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ALTERNATIVE FASHION GUIDE

You know appearances aren't everything, but only a few seem to not care what they wear. This viewpoint carries on during good times and bad. As in referring to food, "you are what you eat," you could say "you are what you wear," but in these hurry-up-and-get-to-work days, shopping and dressing can be very frustrating. So to ease getting-dressed distress, try my formula of fashion perception.

First, there are classics. You know, like a blazer, full skirt, trousers, button-down shirt, tuxedo or string of pearls -- fashions that seemingly (or really) never go out of style. Then there are trends. How boring fashion life would be without them, but please, keep your age in mind! Hot pants were great until ... well, you remember, (ugh). Colors can be major trend factors that may grow on you just like a kid's music you use to hate. History reveals that whether you hang on to those trendy items or not, expect a come-back within ten to twenty years. Last, but the greatest, is style. Individual style, that is. It's what you create from classics, trends or both. Remember Jackie-O's haute couture standards, Annie Hall's men's wear, Mick Jagger's colorful casual mix or Stevie Nicks's vintage dresses? Of course if everybody decides to copy your style, you've then created a trend.

Now think of classics, trends and styles in the alternative fashion mode. Because, (here's the real scoop), environmentalism is fashionable. It may even be described as a trend, but unlikely to go out of style if we keep intoxicating our planet. Alternative fashion is beyond personal style. It's making a real statement about yourself, the consumer, while actually inspiring farmers, designers, manufacturers, retailers and even politicians. Ideally, earth-friendly garments are made from naturally grown fibers with no pesticides, fertilizers or defoliants applied on land or plants. While not every environmental aspect applies all the time, look for flax (pure linen), hemp, organic cotton and silk.

Growing colored cotton is thousands of years old, but is gaining popularity in the States. Hues available now range from a rich mocha to a soft willow green that can be woven to make a pattern. Also note the creative fiber blends. There is a designer in Connecticut that weaves the fur from angora rabbits (no animal cruelty) with organic cotton and calls it Cottagora. She says it feels and breathes like cashmere yet can be machine washed and dried.

Synthetic lovers need not worry, as they can achieve alternative fashion style too. A very soft fleece is being made from recycled plastic soda bottles. Additional materials from recycles are rapidly popping up all over the U.S. Recycled derivatives consist of pre and post consumer materials found, salvaged or purchased. Examples are tires for the soles of shoes, quilted jackets and other garments made from rescued materials. Of course making something new from something old is not novel, but today's talent is impressive.

If you have difficulty finding alternative fashions, be sure to kindly let your favorite shopkeepers know of your interest. Remember, it's not just a fashion issue or for skin sensitive clients, it's an environmental issue for healthier land, water and air too.

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Written by: Chic Eco


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