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A good buy

  1. Words often used to make peace with an indulgent purchase when the item is new and shiny. 
  2. An item bought for a good price.
  3. Serendipitously finding an item you wanted on the second hand market and acting on it.
  4. Saving up and buying a high quality item while resisting the temptations.
  5. Not buying things you don’t need.
  6. An item that give you lot of pleasure and a good cost per wear. 

I am not immune to lust at first sight. Most of my clothes are haphazard accidents that I couldn’t pass up, on the second hand market. I bought these shoes 3 years ago & worn them 400+ times. I think I am now qualified to rave about the product. (This is not a review.) The title of a good purchase is not something I take lightly or bestow upon too many things. But the truth is revealed with time and wear.

A good buy

When a ‘worn in’ blog post is more exciting than the ‘new in’ blog post, you know that it was a good buy. When you cant shut up about all the details that make it special, 3 years after the purchase date, it’s a good buy. 

These shoes were a good purchase. This pair may be the benchmark against which I compare all other ballet flats I will wear in the future. I learnt that it can be done : you can make dainty looking shoes that are sturdy and are made to aide movement. Let me make my case ….

The way they aged

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JilSanderShoes

 The leather has been stiffened and re-inforced in strategic places – the toe box and the ankle. Not having structure in the mid-sole area makes the shoe very flexible and comfortable. They are lined with leather on the inside. They were comfortable from day 1. They are made from the softest buttery napa leather which I would have expected to compromise on durability. After all, didn’t Porselli and Proenza Scoulers PS1 let me down in a big big way due to the thin leather ? Well, it’s all in the design and construction. A craftsmen can figure out the how-to for a given material. Its a matter of finding this craftsman who will sell his wares at a price affordable to me. I only realized why each of these details exists with time.

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This stitch on the back. The edge doesn’t dig into the skin. No shoe bites at the ankle. John Lobb and other heritage shoe makers have this sort of stitching. I cant figure out what it’s called and the technical details on they use it. ( Porselli has no such details what so ever while making paper thin 200$ flats. The shoes do look pretty and they have a cult following in spite of the short comings. )

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They are suited for life. I never had to save them because I am worried that they might fall apart. I wore them to work, for long walks, bike rides, one impromptu hike up a hill, months of travel in India, to play with my dog, walking in farms, walking in rice fields, while I water the plants, while I work in the yard, in urban settings, in the rain, …. I like the idea of shoes that are sturdy enough for what ever life throws at me, while taking the form of a dainty ballet flat. The Vibram rubber sole on the bottom definitely helped out. Conditioning them from time to time helped. Shoe polish covers up the scuffs well. I have no complaints.

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The sole is not absolutely flat and paper thin ( shame on you Porselli). The sole is very sturdy while looking sleek. The sole doesn’t make me feel every pebble on the streets I walk on. The sole isn’t chunky but has substance. The sole has flexibility. One never forgets their first good great pair.

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This is a rather useless post since you cant find these on the market. ( I found one pair on eBay for anyone who wants to take a closer look at their make.) I am trying to make sartorial memories on details that I want to associate with good quality. This is what 180$ of my hard earned money bought me ( on final sale at La Garconne ).  The square toe box design made it unique and a subtle twist on a classic. I consider it money well spent. If I ever see them on the second hand market, I will grab the pair for a replacement.

When is a shoe worn out ?

From the view point of sustainability and in spirit of zero waste, small scuff marks are not an excuse to throw out and replace. I want to protest consumerism in a small way by questioning how we call moderately used items worn out/stale and throw them away. So where can I draw the line ? A few axioms :

Never use the words ‘i got rid of it’. That disposable attitude got us into this mess.

Do not let go until it can no longer be resoled. I want the cobbler to say the words. 

A well made shoe has a balance. When it gets wobbly, it’s time to let it go.

If made with a softer leather, you will see toes spilling out after some point and making holes in the leather. 

When a shoe starts to hurt, long after it has been broken in, its time.

It’s not time for this pair to go. “100 more wears, dear.”  ( … To my eyes, the pristine is less beautiful than the broken. Quality is something I chase but I only understand it when its cracked and still keeps going. This is a two way relationship. It brings it’s best. I do my part : by maintaining, repairing, cherishing and using. )


 

Question :

When is an item worn out, according to you ?

Do you enjoy wearing it during it’s last leg when it starts to look worn out but is functional?

Brown leather looks better worn in than black leather ? Agree / Disagree ?