.
Grechen Reiter says
yes, of course. my clothes get a LOT of airing out LOL – since i have so much and nowhere to go 😉
unless i get in that mood where i just put on the same thing every day. but that’s rare.
I feel like I have a pile of biggest, medium and smallest that I switch around all the time. Women and their waists!
Just to clarify, with certain notable exceptions, including certain furs, and anything with contagious diseases, anything made from meat animals in western countries will normally be fully used. You can’t just throw animal by-products into the local land-fill, for both cost and health and safety reasons, so if at all possible, all is used, one way or the other (bone meal, pet food, etc.) Economics of various parts depend on relative markets (meats vs. hides for example) which varies hugely over time.
You look delighted in the picture. Maybe that should be enough sometime.
I love the way white shoes look on other people. I sadly discovered that white shoes make my already big feet look enormous. Love the thing on “better” not perfect!
Grechen Reiter says
yes, i think it should be. thank you eliza !
Grechen Reiter says
my feet are moderately sized, and my legs are so short, i think the white shoes, especially with a platform and slightly rounded toe, work well together to give me a little oomph 🙂 which i love …
Grechen Reiter says
i do think it’s enough to do the best we can as often as we can, and given our situations. honestly, at least THINKING About doing better, is a lot more than a lot of people do, or can do, so it’s a big step in the right direction.
I really appreciate your comment, Tania, about not having an “all or nothing” approach to issues of consumerism, whether it be shopping, eating, or anything. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about non-dual thinking, and it’s challenging!
To be honest with you, Grechen, I’m really glad that you were so upfront about the material content of these shoes. Sometimes it can feel like everyone on social media is doing so well with eating the “right” things (chia pudding, ethically sourced acai 😉 ) buying only from the “sustainable” indie shop (cue man-bun and natural deodorant), working out daily because they love it (I don’t!), or making their own “whatever”…and I’m not! It can be really depressing to check out Instagram or blogs only to feel that you just don’t measure up or that it’s just so “effortless” for them…but not for you.
I read your blog because you inspire me to do better. I read it because you’re “real” and don’t have Instabrows or a contoured face. I read you because I LOVE your style. When it boils right down to it, that’s the biggest reason. I’m glad that I don’t have to be “perfect” or doing everything right in order to be a faithful reader of your blog. Thanks for that. And for personal integrity.
OMG those shoes are EVERYTHING! I haven’t seen them in person, but I think I would totally want to buy them as well if I did. Please don’t worry about your purchase. Like you said, we can’t do everything perfectly all the time. When it comes to my diet and eating healthy, my doctor encourages me to focus on the 80/20 rule. Eat sensibly 80% of the time, and the other 20%, give yourself the grace to enjoy some not-so-sensible things. Balance is key, and treating yourself on occasion makes it easier to stay the course the rest of the time. Your awesome shoes are my red velvet bundtlet cake!
Christine M says
Grechen have you considered getting your loafers dyed? I know you probably love them for their color, but maybe you’ll still love them if they’re darker. Maybe a nice medium gray? Hides the dirt better 😉
Grechen Reiter says
yes, but maybe i’ll wait until i get them REALLY Dirty lol
the color is actually a really nice cream – so not BRIGHT WHITE, which would annoy me, but a more subtle white. still white 😉