Thursday, 26 April 2018

Penny Loafers: A Love Story

The most important thing about supporting slow fashion is to take care and love the clothes you already own. That way, we won't feel the need to shop for new items as often as humanly possible. To inspire that, I'd love to share an item that I truly love from my own wardrobe—or, more like, my shoe rack. It is my most treasured possession and one I haven't had the pleasure of showing love of in my remix posts, so here it is. If you have some stories of your own, don't hesitate to share along with us!


WHERE WE MET

It was June 2013 when I entered a secondhand store and spotted this pair of shoes. It was love at first sight. By pure chance or fate, I was quite obsessed with penny loafers at the time, having watched Emma Roberts rock them nicely as Nancy Drew, so seeing them in the store felt like serendipity. These were the most perfect pair of penny loafers I have ever seen—before or since. They were clearly made out of real leather and they were quite possibly vintage. They costed 25€, which is definitely a lot less than they would be worth brand new, but still quite a lot for me at the time. I hesitated for no time at all—it took me probably 5 minutes before I decided to snatch them up. And rest is history, as they say.

As soon as I got home, you best believe that the first thing I did was look up the name of the brand. Honestly, I don't remember what I found out but this is what I got recently: the brand is Paul Green, starting out in Munich. It is a local brand, making shoes since 1988 entirely in Europe—Austria, Croatia and Bosnia, to be exact—and claiming to have fair working conditions. One of their commitments is to make shoes for life, not for the moment. And, you know what, from the look and feel of the loafers in my possession, I'm sure it was manufactured maybe over 10 years ago—and it's still in incredible condition.


WHY I LOVE THEM

Although at first I quickly fell in love with their appearance only, I soon discovered so many good intrinsic qualities to these loafers that I find I simply can't live without. First of all, they are incredibly comfortable. Because the material is real leather, it's quite sturdy but manages to expand and shrink depending on temperature—I really notice the difference during winter and summer. I could wear them anywhere and there wouldn't even be a scratch on them by the end. They're very easy to wear, as I can just slip my feet into them in 2 seconds and can fit perfectly to my feet—which doesn't happen with a lot of shoes, especially preppy ones.

Secondly, the colour being quite tawny and neutral really allows me to match them with all sorts of clothing items—dresses, skirts, shorts, pants, anything, you name it! They don't steal the show too much, but offer a great character to an outfit. Thanks to their material, colour and style, these shoes are also perfect for any season—I'd wear 'em spring, summer, autumn, winter, dry and rain. It's unbelievable how versatile they are. Lastly, they are crazy resilient and low maintenance. I can get them soaked in the rain or have dirty from the snow, I need only to leave them out to dry and they'll look good as new. They don't require polishing—in fact, trying to dab them with water or other liquid would only ruin them—and always keep their original colour. And I've taken them for really long walks on gravelly roads and rocky surfaces before, and they're still intact. What not to love?


THE ROUGH PATCH

Every love story has its hard times—and so does this one. In August 2017—and it's actually quite impressive how this hasn't happened sooner—the sole of these shoes fell off when I was about to have a family dinner at a restaurant. I was completely mortified, both because they were the only shoes I brought as I was out of town and because they are my most treasured possession in terms of footwear. The shoe sole became the one thing taking over my mind until such time as I could have them repaired. Fortunately, the shoe technician—what are these people called exactly?—told me that it could easily be fixed and he would do it for both shoes, just in case the other one was ready to drop too. Unfortunately, it did cost quite a lot—the cost of one new pair of shoes. However, it was definitely a non-negotiable decision for me: I decided to have it fixed.

It was hard for me, but I'm just really happy to have my shoes back again. When my Stepmom heard how much it cost to get fixed, though, she chided me and asked why I didn't just buy a new pair. Here are a few reasons: 1.) a new pair will most likely not be as resilient and long-lasting as this one. I can honestly say I've never had a pair of footwear that still looks and feels as amazing after so many wears and so many years. Screw new shoes! 2.) these shoes have held too many of my memories—sometimes my blood—and there is just no way I can replace it that easily. Plus, it's quite a peculiar style that I have tried to find elsewhere but failed miserably. I'd rather have it fixed, thank you very much!

OUR LOVE TODAY

I can today say, without a doubt, that I do not regret buying these shoes 5 years ago. It was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. They were a major bargain—only a fourth of what could be its original price—and are still in perfect condition. They're crazy resilient and versatile that they ended up being one out of 4 pairs I brought back from Germany. And—guess what?—they are the one pair of shoes that I wear almost everyday presently. I love how they can encompass my style very well in a subtle, timeless manner. They've been in my life for so long—and a very crucial part of my early adulthood too—that I can't imagine not owning them anymore. My hope is that this relationship will keep on going for decades to come—who knows, maybe one day my own daughter would want them handed down to her. They'll be part of more of my stories and important events of my life.

Do you guys have items like this? If you do, share the story!

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