slow fashion october.

October 8, 2018
The first pair of jeans I wore until the bum busted open I had in high school. I loved them, though I couldn’t tell you the brand or where I bought them. (All signs point to TJ Maxx, the place where I did nearly all of my high school clothes shopping.) I can tell you they had a button fly. And that they’d started out a deep blue but slowly faded to something closer to the color of the sky. I patched them, mysteriously enough, with a pale purple, fine wale corduroy that I found in my mom’s fabric stash. The patch job was messy and before long that gave way, too. I took to wearing them with black spandex bike shorts underneath. The hole just kept on getting bigger, but at least I didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing my underwear. I finally stopped wearing them when the thighs also wore through, but I never stopped loving them. Last fall, I spent every last available penny on this pair of vintage Wranglers. They’re older than me. (My parents, too). And though I think previous owners are at least as much responsible for the bum wearing through this time around, I’ve worn them so much in the past year that this summer I noticed a bit of a breeze on a morning walk and discovered they needed patching. Lacking purple corduroy, I decided to take them to the seamstress down the street for reinforcements. She matched the pale blue of the worn-through bum and patched them with about a million tiny threads. They’ll last forever this way, she assures me. I’m hoping for until death do us part. // Karen Templer interviewed me for Slow Fashion October. I shared evolving thoughts on growing a sustainable wardrobe, finding clothes you love, why it matters, and why it’s tricky. I hope you take a look. More about Slow Fashion October and how to get involved. For the curious:  I found my vintage jeans with the very thoughtful help of 9th Street Vintage in the city.  The rings you see here are from Satomi Kawakita, Rebecca Mir Grady, and, the tiniest pinky signet from Molly Debiak. My blouse was a gift from a Dôen.

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  • Reply Gill F. October 8, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Right now I am a broke grad student, so I can only drool over the slow fashion, made tenderly with kindness and ethics clothing. However, I try to do my part by digging through Goodwill and accepting all of the handmedowns. My girlfriend’s mom loves to hand us bags full of clothes her/ her kids/her friends/her friend’s kids/that sorta of acquaintance she knows from the farmers’ market and let us take whatever we want. We always find stuff that feels new to us, but that is on its 3rd, 4th, 5th leg. It’s good on my wallet and good on my heart. We also have a friend transitioning from female to male and they have given us all of their well loved sweaters, flannels, fancy button downs that no longer fit how they feel. Besides getting free clothes, it’s a fun way to support their journey.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 8, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Three cheers for things that are good on the wallet and good on the heart. So lovely to be a part of your friend’s transitioning story.

  • Reply Mariya Zafirova October 8, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    The rings are gorgeous!

  • Reply Judith A Ross October 8, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Hmmm, Erin, for some reason I can’t get the full photo either on my phone or my computer — is it me? It seems everyone else can see the full photo….

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 8, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      It’s so bizarre. Really unclear this is happening to some folks and not others. We’re migrating the whole site to a new server next week to avoid this issue going forward. In the meantime, try a hard refresh!

  • Reply Kate October 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Are these the jeans you wore in your recent instagram “screaming” post? I was admiring them!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 8, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      yeah, same ones!

      • Reply Liz October 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm

        From this same IG post, curious where your daughter’s denim overall dress is from? Thanks!

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 8, 2018 at 4:10 pm

          Aw, it’s a very very vintage hand-me-down from her sweet friend, Violet! No tag or branding on it!

  • Reply Kelly October 8, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    I patch things in a similar way, and if I don’t have matching thread, I embrace a visible mend! I have a theory that we love the things we mend even more, because of the effort and energy put in. I mend clothes for my in-laws, too, and though I don’t know how to use a machine, they seem happy with some methodical hand-sewing to their sweaters and dresses. My proudest mend? I stitched together a larger torn section of a favorite lace bra, mimicking it but in hot pink. I love it more than the pristine copy I bought, intending to replace it.

  • Reply Maryann October 8, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Wow, worlds are colliding for me! I love Karen Templer and slow fashion October. I heard about through the sewing instagram grape-vine. So fun to see you on her site. Your interview was a great read – so many important topics. I’ve been thinking so much about fast fashion lately, especially as my kids get older and start having wardrobe needs we didn’t anticipate. I agree with you – a “lean” closet is the way to go, whatever your needs. Makes me really appreciate having the means to really invest in pieces, whether I am buying fabric to sew them myself or buying from small USA-made vendors like tradlands. I would love to buy more vintage clothes. Your Wranglers jeans look like a real score!

  • Reply Archana October 8, 2018 at 9:21 pm


    You always look stunning in your clothes.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 9, 2018 at 7:11 am

      Thanks so much Archana, that’s so kind!

  • Reply Lizzy October 9, 2018 at 4:31 am

    Your anecdote about your favourite pair of jeans is very relatable. I also have had a few garments (and a pair of shoes) over the years that I have patched up until they dissolved. Those are the type of garments I strive to buy, but it can be so difficult to know beforehand which will be your most-loved items. Being gentle and deliberate in the process is key in my opinion.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 9, 2018 at 7:10 am

      Yes! It’s the hardest part!

  • Reply Morgan October 9, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Fringe and Tea Leaves are literally the only two blogs I follow. I noticed a while back when you had a field bag in one of your shots….Fun to see my two blogs combine forces!

  • Reply Madeleine October 10, 2018 at 6:14 am

    I, too, have a small wardrobe that I put together carefully and then wear to death. I design my clothes, make them and mend them and then, when they’re too far gone, I cut things up to make new things out of them, like quilts and potholders and gifts. So I’m totally with you on this. Great post!

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