Josefinas {Ballet Flats}

josefinas

Back in September 2013, my sister introduced me to Josefinas. Since then, these cute handmade ballet flats have been on my wish-list and an endless source of inspiration for my Polyvore style sets.

I wasn’t planning to get a pair until my other ballet flats were on their way out but fast-forward a little bit over a year and a pretty black and blush shoebox arrived – a birthday present from my husband.

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I wanted to wear them for a while before making any comments. Now that I’ve done so, here’s what I’ve found.

  1. The leather is extremely soft and comfortable – I thought it would be harder and take some time to adapt to my feet but no, the expression fits like a glove comes to mind.
  2. They are surprisingly warm. Part of collection nº7, Goa is a shoe designed for cooler days, with reinforced inner leather. I could really tell the difference, these last few weeks, between the times when it was hotter and when it was cooler.
  3. They move well from casual weekend to work days (see gallery below for examples).
  4. I am generally a size 37.5 in Europe but they only make full sizes so these are a 38. I have found that to be no problem  but if I was to buy some from collection nº1, I’d probably buy size 37 as they only have one layer of leather.
  5. Beware of pointy metal edges (e.g., chair or table legs). I can’t keep still even when I’m sitting so I have learned that it is best not to push/brush/kick my Josefinas against legs of tables or chairs, especially metal ones. The softness of the leather does mean it is more delicate than other leather or synthetic materials.

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I walk a lot – to work, to the supermarket, everywhere I can, really. A good walking shoe is essential to my lifestyle. You will never catch me walking to work in running shoes, but all my shoes must have that good-for-walking quality. These haven’t disappointed. They are surprisingly sturdy.

I do have to look into ways to preserve them well, as I walk so much. I am thinking about paying a visit to my favourite cobbler one of these days to see what advice he has.

I do also wonder how they’ll perform on a rainy day and what extra care I can give them to keep them looking great for long. What do you do to preserve and extend the life of your leather shoes?


 


 

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?


The Mindless Consumer

I can get really excited about things. If I see something I really like my mind goes like “oh, I Want It! I Want It! I Want It!”. This urge to own stuff makes me anxious and is one of the reasons why I started the journey to become a mindful consumer. But the anecdote I am about to share in this post really goes to show that being a mindful consumer is the journey, not the end of the story.

Last Sunday morning, I was spending some quality time on Polyvore, styling the new Popbasic collection*, when I noticed that all of the outfits that I put together were Winter-focused.

Despite the glorious Summer outside, it made me think about my Winter wardrobe – starting with coats. I proceeded to spend a substantial amount of time looking at the coat collections from some of my go-to places (Mango, Zara, Massimo Dutti) and some new finds (like the one below found at ALAND).

After a while I realised two things:

  1. oversized coats are still in, particularly in ovoid shapes (when you don’t follow trends closely, spotting trends is a really surprising game);
  2. I would like the one in this board, thank you very much. And while we’re on it, those ankle boots too, s’il vous plait.
Winter Coat

After over an hour looking at coats from various European (and Korean) places, wishing I had more options in New Zealand, I started to seriously plot ways to purchase the coat I wanted. When it got to the point where a shopping trip to Europe started to sound like a reasonable thing to do, that’s when it hit me – I was having a serious attack of mindless consumerism.

Time to pull out that guide on how to curb my enthusiasm and snap myself back to a more reasonable ground.

Looking at the guide, I can see I won’t get past the first hurdle. While one of my coats does need replacement, I definitely do not need it now. In fact, thinking about it, it is a coat for a much cooler weather and from my experience of the last 2 Winters in Auckland, I didn’t really need it that often. It is possible that I can make it through next Winter without it.

Time to get my brain to accept the reality: no trip to Europe and no ovoid oversized coat for now.

On the plus side, catching myself being mindless does motivate me to think a bit further about my real wardrobe needs.

I will leave that to a later post, but tell me, what are some of your current wardrobe desires? And how do you deal with that “Must. Buy. Now” feeling?

* Please note this is a referral link. I decided to use it on this post as a way of supporting a small business and a young entrepreneur that I admire. I trust my readers are able to make their own consumer decisions. For more information on Pobasic’s referral program see here. You can also read my disclosure policy here