Thursday, 22 April 2010

Pros and cons on Earth Day


Happy Earth Day, everyone! I was trying to figure out how to celebrate it, and realised that I am pretty happy with our levels of recycling, supporting local and organic farmers, and saving energy whenever we can. I still take too-long showers and should give up meat altogether, but I hope to get there one day. Dana informed me today that a 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the cars, planes, trucks and ships in the world - more reasons to either go vegetarian or only buy local and organic!


After getting that big handful of cash due to my recycling efforts at Plato's Closet, Earth Day is also a good time for me to re-think whether I am really going to buy that pair of Swedish Hasbeens. For the past two days I have been trying to figure out whether to get them or not, namely this pair in particular:

(image: http://www.swedishhasbeens.com/)

Pros:

1. They are handmade from start to finish.

2. They are made of natural materials.
3. They are awfully pretty, and I have been looking for something similar for a long time now.
4. They are practical - sturdy and closed-toe, meaning I can wear them during several seasons.
5. After calculating price-per-wear, I think they would be an economical choice.
6. I have the money - and it came from recycling my old clothes.

Cons:

1. $250 is an awful lot for a single pair of shoes.
2. They are trendy right now - am I convinced that I will wear them next year too, and the year after?
3. The company tells you up front that they are difficult to maintain in pristine condition.


There are more pros than cons, but the cons are pretty heavy, especially the question of money. One the one hand, the money I have came from my recycled clothes, which is a good thing. On the other, I have lost count as to how many times I have promised myself to only buy things that I absolutely love, regardless of whether I might have to save money for a year in order to purchase them. It is just so hard for me to spend the money, even if buying less is better from the consumerist point of view, especially if the end result is something I can wear for years to come. I love the clogs, I really do, but there is still a voice in my head that keeps telling me what other things I could get for much cheaper, and also one that tells me to give the money to charity, because, really, do I need a new pair of shoes?

It really is the need-to-get-new-things-often-disease that is difficult to shake off. I admire Chris for focusing on buying clothes rarely, but when he does, he gets it right, he buys things that last, and he wears his clothes until they expire quite literally. I am too much of a hoarder to do the same, but I do feel like I have to start making better decisions at some point. As for the Swedish Hasbeens, I think it might be a good start to get them, and wear them with the love and devotion they deserve.

P.S. NYC Fashionista asked me where our garden containers are from: we ordered them at Lowe's. They come in a kit you assemble yourself, with all the bolts and things you need, and you are able to make them into different shapes and sizes. We made two 4 ft x 4 ft ones, and two 8 ft x 4 ft ones - lots of space for veggies!

P.P.S. I am sorry for being so behind with replying to comments or visiting your blogs - I appreciate all of your comments tremendously, and need to get my act together!


Blue blouse: second hand / Aino flea market
Lace vest: vintage / Rosie's old
Shorts: second hand Sportmax / Ruuturouva
Knee socks: H&M
Shoes: Vagabond
Scarf: second hand / Aino flea market

10 comments:

Modesty is Pretty said...

I say if you are doubting don't get them. Giving to charity is an awesome thing but more difficult to do than to say it. I think that there would be more pros is you thought about giving, but I know it can be hard. Whatever you chose I hope it makes you happy.

Jane W. said...

I have also been trying to transition to making less frequent, higher-quality purchases, and like you I experience "sticker shock" (I think thrifting exacerbates this).

However, you (and I'm using the "universal" you) have to start somewhere. I suggest buying the shoes and seeing how it feels to put your ideals into practice.

Rad_in_Broolyn said...

Hmm... interesting dilemma. How urgent is the need for the new shoes? Because maybe if you waited a bit and still felt the same way, I'd say go for it. Even though they are uber trendy right now, I've seen platform clogs on well dressed ladies for the past decade (as in the whole time I've spent paying attention to people's clothes), so I do think they have a class quality to them.
I have gone to better more quality pieces for most of my shoe purchases, but I wonder about it since I am so hard on shoes (as is living in NY). Midrange priced goods made of natural materials still hold up pretty well and can handle trips to the cobbler.

Eyeliah said...

It’s a tough call, especially via a website. As soon as I get the chance I am visiting them in person in my city. Maybe look to see if there is a retailer near your town where you can see them in person? I imagine also a darker pair would be easier to maintain. Good luck!

mirattes said...

If you ask yourself buy it or not to buy I know just one solution, not to buy. Because if you love it sooooooo much you never ask you buy it or not.
But shoes are great ;)

NYC Fashionista said...

Thanks for the info!!

Modesty is Pretty said...

I'm surprised no body mentioned anything about your thoughts for giving to charity, sometimes it's all me, me, me. Anyways, I guess that's normal of a human being to always think about ourselves first and material things. I do give money to charity every month and even though it's a small quantity because my budget does not allow more I feel good about being able to help others. I'm not trying to convince you to give away, no, I was just surprised that no one else even mentioned about your thougts of giving to charity. I'm commenting twice now hehe sorry. I also will comment on the previous post I'm just trying to really get my thoughts together, I like your blog because I appreciate the interesting posts, it's not only about beauty and showing off what you have, it's about evoking us to think beyond the box. Belssings to you and Chris and your lovely cats.

Charlotte said...

Those shoes you have on in the photo are quite nice. $250 for a pair of shoes kind of flattens me--I can't imagine spending that much on ANY item of clothing, except maybe a wedding dress!--but then I'm a notorious tightwad when it comes to buying clothes and shoes and refuse to pay full price for anything. If you thrift (as I know you do), you don't have to sacrifice high quality--my closet is full of Eileen Fisher that never costs more than $3-4 per garment. So maybe you could put out an APB on eBay for a pair of these shoes and find them for less. I wear mostly Danskos and Earth, all eBay purchases, new, at a fraction of the retail price.

Charlotte said...

PS: There's a pair identical to the style you posted, only in dark brown, in size 41, on eBay for the BIN price of $109.00.... I only searched my own size, and found 18 pairs of various styles, ranging from $39-$250.

FashionTheorist said...

Shoes are the one thing I'm willing to pay large amounts for - $250 strikes me as a reasonable price, if that's any indication (not cheap, mind you, just reasonable).

My reasons are many, but most boil down to this: the entire weight of your body is supported on a very small area, comprising an incredibly complex structure of 28 bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and skin. As an engineer, I look at such a complex system with such a high load-bearing ratio and am utterly unwilling to trust it to inferior materials and workmanship.

Actually, I feel the same way about bras, too, come to think about it.

If you love the shoes, and will wear them frequently, and they're comfortable and support your feet well, get them. You are allowed to spend money on pretty things that make you happy. What else is money for?

Or, as another lovely commenter suggested, find a new or gently-used pair on eBay and donate the difference in price between them and a full-priced pair to the charity of your choice. Win-win!