Shoes for Life - Why should we stop and think befor we buy shoes EthicalSustainable Fashion & how to get more wear from buying less #30 wears slow fashion

You’re probably wondering what I’m on about – Shoes for life, what’s she on about? Don’t worry I’m not trying to get you to donate to a shoe charity or anything like that.
I just wanted to talk to you about a problem we have called FAST FASHION. It’s a relatively new issue & phrase come to think of it. Although I’m certain you’ve all heard it by now.
Basically we buy too much. We’re demanding more cheap stuff to buy every season keeping an estimated 40 million workers in appalling conditions on pathetically low pay. Moreover, disposable fashion directly encourages child labour. I realise this is such an unpalatable thought it beggars belief, however that doesn’t make it any less true. And yes brands do actually lie about it!
Additionally there is enormous harm perpetrated to our environment which comes not only from the factory waste but also directly from the consumers themselves.
Being cheap these garments tend to fall apart pretty quickly & wash badly rendering much of it to landfill & not charity shops as people like to think. Not limited to clothing & textiles sadly the same can be said for shoes, handbags & accessories.
Only recently a friend pointed out her new season Matalan sandals were looking worse for wear. “Oh well they were cheap” Isn’t really a clever concept economically let alone environmentally. It just doesn’t cut it any more & this cavalier attitude to throwing away something that’s literally weeks old is hurting our planet – Badly.
Looking around our lovely leafy neighbourhood it’s easy to be fooled into thinking there isn’t a massive issue. Just because the garbage man comes every week to cart away our waste doesn’t mean it disappears from the Planet does it?
So what can we do as consumers?
That’s easy – STOP & THINK before we buy.
Remove the “impulse” from impulse shopping by planning what you’d like to have in your wardrobe. When I started buying my own clothes as a teenager I did exactly that because I literally had no other choice. My paycheck was far too small to be wasted & I certainly didn’t have a credit card so everything was meticulously thought through. I had to ensure everything I bought could be worn with most of what I already owned. Crucially the item had to suit several occasions or be adaptable to change.
This way of thinking unwittingly furnished me with many wardrobe staples that I still own & most importantly, wear to this day.
Who cares if you wear the same dress to two different weddings? Try changing shoes & accessories as I demonstrated here. Trust me, nobody will notice or indeed care. I’m not suggesting for a moment you should take the joy out of fashion either. Working out what items you need to give your wardrobe cohesion & a lifetime of outfits is terrific fun!
Not only that, coveting the more expensive items gives them true meaning when you do eventually make that dream purchase.

I love the #30wears campaign Livia Firth started last year. Stemming from The Green Carpet Challenge where Livia dresses only in ethical/sustainable clothing on every red carpet throughout her husbands award season. You can read more about that in Vogue where she documented each event.
Inspired, many designers such as Sergio Rossi, Chopard & Erdem have begun to take up the challenge to create Green Collections.
However it isn’t only high-end Houses taking responsiblity for making a change. Big businesses such as Marks & Spencer with Plan A & Kering are also working hard to give us sustainable fashion.
Still not convinced? Please take a moment to view this trailer…

Now back to my shoes for life

This pair of Prada sandals is the perfect example of what I’m rabbiting on about. I bought them 17 years ago at a Prada store in Italy & as I stated on Instagram, I have long since forgotten the price. They were clearly rather expensive though, as you can see the detail & superior quality has remained in tact. Yes I do take care of my shoes (read this post for how) although I’m certainly not so precious that I won’t wear them. These shoes have seen a lot (A LOT PEOPLE) of action over the years, actually I wore them with this dress many times.
When I’m contemplating my next shoe purchase here’s how it will play in my head.
1. What will they work with? Is the colour right for my collection?
2. Do I already have a similar pair? Am I doubling up on this colour/style?
3. Are they comfortable? Sturdy/well made, come with spare heels?
4. Is the style classic & timeless or quirky?
All of these questions come under one umbrella labelled How many wears? If it’s more than 30, Livia says you’re good to go & I have to agree. How many wears has this Prada pair given me? Hundreds!

Shoes for Life - Why should we stop and think befor we buy shoes EthicalSustainable Fashion & how to get more wear from buying less #30 wears slow fashion

Shoes for Life - Why should we stop and think befor we buy shoes EthicalSustainable Fashion & how to get more wear from buying less #30 wears slow fashion

My outfit of the day

Is another leather skirt combo – This time with my Urbancode midi pencil skirt also worn other ways here & here. Paired with Maje vest also here & Alexander Wang Dumbo clutch here, here & here. Notice my cohesive colour palette?

How to wear a grey leather midi pencil skirt over 40 | Urbancode skirt | Maje vest | Prada sandals | Alexander Wang clutch

How to wear a grey leather midi pencil skirt over 40 | Urbancode London leather skirt | Alexander Wang Dumbo clutch bag

Why should we choose sustainable ethical fashion? Lets talk about clothes & shoes for life on RCM Blog Alexander Wang Dumbo clutch bag

Natural make-up over 40 with berry lip | Maje pale pink silver trim vest | Beautiful Brows eyebrow stencil kit for easy 1 step brows

So what do you say? Are you with me?

For more information on Ethical Clothing check out the excellent post written by Liz of whatlizzyloves.

Of course another brilliantly clever way to shop is simply to wait for the sales. Sure it can be a lottery although on the other hand how satisfying is it getting that designer piece for a fraction of its original price? For example have a look at the Ted & Muffy sale right now where you can nab these gorgeous tan ankle boots for £45 down from £180! Every wardrobe needs tan ankle boots right? They are always in style & you can’t do better than this for quality or price wink.

My advice is buy your boots in Summer ladies!

Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate this forum, without you I’m just telling myself off! Heeheehee
love, Mx

  • Comments ( 10 )

  • avatar
    Abby@midlifecrisisnut

    I SO agree on every point you’ve made Michelle! Which is also why when I love something I will wear the @#$%A out of it before I change for another. I’ve been known to wear the same Chanel flats for 13 years (and yep they actually lasted that long until they needed resoling and then they got screwed by some “talented” shoemakers). Now, I’m wearing the soles out of my new Prada ones. As a matter of fact I only wear fashion that lasts and pride myself on taking great care of my garments. I always preferred quality over quantity, so that’s a no-brainer for me. And I’m happy to see that some brands came to the same conclusion. Great article as usual! xx Abby

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      It’s incredibly heartening for me to hear when other women have the same ethos. Between us we can spread the word Abby because that is how change begins right? Thank you, as always, for your supportive comment.
      xxx

  • avatar
    Lizzy

    An excellent article Michelle. Like you I wear the same things over and over and ring the changes with accessories and shoes. I like my wardrobe to work hard all year and often buy pieces that are trans-seasonal as well as transitional. I have three pairs of “designer” shoes that I saved up for and that I enjoy wearing time after time. I shall be wearing my 7 year old Choos tomorrow in fact. Thank you for linking to my post about ethical fashion. It has made me think an awful lot more about the supply chain of my clothing. I got two Braintree dresses (Aussie ethical brand) in the sale from a local shop that is just 5 minutes away. Win, win, win!
    You look gorgeous as always and I love your Prada shoes xxxxx

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thank you Liz & you’re welcome 😉
      I enjoyed your article so much it inspired me to share my thoughts on the subject. After all it’s the silence that perpetuates the thing in the end xxx

  • avatar
    Rozanne Swift

    Really good post, thanks! I have been trying to buy with longevity in mind for a while, and take advantage of sales (very excited at the imminent arrival of a Baukjen leather jacket!) But I still buy too much, and will try to plan more carefully and enjoy that process rather than the repeated but short-lived thrill of the new…. Who knows, maybe I will save enough for that vintage Chanel or Gucci bag one day 😉 *sigh* X

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Very wise Rozanne, that’s how it’s done 😉 I’m now intrigued to learn more about your Baukjen jacket! xxx

  • avatar
    Karen Allison

    I totally agree with you all the way, I believe in quality over quantity so I like things that I can come back to time and again. I’ve always preferred one decent thing to a lot of cheap things I will need to get rid of.

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Thanks for popping by & I like your thinking Karen, smart xM

  • avatar
    Patti

    Quality always wins out – these are gorgeous shoes and now they are old enough to go to college! And still they look fab. Thanks for linking, xo

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

    • avatar
      retrochicmama

      Hahahaha Patti that’s a classic!
      Thanks for commenting & I agree %100 😉
      Mxxx

Have your say too!

TOP