Fashion & Style

The new black is green

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purple dress on dress form
The new black is soft, comfortable and comes in the colors of the rainbow
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Affordable, comfortable durable clothing is the new black

The look is simple. Natural fabrics, earthy vegetable dyes, casual lines and comfortable cuts.

As life gets more stressful , people are turning away from elaborate styles and uncomfortable couture wanna-be looks. For decades, the little black dress was the key to being a well dressed woman. But the new black is green. And fashionistas are embracing it with open arms.

Itís not your parentsí green
Ė In the 1970ís, natural clothing burst onto the fashion scene.  Amid a frenzy of polyester and other synthetics, a counterculture of cottons, unbleached muslins and organic hemps arose.  But the clothes were often scratchy and harsh on sensitive skin. The colors, ranging from beige to brown were earthy, but in a mud kind of way. And style consisted primarily of three elements: long, baggy and shapeless. 

The big fashion houses gave the natural materials a nod, but never really incorporated them into the styles on the runway.

Oh, how times have changed!

Green has gone big time Ė Fashion industry commentators have debated whether itís the result of a growing green consciousness or a backlash against the excesses of overpriced styles in the face of a growing recession.  Either way, what started as a small inroad into the clothing industry nearly 40 years ago is now a major factor in most new collections here and abroad.

What green looks like now Ė Like the old black, the new black has become a wardrobe staple for women across the country. Racks in the biggest department stores and trendiest boutiques offer endless choices in soft cottons, natural raw silks, finely woven organic linen and all natural wool or alpaca.

Noticeably absent from many racks are the synthetics, fur trims and skin-tight fit of only a few years ago. The colors are more natural, but not in a muddy way. Blues, greens and burgundies mingle with dove gray, sandy-toned cream and rich taupe.

What the new black is not Ė Green is not about showing off.  Itís not about a standard uniform or a passing fad. Itís not about outdoing the woman next door or in the next office. Itís not about flaunting wealth or accepting fashions that were never meant to work for real women.  Itís also not about shapeless sacks or itchy materials.

What the new black is
Ė The new black is all about affordability, durability and comfort. Itís about paying attention to the effect our fashion choices have on the earth, our bodies and our budgets. Itís about finally having attractive clothes that look good on real women with real bodies. Clothes with attractive cuts that fit, soft materials that get softer with age, styles that work in the real world Ė the new black works.

Couture has not gone away
Ė The game of high fashion remains.  Across the U.S. and throughout Europe, stick-thin women will teeter on absurdly high heels as they model clothes that will never see the inside of an office or a grocery store. But the good news is amid all the craziness, there is now an occasional hint of greener materials, a whisper of more practical designs.

Maybe someday soon, the new black will take its place on the runways, too.

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