This spring I continued my search for fair flats. It's a search that is a holdover from my pre-fairdare days. Ever since a pair of leopard print flats from Target, found on clearance for less than $10, that I had worn happily for at least a decade + went with everything...died...I just could not find the right replacement.
Sometimes the fairdare makes my mind feel like it is contorting + weighing + flipping + balancing in rapid succession. It can be exhausting + frustrating. There is just so much to consider:
1. Garment workers, farmers, + the environment. Responsibility + compassion.
2. Clothing needs. A warm coat. Pants that fit. Shoes. Necessity.
3. Budget. Responsibility + limits.
4. Self-expression + style.
5. Choosing pieces that will last in quality + in my allegiance. Longevity.
For the most part there are enough choices to meet all of these considerations. There are pieces of clothing already in my closet. I can mend + repair. There are thrift stores. I can sew + knit. There are brands offering fair + sustainable choices. And yet, sometimes the intersection of all the above considerations just feels endlessly elusive.
Years ago, I bought a pair of natural leather flats that were made in Spain. They were stiff, but I thought that they would soften up over time. Over the next few years, they did not soften and were only worn to church...gingerly. I could bear them no longer, so they were sold. Next I found a cute pair of vintage, leather flats on Etsy that seemed to be my size. I had the little heel plates replaced + the cobbler reglued them together nice + tight. I wore them for a few years, but they were always just a bit too tight + didn't stretch...so they too were worn only for short, mostly seated trips to church. I found a pair of fair beauties a couple years ago, but their $300 price tag kept me from taking the plunge. I couldn't take the plunge this spring either, so...
This spring, after lots of consideration, I bought a pair of shoes that I could not confirm as fair. I delved as far as the internet would take me into the production of this brand...no transparency. The shape was just what I wanted. The leather looked soft + sturdy...and the heels were made of wood...natural materials. The style would elevate jeans + a t-shirt...but would also be nice enough for dressier occasions. The price seemed appropriate for both my wallet + production (but I couldn't confirm that).
I shared a picture of the flats here, but not the post that I first wrote to go along with it. This purchase felt like failure. I didn't want the explanation to seem like a list of excuses. I didn't want to write a post about simply doing our best. That just didn't seem good enough. It didn't seem inspiring enough.
And then, a friend told me about how she'd made a similar decision and seemed to feel some guilt over it. She'd made a commitment to the fairdare + felt like this purchase had failed it. My immediate feeling was that I wanted to throw a heavy blanket of grace over the whole story. Making a commitment to the fairdare involves knowing...and trying...and lots of success...and then sometimes...doing the best we can. I needed to extend myself the same grace that I desperately wanted her to feel + that I knew she deserved.
The fairdare, zero-waste, and any other endeavor we undertake to live our values...they are all about the successes...small as they may be! A list of five purchases that involves one not quite perfect purchase...that list is more about the four...four successful attempts to buy fair! Bravo! Happy dance! Amazing! I'm not a perfectionist, so I've never quite understood those who abandon a habit (new year's resolutions) once they've failed once. Of course we are going to fail! This is all about the learning + observing + trying again. My lesson learned from the flats is that I probably should have waited. I found a handmade brand that I love just a few months after my purchase. I'm learning.
Doing our best is not about making excuses. It is about truly making informed efforts + then choosing the best option. We are learning, + learning is not failure. (Oh how often I say this to my perfectionist daughter over her schoolwork!) Often, choosing to do without is the best option...but when it is not...there is grace.