My favorite site for affordable vintage pieces is Vintage Martini.
Aug
31

Vintage Shopping Tips from Greenista Guest Bridget

Visiting Author

As a professional shopper and lover of vintage clothing, I have come to realize how many of today’s fashions are borrowed from the past. It’s recycling in its most fashionable form … designers today are greatly influenced by ideas and eras from long ago (hello, Mad Men). Luckily for you, vintage clothing can be affordable, stylish, and one-of-a-kind. Being second-hand pieces, no new resources were wasted to create these items. Plus, vintage pieces can add to your wardrobe in a way that reflects your style without breaking the bank.

Vintage clothing is typically defined as either used or new clothing originating from a previous era (typically more than 25 years ago). This type of clothing can be found anywhere from thrift stores to high-end consignment stores to eBay. The popularity of vintage clothing has grown tremendously as style-savvy fashionistas search for unique pieces that represent their style and stand out.

Make sure when looking for these distinctive items that they really speak to your style sense, fit well, and can be easily combined with existing pieces in your wardrobe. Done right, you will be that stylish fashionista you always wanted to be … with a green conscience, of course.

Written by Bridget Boggess of Dress Marie

Photo by Catwalk Queen

Vintage clothing is healthier for you and for the planet. The dyes, chemicals, and processes used to produce wrinkle resistant, colorfast, soft, unshrinkable clothing are not what anyone would call eco-friendly.
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Sep
26

Thrifting Through the Heights, Part 1

Neha Shivani

One of my favorite activities on a quiet Saturday afternoon is to hit up the vintage shops on 19th Street in  the Houston Heights. Here, you will find thrift stores, resale shops, antique stores, vintage stores and a variety of other boutiques and galleries. As I mentioned in a previous post, buying pre-worn clothes and accessories is one of the greenest ways to enjoy fashion. Besides reducing landfill waste, you’re also reducing the environmental impact and demand of making new clothes. Vintage fashions add to your personal style; you can’t find some of these pieces at the local mall.  You’re also supporting your community by contributing to your local economy.

Every week I want to highlight a cool resale shop on 19th Street. I’d like to start my Heights shopping tour with a stop at The Sand Dollar Thrift Store on Yale and 19th.  The clothes are organized by type and by color, making it easy to navigate through this huge store. They also sell house ware items, appliances, furniture,  books, records, VHS cassettes, art, jewelry, bags …. just about everything.

Most of the clothes are in pretty good condition. Usually, it’s middle class families who are donating to the Sand Dollar. Families that can afford to give away slightly worn clothes to replace with trendier items. I’ve dropped off several bags of my own barely worn (very stylish) clothes because they didn’t fit me anymore.

And unlike most vintage shops, the styles at this thrift store are pretty contemporary and trendy. Think dresses from the Gap, 2 seasons old.  My best find? A gold Betsey Johnson cocktail dress for $6. And that’s one of the more expensive pieces!

The key to shopping at a store like this is to be patient and to have an open mind. Cute Betsey Johnson numbers don’t always jump out at you. There’s no pretty display or well styled mannequins to help you pick out what to wear. You need to dig, dig, dig, dig and dig through all the racks of clothing to catch the really good finds. Don’t walk in expecting to find something specific.  Bring your creativity with you.  Dress too long? Get it hemmed. Blouse too wide? Belt it. When you think this way, every piece has potential.  To increase your chances of finding amazing clothes, go in as often as possible. Remember: new items are stocked everyday.

You’ll probably find a lot of great things for very cheap, but remember to keep your personal style in mind. Don’t clutter your closet with clothes you don’t need. That was my biggest mistake when I first went to the Sand Dollar. I bought too many things; most were never worn. In fact, I donated them right back to the store several months later.

While most thrift stores don’t have dressing rooms, The Sand Dollar (thankfully) does. Make sure to try on your finds, keeping your tailor or sewing skills in mind. Examine all your clothes for tears, stains, and holes and remember these can be fixed.

The Sand Dollar takes credit/debit and cash.  Bring your own reusable shopping bag since they still use platic bags at check-out.

I recommend shopping at the Sand Dollar for any adventurous fashionista who loves to  rummage. You’ll never know what treasures you can find.

Picture found at http://heightsblog.wordpress.com/

Picture found at http://heightsblog.wordpress.com/

Some tips for Successful Thrifting:

34 Tips to Thrift Store Shopping

Green Thrift Store Shopping

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Sep
22

Rebel With a Cause

Neha Shivani

These days I’m obsessed with finding the perfect leather jacket. I want to wear it with my feminine dresses or on my lazy t-shirt-and-jeans days. I imagine myself looking edgy and effortlessly cool. But we all know style requires effort, especially for the fashionista who wants to be on trend while remaining ethical.   The obvious solution? Vegan-leather jackets.  In the past it was difficult to find faux-leather products that were stylish; words like “tacky” and “cheap” come to mind.  These days, conscience fashion labels are putting out amazing shoes, bags and jackets without harm to animals. Hipster fashion company Silence and Noise makes fantastic faux-leather jackets at a decent price. They can be purchased online at Urban Outfitters.

If you’re not satisfied with the look or feel of faux-leather you can adapt the look with this amazing velvet motorcycle jacket.

Or this awesome Nylon version.

Still want the real thing? Then look no further than vintage stores for pre-worn leather jackets. Buying pre-used clothes reduces landfill waste and decreases the environmental impact from the production of new clothes. Added bonus? Buying vintage means buying a unique item that others can’t find at the local mall. Here in Houston, stores like Texas Junk (215 Welch St) carry leather goods like cowboy boots and jackets.  In Chicago, US#1 (1461 N Milwaukee) in the Wicker Park neighborhood has stylish leather jackets in excellent quality. Even your neighborhood Salvation Army can carry leather jackets.  If you live in a city lacking in hip vintage stores, you can always search Ebay for unique items.

If you’re iffy about wearing used clothes and have no qualms with leather (it is a byproduct of the meat industry for all of us meat eaters out there), then consider purchasing a jacket that has been “vegetable tanned”. Typically, harsh and toxic chemicals, such as chromium, are used to process the skin. Vegetable “tannin” on the other hand, occurs naturally in tree bark, vegetables and other sources. The use of the natural chemical is more sustainable in practice and is safer for production workers.  This light brown Vegetable-tanned leather jacket by Forzieri is a classic and versatile item.

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