Fashion Trends – Dressing For The Cause

‘Socially Responsible’ has become a buzzword like no other; between oil, conflict diamonds, and depleting natural resources, many designers feel that the earth can only give up so much, and many are working really hard to squash the myth that organic equals crunchy. What started with Al Gore’s movie and the RED campaign at the GAP has become an all out phenomenon with celebrities leading the way. Instead of opting for typical diamonds, many are choosing to purchase conflict-free diamonds as a way to show that they are socially responsible. Turn on the television to any talk show, and one celebrity or another is discussing what they do to stay green. So, as a style conscience consumer, how do you stay fashionable while being socially responsible? Fortunately, designers have done all the hard work, so all we need to do is shop!

Choosing fashions and accessories made from recycled materials is a great way to do it. The amount of jewelry out on the market that is made from vintage baubles and recycled and antique pieces is amazing, and beautiful. Look at any new line for the summer or fall, and you’ll see the market is flooded with it. These large and punchy pieces look great with shift dresses and the large handbags that are hot right now as well. Speaking of handbags, choose a faux leather bag from one of the many up-and-coming vegan stores as opposed to the standby leather handbag.

This season, and likely in the future, you will see many designers donating a percentage of their profits to climate projects or other environmental organizations. In addition, you will begin to see more and more products, including denim, being made from organic cotton, bamboo, corn polymers, milk and seaweed; it seems impossible, but it’s happening. Many manufacturers are also striving to integrate production processes that eliminate PVC.

In Asia, designers have begun making woven handbags from recycled newspapers to help cut down on their waste issues. Here in the states, we see many top knit and crochet designers doing similar things, except with the plastic bags we all get at the market. If you’re not ready to go quite that far, carry reusable tote bags in your car and use them at both the market and the mall; shop around to find the cutest in wicker handbags and you’ll leave the store feeling like a million bucks. Many stores are also offering discounts, both on food and clothing items, if you bring your own bags. And let’s face it, if there is a discount to be had, you ladies are sure to seek it out and use it!

Body care is also going organic and socially responsible. Face powders, bronzers and lip glosses are going to flower-based and paraben-free ingredients. Sunscreens, deodorants, lotions and oils line the shelves of all major department stores touting all-natural and organic ingredients. Reports on these products indicate that they work just as well, if not better, than the traditional products that we’ve used for so long. Not to mention, you get to flash that gorgeous smile knowing that you haven’t coated your beautiful skin with chemicals.

The Evolution Of Fashion

Throughout history and on into the future, fashion trends are constantly changing. One thing comes into style and then a few years later, it is out. Women’s fashions have had the most drastic changes through the centuries.

Prior to the 19th century, women were made to cover up with long dresses and layers of underclothes. Because they were made to cover up, different additions to the outfits gave off different illusions of sexiness. Bustles were used to help show a woman’s figure. Woman wore tight laced bodices in order to make them look thinner, sometimes being laced so tight that it was very difficult for them to breathe. Waist lines were also very prominent in the dresses. Different forms of attire also showed a woman’s status in life. It is almost as if the more things you had on your outfit and the more accessories that you had, the wealthier you were.

Around the 19th century, women were allowed to show a little more skin then they had in generations before. Women of a wealthier status were allowed to wear lower necklines then previously. Also the sleeves of the dresses were allowed to be shorter, showing off a little arm. However, women had to wear long gloves to avoid inappropriate contact. Long dresses were still an important part of a woman’s attire and they still wore plenty of undergarments.

Throughout the 20th century, significant changes started taking place in a woman’s style. Early in the 1900’s women started having a less defined waistline. Dresses became shorter to help save material for the war efforts. That was the beginning of the end in terms of modesty in woman’s fashion. Around the 1030’s women started wearing shoes that showed off their feet. Foot grooming became an important part of a woman’s hygiene routine because of the shoe changes. By the 1940’s hemlines were raised again bringing women’s skirts to just below the knee. Around the 1960’s was when women began working towards having more rights and women’s fashions changed a bit more. Woman started wearing dresses and skirts that ended just above the knee. They also started wearing more revealing swimsuits.