Can I admit something to you?
I don’t like Hunter Boots. I dutifully bought a pair in navy blue when I first moved to New York City. I say “dutifully,” because it’s almost like you have to. What else should you wear in a downpour in the city to look stylish? Hunter’s, that’s what.
And yet, I never felt comfortable in them. They were big and loose and I felt when I wore them like a child in her father’s rainboots, galumping comically around. I finally gave up the ghost this spring and brought them to the Ethical Writers Coalition Swap, where I observed a woman pick them up and say, “Who would give up Hunter boots??”
SORRY I AM A BAD FASHION PERSON. Also, I am petite and I like streamlined things. So shoot me.
Then I discovered Alice + Whittles. Founded by two former UN humanitarian aid workers, this shoe company partners with the Fair Rubber Association and fairly paid artisans in post-conflict nations to create modern, minimal rainboots that would be more at home in a rainy Nordic city than in a cow paddock in the English countryside. The Sri Lankan workers making the boots are provided with benefits like subsidized meals for breakfast and lunch, transport to and from work, a welfare shop from which workers can buy everyday household goods, food and drink at discount prices, insurance options, and access to loans for things such as housing, education, critical illness and distress.
I picked out a pair of the black riding boots*, which are sleek, with nothing but o-rings and a little metal label on the side. They looked pretty on the website, but when I opened the box in person, I gasped with pleasure. The rubber has a weight that conveys luxury, and wraps perfectly around to provide a seamlessly waterproof experience.
Another wardrobe basic I was excited to find was sustainable black tights by Swedish Stockings*. They are made from recycled yarn with eco-friendly dyes in factories that treat water post-dyeing and use solar power for much of the energy needed in the manufacturing process. I wore them this weekend for the second time, and when I snagged them on a wooden crate in my bedroom, I thought for sure they would rip. They did not. I am a fan.
The umbrella is by Pelcor, a Portuguese brand that makes accessories from cork, a renewable plant fabric extracted from the cork oak tree that thrives in the Mediterranean. The cork oak has a lifetime of 250 to 350 years; it’s the only tree whose bark regenerates itself after each harvest every nine years. The dress is by Reformation.
*I received this item free from the brand.