Fashion-Forward and Eco-Friendly

Contrary to popular belief, most tree huggers have an inner diva and embrace it. They don’t want to wear baggy sweaters woven out of hemp and long gypsy skirts. They appreciate that in order to be taken seriously (and their message is a serious one), they can’t look like they a) tumbled straight out of bed b) tumbled straight out of a Grateful Dead tour bus or c) tumbled straight out of Haight-Ashbury, circa 1968.
How does one look stylish and stunning without punishing the planet with their vanity? Let’s face it, fashion is a fickle thing, trends come and go so fast it gives the average person whiplash. Shoulder pads come around every 30 years, big buttons every 15. High heels with pointy toes are the rage one season, the next it’s flats with rounded toes. How can a fashion conscious tree hugger keep pace without filling a landfill with castoffs (parachute pants, anyone?) or contributing to a consumer mentality that generates so much waste and pollution?

How do we achieve a GOOD environmentally-friendly look:


a fashionDon’t?”

It was to Enviro-Girl’s delight that she saw this very issue addressed a month ago on TLC’s What Not to Wear. Stacy and Clinton gave a “Green” makeover to a very Eco-conscious woman. The Rules of Green Fashion were 1) Reuse 2) Recycle and 3) Buy new from environmentally friendly clothing designers who use organic and renewable fibers in their lines.

Let’s dissect the rules:

1) Reuse: Since most fashion trends are recycled, thrift and vintage stores are excellent places to find unique pieces. Enviro-Girl is a fan of the thrift store–she wore a men’s overcoat throughout college (everyone begged to borrow it) and landed excellent wool and cashmere sweaters that would otherwise be beyond her budget. She has found funky shoes and shirts and scarves. The beauty of shopping thrift/vintage is the low price and the joy of discovery. The major drawback is the time spent culling through mounds of crappe clothes to find great treasures.  And if you can sew or know someone who can sew, you can update a vintage find by applying those skills.

2) Recycle: On What Not to Wear, Stacy and Clinton found Tara some excellent pieces of jewelry including one necklace with a vintage beer bottletop pendant. Enviro-Girl has found handbags and purses, jewelry and shoes made from recycled materials. Vendors on ETSY are an excellent source for such items, as are local art fairs and boutique stores. The cool thing about using recycled materials in jewelry and handbags is each one looks unique and special–you won’t cross paths with your style “twin.”

3) Buy new from environmentally friendly clothing designers who use organic and renewable fibers in their lines. Enviro-Girl doesn’t care to shop in malls, but she knows the following labels are available in many retail outlets or online. Take a few minutes and click around!

Bamboo Clothes


Eileen Fisher


Horny Toad (One of Enviro-Girl’s faves)


Margaret Leary



People Tree



Turk and Taylor

Enviro-Girl has one more thought on creating an environmentally friendly “style.” Go for a classic, simple look and avoid the trends. Invest in a “look”–whether it’s suits or blue jeans and t-shirts–and stick with it rather than buying into every single fashion option that designers offer you. Timeless, classic looks leave a smaller footprint because they never go out of style.

Tell the Eco Women, what are you favorite lines of environmentally responsible clothing/accessories?


2 thoughts on “Fashion-Forward and Eco-Friendly

  1. I’ve started doing a lot more thrift and vintage shopping in the past year, especially since I’m losing weight and don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes I might not wear for very long. I’ve found some great buys, including gorgeous things I wouldn’t have otherwise bought.

  2. I’ve decided that if I’m saving money by buying at a thrift, I can afford to pay for professional tailoring sometimes. So, if a great, well made piece needs to be taken in or up a little, I’ll just pay to get it done.

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