I've been fortunate to have a few opportunities to write for fashion websites. I sold the articles which means my name is not in the by line, but here are a couple of samples. The first is for a Eco Friendly Fashion Website and the second is for a Vintage Website.
Vintage is Eco Friendly
Vintage gowns and handbags have always been popular for stylists, celebrities and those with classy grandmothers.
Vintage clothing is considered a work of art collection piece. Vintage items almost always have a story, maybe where the beads were from or the piece was for a specific actress or for the First Lady Jackie Kennedy, tagged as the Queen of Fashion in the 1960s. The attention to every detail added a sense of elegance not found in the assembly-line manufactured clothing found in department stores.
Vintage articles of clothing and accessories have always had a following for the obvious reason, the opportunity to say you own a one-of-a-kind designer’s creation.
In recent years that interest has swelled for several reasons:
- There are more years of designers’ originals to be had, including: Chanel, Gilbert Adrian, Christian Dior, Balenciaga, and Emilio Pucci
- The population of fashionistas have increased and an interest in style is more prevalent in today’s society
- Prestige-everyone would like to own a pair of shoes designed by Salvatore or a clutch created by Serendipity
Could there be another reason – maybe for the environment. Instead of buying new clothes, you are recycling, which means fewer clothes will end up in the landfills.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produced over 250 million tons of waste, 85 million tons was material. To put the numbers in perspective, the average American throws away 4 pounds of clothing each day. We are jamming more and more unused articles of clothing into the landfills around the country.
If we recycle, such as buying vintage, we are not going to be so inclined to toss a one-of-a-kind into the garbage. When you think of buying vintage as good for the environment, it takes the snobbish characteristic out and replaces with practicality.
The manufacturer uses fuel to bring the raw materials to the facility. Energy is used to power the plant, including the lights, heat/air and machines to cut and sew the material. The finished product is then shipped to the retailers-gas for the semi’s driving across the country.
In addition to all of the energy used to mass produce, the raw material is altered with dyes and other chemicals are used to keep the color from fading or to keep the material from wrinkling.
After you wear the cloths, you have to wash them-electricity for the washer/dryer and the water, including the detergent runs through the water lines into the sewer system.
You’ll find vintage boutiques in most major cities and even in the smaller, quant townships near the community’s courthouse. Vintage shops are also popping up on the Internet.
The Great Gatsby Has Spurred a Revival of the Roaring Twenties
The first image most fashion forward experts envision when you think of The Great Gatsby is the flapper period, with short bobbed hair, exposing the neck and ears and drop waist dresses.
The Gatsby book was released in 1925, after Work War I, when fashion became more prevalent, considered an era for the extremes and outrageousness; fringed dance dresses, sequin knee length dresses with deep slits and crochet lace romantic dresses, and of course, hats. Hundreds of hats were depicted in every version of the Gatsby movie. Women gladly gave up the floor length skirts gathered at the waist making event the thinnest woman look like she had a bell shaped middle.
Flappers symbolized a spirit of independence with sheath dresses adorned by long strings of pearls. The designers had to proceed cautiously since there was still a stigma for bare legs, so designers needed to draw the eye away from the bare ankle, with pearls, hair trimmings and scalloped necklines. The straight chemise frocks designed by Coco Chanel were originally intended for underpinnings, but became a hit for the adventuresome.
It was 1924 when the first female knee was “exposed” to the public. Then the flapper was the craze, along with martinis and Gatsby themed parties.
Today you’ll find the roaring twenties theme at weddings, fund raising events and of course, throughout the Hamptons, where F. Scott Fitzgerald took us to the eastern seaboard with his young rich-trust fund beneficiaries celebrating an easy life of drinking and dancing.
Every era has an ideal image to which women aspire. In the 1920s, women wore hats. Turbans, silk scarves, and those cloche hats, cloche is French for bell shaped. Cloche hats are meant to be worn pushed down to cover your eyebrows and offer a mystic appeal to your suitor. Garden party hats were typically made of straw with flowers perched about; and hats with feathers of every sort.
Hats were considered dignified and serious in 1925. Today hats are the completion of your outfit and one of the best ways to show your personality. Save the theatrical pieces for that Gatsby party you are throwing but feel comfortable wearing any of the other roaring twenties milliner’s creations.
The hat is the quintessence of femininity. British Women of Royalty have always adorned a hat; you won’t find any pictures of the Queen or even Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) without a hat.
Where can you find some of these Gatsby inspired vintage pieces? The obvious answer is EBay, but you’ll also find some great pieces at these websites:
Etsy, Bonanza, Lilly Pulitzer, Palm Beach Vintage, ShopBop, Next Tag, Nora finds, or Pinterest
Depending on where you live you may find a local boutique with vintage apparel and accessories.
A couple of tips when purchasing vintage clothing pieces:
- All original stitching – no alterations
- Watch for stains – how to clean the garment. Remember our modern day washers and dryers were not around when these garments were designed, spot cleaning will probably be your best option
Some of the premier designers of the Gatsby era were Coco Chanel, Jean Patou and Mariano Fortuny. You want to authenticate the vintage items you are purchasing. For example, Mariano Fortuny’s label was a circular piece of silk, hand-painted in gold metallic paint sewn to the lining of the garment.
The 2013 Gatsby movie remake featured altered Miu Miu and Prada 1920’s cocktail dresses. These items would not be considered vintage because the original stitching is gone.
If vintage jewelry is more your preference, Tiffany & Co. designed the headpieces, necklaces, bracelets and strings of pearls in the Gatsby era, both costume jewelry and fine jewels. By the way, pearls were referred to as sautoirs back in the day.
Keep your heel height to a minimum, no five inch platforms; keep the heel at two to three inches at the most. Tighten your hair into finger waves, put on your favorite hair accessory and feel a bit of what the fashion forward women were doing after the war was over and those bare ankles were exposed for the world to see.