Sometimes the best way to shape a sustainable future is to go back in time. While we can drive change by buying new clothes made with organic or sustainable fabrics, low-impact dyes and ethical labor practices, or new built-green furniture, we won’t save the world solely by choosing green stuff. The greenest gesture may be to use what already exists.
Fortunately, in fashion, art and decor, beautiful clothes and objects often outlive their owners, or get traded in or passed on, no worse for the wear. What’s more, craftsmanship and quality are often hallmarks of vintage finds. Educate your eye to develop your instincts and decide which eras are your favorites.
In décor, it might be Victorian lace curtains, 1930s patchwork quilts, or mid-century Danish furniture and Fiestaware. In fashion, you might find stylish 1940s suits, totally trendy 1960s love beads and embroidered flare-leg jeans, or lush beaded sweaters or cocktail dresses from the “Ëœ50s (the sexiest dress I’ve ever owned was a vintage black cocktail dress with a sheer top made legal by a swath of encrusted beads in the shape of a butterfly – truly extraordinary for the high price of $35). If you have basic sewing or furniture repair skills, you can often alter or repair any minor fit or finish flaws.
Get to know your local flea market vendors and vintage-clothing or furniture dealers, so they can let you know when new merchandise comes in. Stay tuned to EcoSalon for more tips on vintage shopping and ways to integrate vintage into your life with flair and charm. And rest easy, knowing that vintage and green are a perfect match.
Editor’s note: to get started going vintage, don’t miss Kim’s all-city guide to the best vintage shops in your town.
Image: Mr. Cullen