You can’t quite tell by the outfit photos, but these shoes have been through the ringer. (Here’s a close up of ’em)
They’re a few years old and I once jumped in a lake while wearing them. They used to be white, but the lake water turned them a light pinkish-greyish-brownish.
Weirdest color to ever come out of a lake. Was this lake radioactive? We can only hope not.
I remember being bummed that I “ruined” my white sneaks.
But, then something cool happened.
I started reaching for them all the time. I loved wearing them.
They were already imperfect — no way to mess them up more. No pressure.
It’s funny, I’m always afraid to “mess up” my shoes, but it seems like I wear them more once they are a little worn in.
Do you ever do that? Have you ever “messed up” something to find that you wear it even more?
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Liked today’s outfit? You can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using these affiliate links:
01 | Stripe sweatshirt tee (old) | similar by Everlane (made responsibly)
02 | Jeans by Rag and Bone (made in USA) / similar (on sale + made in USA)
03 | Shoes by Converse | also available in light grey wool
04 | Bag (old) | similar | similar (made in USA)
05 | Water bottle by Hydroflask
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So true! Great observation! And a good reminder to stop treating things as precious – we buy them to wear and tear, and to get enjoyment in the process, so why do we fret about “ruining” them??
This post is so on brand, Caroline! I too love things even more once they get a little bit messy or even wrinkly. For fashion and home decor. The lived in vibe is so much better to me.
Yes Laura! that’s the perfect way to put it — the “lived in” vibe. Nothin’ wrong with that :) xo, Caroline
I love this look or rolled up pants and either sneakers or booties, but I have trouble pulling it off for two reasons:
1. Those tiny little socks always roll off my heel and bunch up under the the arch of my foot.
2. When it’s slightly chillier and I want socks that’ll cover my ankles too the look sort of gets ruined.
Got any tips on how to deal?
You need the little tiny socks with a dot of grippy silicone on the heel! I use mine with loafers and low cut sneakers and they never roll up on me. I bought mine at Winners, but I’m sure they’re available at most shoe stores that also have socks.
Yes! I was just going to suggest the same. I’ve seen them at H+M, Old Navy, and American Apparel :) xo, Caroline
sheepskin/ wool insoles. I don’t wear socks when I have these in and my feet start toasty warm
Sophie Stewart says
Cute relax look. Sophie x
It’s funny that you posted this today…after I spent all morning debating whether or not to buy a pair of light gray sneakers out of fear I’d get them dirty!
Hey Whitney, did you decide to go for it and buy them? :) xo, Caroline
Haha I actually hate new clean shoes. Even ones that aren’t white – they make me so uncomfortable! ?
Lan | Morestomach blog says
i have a hard time finding boyfriends jeans that don’t make me looking umkempt and bottom-heavy. the way these drape on you looks fabulous. how do you determine sizing for bf jeans? i’m 5″5 and normally wear a size 4. do i go up or down?
Hey Lan, it’s definitely going to depend on the brand that you get. With the Rag + Bone boyfriend jeans, I got my usual size. :) xo, Caroline
Marie Therese says
Yes, I feel that way all the time. I never want to ruin my nice things, but once I break them in, I only want to wear them. And the scuffs and marks they pick up in their little fashion-lifetime just makes them that much cooler. It’s like they become a part of me.
Yes Marie! Exactly. Once they’re broken in, they have a story to tell and we can love them all the more. :) xo, Caroline
Allison Taylor says
I have a pair of brown distressed riding boots that I have had for about 3 years now. I went for the distressed look because I knew that they could easily be dressed up or I could wear them with leggings and a baggy button/sweater to the dog park on a muddy day without having a heart attack every time I scuffed them. They are like good wood floors; looking better worn in : )
Tanya E says
People pay a lot of money for distressed looking shoes. Golden Goose trainers (sneakers) come to mind!
I noticed the same today, I have a pair of boots that are grey suede with a fringe, but the charcoal grey is turning a kind of taupe colour. They look different to last year, but good different.
Great idea about the socks, I will look out for those. I get cold ankles too (it has been cold in the UK this week: 11°C today) and wear hi-tops once it gets or low boots once it turns chilly.
Tanya E says
That should read “hi-tops or low boots once it gets chilly”.
Andrea Handojo says
I love the title of this post! I really love black sneakers because in conceals dirt, but I’ve been starting to love the look of white sneakers too. I have a pair of white converse and they are so fun to wear with jeans, a skirt, or dress. I love how it gives you that cool “girl on the run” look!
Yes, yes, yes! I always feel somewhat like a “fraud” when I’m wearing brand new, unscuffed shoes. I know that makes no sense. I wear them out for a few hours, and then change half way through the day so I don’t “ruin” them. So much less pressure once they’ve been through the mill a few times. I feel more real.
Hey Monica, I totally understand that feeling :) xo, Caroline
I was always afraid to wear white jeans for a similar reason, but when I discovered that they matched pretty much anything and were more washable and durable than I thought, I got over it. White clothes for the win!
Torrie! Woohoo! Sometimes you just gotta take that risk :) xo, Caroline
I love this!! Have you heard of Shauna Niequist? She just wrote a book called Present over Perfect that seems just up your alley. Subtitle is “Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living.” ALL THE HEART EYES :)
The reason I bring her up is that the cover of her book is her feet (in her used-to-be white sneakers). She talks about how those messy sneakers are a symbol of living messy, real, vulnerable, just the way we are. So many parallels between you and her, and not just today!
Anyway, thanks for your consistent inspiration. Love your blog!
Hey Taylor, thanks for such a sweet comment. Love the cross reference! :) xo, Caroline
When I was in elementary and middle school, I would make everyone in my group of friends rub dirt all over their converses as soon as they bought them because “converses should not be clean”. I agree worn in looks better. This is true for canvas and leather but not for patent or suede, imo.
Hi Louise, I know a few parents who would be pretty ticked if their kids did that! Haha! But I love that you were a risk taker (and a leader, sounds like!) even as a kid. So cute :) xo, Caroline
My white converse sneakers have travelled the world with me, I love looking down at my feet and seeing all the dirty scruffiness and thinking about the places those shoes and I have been! Can’t bring myself to clean them ;)
Hi Dee! With that back story, they sound absolutely beautiful. :) xo, Caroline
Hi – Have you heard of the brand Ethletic? They are a European version of Converse that are sustainably/ethically made and fairly traded, and I found them by Googling “ethical Converse alternative” (which auto-filled in when I typed it, so I guess other people have searched for this too! ha!). Anyway, I have not found any US retailers who carry them, and I’m not too into paying for shipping from Europe. (I know you eventually gave in and did that with your Veja shoes, Caroline.) I even looked for them in stores locally when I was in Europe this summer, but didn’t find them. I’ve asked a few of my favorite US hip sustainable shops to look into carrying them, but no dice yet. Just thought I’d give them a shout out in case you want to link to them in future posts (who knows maybe we can create some demand for them here) :)) + see if anyone has tried them? I know you got your Converse long before you became interested in ethical clothing, so not criticizing at all! Just wish there were more ethical sneaker alternatives in the US. There seem to be a lot of options for leather shoes, but far less for sneakers and athletic shoes.
Hi Lynn! Thanks for the tip! Etikos is another Converse alternative that I’ve seen, but they’re sold in Australia, I believe. Although I have heard of people scoring them on Ebay too. I’ll keep it in mind when I’m linking to similar items. :) xo, Caroline
Yay! Lovin’ this outfit. Simple & fun!:)
Great to have shoes with a story! I’d love to hear more about SOCKS. Finding the perfect no show socks that fit and stay in place and maybe offer a little warmth is so hard. Any suggestions?
Hi Jane! The perfect no-show socks are tricky to find! These (http://oldnvy.me/2exKkUj) have a little silicone pad on the back, so they stay put — but they aren’t necessarily warm. I would imagine these wool socks (http://bit.ly/2exL6AT) would be a little warmer than the average no-show, but I don’t know how well they stay on. Have you tried doubling up for warmth? That might keep your toes the warmest actually! Just a thought. :) xo, Caroline
Do you REALLY want them stark white?? I think (hope) not. They look amazing, lived in, and they have “character” as my husband likes to say lol.
My dog once scratched my brand new pair of cognac boots. I was so upset! But, just like you said, I wear them more than ever now!
I definitely feel this way about shoes. I am always timid to wear my nice tall boots, so I reach for my broken-in booties more. The 1st mark is always the hardest.
Right Jesseca? Then it’s all downhill from there! ;) xo, Caroline
I’m like that with my converse. When they’re new and nice, I worry so much about “messing them up” but once I see a smudge all the cares fly away and i do just about everything in them!
Completely messed out my white superga walking so much in NY but it’s still my most worn pair of shoes.
It’s a bit the same with me, I am always afraid to ruin some really super expensive clothing (like my beloved Lena Hoschek things), and miss being more careless when wearing These. For this reason, I love second Hand clothing even more, even if I mess it up one day, it won’t be such a huge loss.
And lived-in makes me feel like having lived in These things for Ages myself :)
Usually I wear my things so Long they literally fall apart, and still then don’t want to part with them, may they have holes, may they have thinned or holed soles from all the dancing – I don’t mind, because parting with These things would be even harder, so I just Keep them and try to mend them as possible. High five to all the seamstresses and Cobblers out there! Thanks, HUGE thanks to you!