The List

It has taken me some time to take stock. I know, doing things slowly is the antithesis of this day and age where everything moves at incredibly high speeds. But I have been making a conscious effort to live a more mindful life and that does include stopping to smell the roses, or should I say, taking my own sweet time.

I had a really close and honest look at my wardrobe over the last 3 months (where has that time gone?!?), and came up with a surprisingly small list of items that need replacing. Some fall into the category of “urgent” replacement, while others can perhaps take on one last season – if I’m being really frugal about it. I also listed a couple of things that I don’t currently have but could do with.

boots

The list came up as follows:

  • Everyday tights – urgent 
  • Boots – urgent 
  • Knee-length coat – not urgent
  • Dress – not urgent
  • Wool sweater/Cardigan – wants, not needs 
  • Merino wool leggings – wants, not needs

Everyday tights – I wore all my tights to death last year so now I need to buy at least two new pairs. I found a New Zealand made option for merino tights, but for organic cotton, I will probably go with these.

Boots – well, the ones in the picture have really reached the end of the line but I’m convinced that I will be just fine this Winter without a new pair. The thing is, I won’t buy footwear in New Zealand, and I don’t want to order online – we’re too far away from everywhere for free returns, and without those, there’s nothing to mitigate the risk of wrong sizing. I want to buy these boots in Portugal, as I do all my footwear. Since I am not travelling there until after the Winter here is over, I will have to make do with what I have (ankle boots, city gumboots and my winter oxfords).

Knee-length coat – I’ve spoken about this one here. Below is the 7 year old warmest coat/parka in my wardrobe. Not trendy or fancy but it has served me well through many cold Austrian, Belgian, Czech, English, Portuguese, and New Zealand Winters. Now that I look at it for the first time in several months, it doesn’t look too bad. I think it will make it through another Winter.

coat

Dress – my trusty, all seasons, all occasions, 4+ yo knitted dress from Mango (here and here) is too worn out to resist another season so, sadly, I have to retire it. I had been at a loss for a few weeks: People Tree had some very good options, as did Kowtow, but none felt particularly right. The search ended last weekend when I came across a navy blue, polka dot dress, also from Mango, hidden amongst dozens of other dresses in a second hand shop. It was my size and my preferred fit by my favourite brand, which doesn’t have shops in NZ. It was exactly what I was looking for. I’m happy with my first purchase of the year!

Wool sweater or cardigan and merino wool leggings – these two items wouldn’t really be replacing anything at the moment so fall into the the category of things that I think I could do with. They are currently more wants than needs. 


I focused this exercise on my Autumn/Winter wardrobe as the cool seasons are around the corner – yesterday I had to wear an extra layer for the first time this year – Autumn is here!

However, I have also been keeping a record on the clothes I have been wearing in the last five or six months – like the cardigan in the picture below, which I love but is looking a bit rough. I plan to revisit those notes later in the year when Spring arrives and warm weather returns. Until then, I plan to stick to the list!

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Those of you having close looks at your wardrobe needs, how’s it going? And do you also feel like taking life in general at a slower pace?


NZ Brand Crush {kowtow}

I’ve found it quite difficult to find good quality clothing in New Zealand that is also affordable. Most kiwi brands I know of appear to have good quality garments, but the price-tag is way above what I consider reasonable.

So, when I started looking into kowtow after hearing about it on instagram the other day, I expected nothing other than that.

Boy, was I surprised! Not only was I impressed with their ethical approach to clothes-making, but very surprised with their mid-range, not-over-the-top prices.

And wasn’t this a timely find! I had been looking for a cardigan to replace an old one on its way out, and this one was just the thing I was waiting for!

I’m sure there’s no such thing as a limit to how many striped tops a person can have…

Simple chic

On Shoes

Growing up in Portugal, I’ve never even considered buying shoes anywhere else. Every town, no matter how small, will have at least one shoe shop where you can find a good pair of, often locally made, shoes at very affordable prices.

Your mum buys your shoes from there when you’re a kid, and you buy your shoes from there when you grow up. Often, these places sell shoes that are produced in-house by generation after generation of shoe-makers, so you’re supporting the local economy and specialised trade in all its glory.

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Those three on the left? Yup, all bought/made in Portugal…

But not all shoes made or found in Portugal are of excellent quality and you learn to tell the difference. The fact is, in recent decades, only a handful of Portuguese shoe factories still produce the good stuff for the internal customer. For most, the best goes overseas while a lower quality shoe is sold internally. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad. They’re just not the best.

While I will still purchase some of the lower quality stuff in one of those small town shoe shops (because really, they’re better than some of the best stuff available in Auckland), I always like to know where to find the best Portuguese-made shoes, just in case I feel like getting an investment pair.

And, in Lisbon, you’ll find some of the best in this cute, little shoe shop right in the centre of town – Sapataria do Carmo.

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My lovely cousin Marina captured this one

After following them on every possible social media platform like an absolute fan-girl, I couldn’t wait to check them out in person. I knew they stocked some of the best Portuguese shoe brands and I very much wanted to invest in a pair of those shoes. The hubby was also very keen to check out their stock for men.

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We weren’t disappointed. The shop is a cute little gem but it’s filled with plenty of desirable options. Monk shoes, oxfords, derby shoes, moccasins, loafers, ballet flats, tassels, no tassels, ankle boots…You name it, they have it. And if they don’t have your size or the colour you like in-store, well, worry not – they will have it made for you!

After our experiences shoe-shopping in Auckland (a story for another day maybe?), we felt spoiled. Honestly, the hard part was to choose the pair to bring home!

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We spent a lovely couple of afternoons there (yes, we went twice in two days, that’s how much we liked it), chatting away to the lovely couple who now owns the shop and has carried this lovely place into the XXIst century. Alexandra and Joao Pedro were absolutely patient with us, all our questions and indecision. No wonder they have the best reviews on TripAdvisor!

We left with one pair for me, two pairs for the hubby and a promise to come back next time we’re in Portugal, which we know we will keep – we know a good pair of Portuguese-made shoes is worth the wait!

Transitional Pieces

Spring is around the corner for us down-under but there’s still a chill in the air. These two pieces are currently in the top of my transitional pieces’ list. I’ve come across the monk shoes through my hubby’s shoe research and have really taken to them. Apparently, they’re somewhere between an oxford and a derby when it comes to formality. Oh, the things that are there to learn about men’s shoes! I had no idea but am glad they’re making those for women too. 

Transitional Pieces - Wishlist

Don’t get me wrong – just because these are for the transitional seasons, I by no means wish them to be short-lived. By picking pieces that have a certain classical element to them and are of good quality, I make sure they will be wearable in many transitional seasons ahead.

Yeah, when it comes to my wardrobe, I think that far ahead. The thing is, when you shop strategically and about once or twice a year, you find yourself having to do a stock take of your current wardrobe with two or three seasons ahead in mind.

My next opportunity to shop is coming up fast. Knowing that, after my September trip, I probably won’t be going to Europe until next year, is forcing me to consider not just the upcoming Summer but also the Autumn and Winter after that. Will I really need a pair of boots during the kiwi Summer? Not really. But I know I will need a pair in 10 months’ time so now is the time for me to think about it. 

Did you ever think of your wardrobe management in that way? What are your current transitional season crushes? 

Walk the Walk?

H&M is launching its Conscious Exclusive collection today. The Conscious and Conscious Exclusive collections are part of  H&M’s attempts at creating a sustainable fast-fashion (and fashion in general). 

I am curious to see if it’s possible to balance such opposing concepts but the folks at the Swedish multinational have already started to take several steps towards balancing its social and environmental impacts. It looks promising but I’ll reserve my right to further praise until we start seeing outcomes. 

The collection itself is made up of pieces that create a beautiful mix of textures and fabrics (organic and recycled). Inspired by Flamenco, the collection features garments with intricate designs of brocades and lace. In order to keep it from becoming too heavy, balance was created by introducing silk and flowy pieces.

If all that H&M is claiming to do to promote fashion sustainability and mindful consumerism is true, then I wouldn’t feel too guilty about picking up the pieces below!

 

H&M Conscious Exclusive: My picks
What do you think? A marketing campaign that makes good use of the trending shift towards mindful consumerism, or a sincere step towards achieving real sustainability in fashion?
Thanks for reading!

Brand Focus: Cuyana (part II)

It’s about time I shared part II of my Cuyana list, as promised. Mornings and evenings have started getting a bit chillier in Auckland this week. I could really do with, well, all of the below? OK, maybe not the infinity scarf yet. It’s only just the start of Autumn and days are still sunny and warm.

How is it going around your neck of the woods? Starting to enjoy Spring? Or also a warm end of Summer? 

Wool goods
Thanks for reading!