Eternal spring: The “greening” of fashion

Novita Estiti. Flickr.
November 11, 2010.

Now that our clothing doesn’t have to be green to be “green”, it is possible for those of us who look terrible in green to be fashionable.  If “green” is the new black, it is even possible to be elegant on a budget.  Why?  Recycling clothing can be both economical and “green”.  A shopping spree at a vintage clothing store may be pricey.  Like vintners of fine wine, these entrepreneurs know the provenance of their stock.  They carefully selected it from reputable sources after perusing labels, stroking fabrics, and scrutinizing discolorations.  It has likely been refurbished, too.  That is, each item has been carefully repaired, cleaned, and pressed.

Instead, persistent visits to thrift stores can yield designer treasures.  Unlike t-shirts, sweatpants, and pre-washed jeans, suits, evening gowns, and overcoats are cleaned with delicacy and worn intermittently.  Their fabrics and construction are durable, so people donate them rather than trash them.  Upon small investments of money and time, even careless maintenance can be remedied.  Talented needle persons can tailor their discoveries to suit contemporary conventions in fit or style.  Those dolman sleeves can be tapered from shoulder to wrist.  That calf length skirt can be shortened to knee length.  Irreparably damaged clothing may have salvageable panels of silk, wool, lace, or handmade buttons.  Even the harvest of a zipper can repay the cost of the purchase of a thrift store garment.

Recycled fashions permit an expansive wardrobe with a minimal investment.  There’s always something to wear; you’re always suitably dressed.  Even more, it is possible to establish a personal style.  Seldom will you attend an event or even work with someone who is wearing the same outfit.  Thrift store finds, of course, are from last season or last decade.  You can demonstrate your taste with your choice of classic designs such as the sheath or the shirtwaist dress.  Your refashioning of a dress or suit, of course, renders it unique.  Emerging fashion designs will become “greener” if not greener.  Professional designers and their customers are more concerned about the provenance of their materials.  Now, if only their marketers would create a new, less confusing term to describe environmentally-friendly clothing.

© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2013

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