Friday, May 23, 2014

SECONDHAND FIRST ™: Deep Frye


I don't remember a time when I wasn't a little crazy about Frye boots. They're boot branded classics, and their history, one of the oldest American leather goods companies (since 1863!), is pretty proudly American. So, when I saw these Victoriana style boots on their website about 5 or 6 years ago, I had to have them. In fact, they are the most expensive item in my wardrobe, setting me back nearly $500. Yup, you read that right, this fancy-pants lady paid $500 clams for these beauties.

Never before have I spent that much on clothing or accessories, and most likely, never will I again. They're boot treasures, so very vintage looking, and unique. In fact this style is no longer available, having been made just for one season. But my rationale was this: they were an American company, and the boots were American made. I was going to support that commitment but plunking down a rather heavy chunk of change. It was Christmas, and in thanks of baby Jesus, I decided to treat myself.


When they arrived, I won't pretend I wasn't a bit disappointed to see the stamp of manufacture was "Made in Mexico." Um Hecho en Mexico, not the United States. The quality was still there, however, and I quelled my disappointed. The boots quickly went into sartorial rotation, still worn to this day.  I adored the beauty of the boots, and I still do.

But, I'm going to be honest here. The more I have learned about the Frye Boot Company, the less enamored I am with this formerly American owned company. A casual Google search turns up some information, and bottom line is that it's a Chinese owned holding company, and the limited line of American made boots are manufactured in an undisclosed non-Union factory in Arkansas (source). Even more disappointing is the fact that the Frye marketing is still pretending to be from America, and that good ol' American hands are the ones making their shoes. While a limited line of boots are made in the U.S, the reality, is that most are manufactured in China and Mexico (likely in less than ideal  working conditions.)  So, if you want to make sure you're getting an American made Frye pair of boots, you're  probably best off buying a pair of vintage ones.

So thank goodness for thrift stores (and eBay)! There, for maybe a twenty spot, you can rustle up a beautiful pair of American shoe history. Which brings me to the SCORE part of this post.

THESE:

As worn by Jean, beautiful up-cycling goddess from Dross into Gold. HER Frye boots are a wonderful cocoa brown leather, and are the same rare style as mine. HER Frye boots looked brand new when she found them. HER Frye boots were found in a thrift store. And she bought them. 

For FIVE DOLLARS. <---Ya read that right, kiddos: Jean got a pair of $500 boots, gorgeous, well made Frye boots, for less than the price of a latte and a cookie. A pretty sweet deal, yeah?

Well that's a benefit of shopping SECONDHAND FIRST

Now, it's YOUR turn to share! What recent Secondhand First finds have got you sizzling? 







27 comments:

Lally said...

Its always very sad when companies aren't upfront about their manufacturing, I guess that's why I like second hand and vintage things so much! So many companies just don't tell the truth these days.

Anyway fabulous boots! The buttons details are great! I actually have a similar pair from Bertie, they are flat but I think you've inspired me to get them out!


Lally

señora Allnut said...

I understand very well that disappointing feeling about paying for a locally produced good and then reading the label and discovering it's really made in China. Even when you buy famous local brands, you're not sure!
Anyway, you look so gorgeous and elegant wearing your boots and lace top and tights, and your cute little hat. And so joyful to find that Fabulous Jean is wearing same model, and so great example of a Secondhand Fabulous Purchase!!
besos & shoes

Serene McEntyre said...

I LOVE Frye boots! A couple of years ago I found a brand new pair of Frye leather sandals at a yard sale for $5! I have worn the fool out of them and this summer am letting my daughter wear them for the season. I can't BELIEVE Jean found this great pair for $5!! I would SCREAM! Your boots look fabulous and sometimes, ya just gotta splurge on yourself! The fact that you're still wearing them and loving them proves they're a great investment!

It's so hard to navigate through all these companies and where they make their items. It's not easily obtained information. Ans something I've recently read online makes me ponder the question, "Is paying someone a wage that may be 'minimum wage' in their country, really an ethical practice when what it will sell for in the US is SO much more?" It hurts my heart to see local NC mill towns that are now more like ghost towns because those jobs are now overseas. Any way....I'm rambling now....You look GORGEOUS!! Hugs my friend!! Serene

Patti said...

Thanks for the back-story on Frye. They make great looking boots, so I'll hope for a fabulous score like Jean! You look amazing in yours, and in all-black. xox

Val S said...

I am soooo jealous! And I used to have a pair of Frye boots way back in the 80s when I worked in a shoe store that sold them. Would love to have some now - the American made kind.

Great story. It's good to know the truth about these things. So few American-made products now, which is such a shame.

Vix said...

They are gorgeous, the huge outlay was definitely worth it if they've lasted so long and still look so good.
Shame they weren't made in the US and that Frye didn't disclose the fact, either.
You look fantastic in your all black goth-tstic number and I bet Jean rocks her bargain boots. xxx

Sheila said...

That's such misleading advertising! It's sad that they weren't actually made in the US. Glad Jean was able to balance the karma with her $5 boots!

Will link up later tonight!

Reva Ford said...

Hi my love!
Boo!
I had to walk away for a while-love to hear from ya and get all the skinny that I've missed (I've missed your encouragement and you beautiful spirit :)
Reeves

Sasha said...

Hmmm...Not very pleased about the misleading promotion of American-made from Frye. Unfortunately it's also unsurprising. Big name companies that claim American-made are often hiding things--such as the sweatshop labor that happens in the US borders (see American-made!) :/

Second-hand has often profited some of my very best of everything, though!

Laurie Duncan said...

I had the same let down when I wanted to buy Sorel boots, because I thought they were made in Canada. Now they are made in China too. I ended up buying another brand because I needed something right away that would last. Otherwise I would've waited till I found some at the thrift. Love those Frye boots by the way! :)

Tilda said...

I had the same letdown with Clark's---their shoes are mainly made in China and Vietnam, not England.

I've been thinking about buying a pair of shoes from one of the small scale cobblers on Etsy---I'd rather support one of those people than pay money to some big name retailer that obscures where and how its shoes are made.

In the meantime, as you point out, vintage is always a good choice!!

Natalia Lialina said...

So not liking it when Google eats my comments (bon appetite)... Bella, the outfit is so charming on you! I understand why you fell for these boots - they are wonderful, and I also love vintage inspired shoes (and clothes). I never paid as much for one piece of clothing, but I can understand the temptation plus it's Xmas :). Dishonest when they don't share the right info on the web. But would you stop it from buying? If stuff is well made and you rally love it?

What a great thrifter Jean is - wow! Suddenly my $1.29 shirt is not such a good deal anymore. ;)))

You are a great writer! xxx

Shybiker said...

That's sad to hear. My first pair of boots were Frye, forty years ago. The brand was big in the Seventies.

No fear of fashion said...

Disappointing about the Frye company but my goodness .... are you looking good in them, all in black and lace. Honestly... GORGEOUS!
If I were you, I would buy the brown ones myself (not your size?)
Greetje

Shawna McComber said...

I have always loved the look of Frye boots and long coveted some. How disappointing to learn that they are cheating like that! Your boots are gorgeous though and so kind of Baby Jesus to have a birthday so you could get them. I LOVE your black outfit sooooo much! That sort of goth/rock/boho thing looks amazing on you and I suppose I am rather partial to it though it's not a look I could pull off.
Great post!
xoxo

wardrobeexperience said...

when i was in my 20s, i really wanted to own a pair of fryes but i they were never affordable for me ... some years ago i read an article about lot's of european and american fasion companies that are owned by chenise holding companies ... if i remember right, some of the most famous designer names are owned by the chinese ...

Ladan Ladanu said...

In these days when everything has been globalised you would think some brands would see the value of delivering on their most valuable asset - heritage and the processes behind that heritage. Love the style though so I hope you continue to enjoy them.

thorne garnet said...

2 summers ago, bought for a musical from a local consignment shop: summer weight wool, spring green woman's pant suit. Escada retail around $1500, second hand $6.

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

I too have used baby Jesus as a rationale for a purchase so you made me giggle. While I love both you and Jean's Fryes, her score quite frankly gobsmacked me :)

PinkCheetahVintage said...

That is fucked up about Frye!! I have a few higher priced items in my closet---sometimes you just have to get what you want dammit!
Can't believe Jean got hers for $5. Thrift store miracle!

Dana Jo said...

Love the stockings and the boots! The look gorgeous on you.

Dana
http://danalovesfashionandmusic.blogspot.de/

Jazzy Jack said...

I'm loving the matching black lacy top and tights. Also the boots and the hat! I remember renewing my wardrobe after my son was born and dropping over $1000 in a day! Nowadays I stick to the discovery of treasure hunting amongst the musty, dusty, seen better days secondhand :-)

Northern mum down South said...

Bella, you look amazing, boots and all x

Melanie said...

Frye boots are the best. Yours are awesome and were worth every penny or peso or yuan or whatever they are. Free trade definitely isn't free. I love your look in black. Stunning, Bella! Thanks for the linkup.

Tami Von Zalez said...

Finally got my act together to do one of your linkups.

Many thanks for hosting!

Debbie Burns said...

I always love how you style your outfits! And with the money we save thrifting, we can afford to splurge on things we really love. I know I did. When I closed my thrift store I bought my dream bag. And I carry it proudly with my thrift store finds! These boots are gorgeous and so are you!! Debbie @ ilovemylemonadelife.com

The Style Crone said...

I too am a fan of Frye, but had no idea about their business practices. Thanks for the education. However, you are spectacular in the Victorianas! Classic and for a lifetime!

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