Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Throw Out Your Conditioner NOW!!

Why?

Find out here: The Good Guide. The Guide launched in September of this year and just recently added a feature that lets you receive product ratings on your mobile phone.

What is the GoodGuide?
(From the Good Guide's "About Us" Section:)

  • What chemicals are in your baby shampoo?
  • Was sweatshop labor used to make your t-shirt?
  • What products are the best, and what products should you avoid?

Increasingly, you want to know about the impacts of the products you buy. On your health. On the environment. On society. But unless you’ve got a Ph.D, it is almost impossible to find out the impacts of the products you buy. Until now...

GoodGuide provides the world's largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of the products in your home. [Note: over 60,000 products evaluated.]

Hmmmmmm . . . Let's test it out, shall we?

Below is a sample of one of their ratings. I searched for the hair conditioner that I actually use - and have used for almost 20 years. I have always known that it is not the best in terms of what kinds of chemicals are in it (lots of parabens), but, unfortunately, it works really well on my hair: Nexxus Humectress Ultimate Moisturizing Conditioner. Here is how it rates according to the GoodGuide:

"Terrible" in Health Performance

"Poor" in Environmental Performance

"Poor" in Social Performance

According to the Guide, the low Health Performance score was based on what they term "General Health and Safety" which they define this way: "Gives this product an overall score based on the safety and toxicity of its ingredients, based on research by the Environmental Working Group. The EWG bases its score on data from more than 50 toxicity and regulatory databases and takes into account the product's potential cancer hazards, development and reproductive hazards, violations, restrictions, warnings, allergy and immunotoxicity concerns, and a range of other concerns such as neurotoxicity and hormone disruption. For sunscreens, this score also incorporates an assessment of how well the product works in blocking UVA and UVB rays."

But, yeah, that's pretty bad. The good part about the GoodGuide is that it actually provides a list of alternatives. Some of the suggested alternatives for my sad conditioner issue are:

Suave Conditioner Strawberry
Burt's Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Conditioner
Nurture My Body Conditioner
Vaseline Hair Tonic and Scalp Conditioner

And I am able to buy them immediately from Amazon.com with one click! What a great co-branding effort!

Maybe I do, finally, need to bid adieu to my favorite Humectress . . .

Interestingly enough, the generic version of Humectress (Russ Kalvin's) rated significantly higher than the Nexxus Humectress, even though, when you drill down into the data, it shows that the Russ Kalvin version contains neurotoxins . . . Hmmmm . . . maybe these ratings need a little bit of work - and I am sure they will get it since the Guide is in its Beta testing stage. So, head on over, test out their Guide and send them a note about how to make it better.

You know I sure as hell will!!!



Friday, November 14, 2008

Eco-fashion Stops by DC - Part Two: The Little Boutique that Could

Note: This post is WEEKS overdue, but, as someone very wise said a long time ago, better late than never!

Tucked into the first level of an 18th street Adams Morgan brownstone is a little store that is trying to change the world . . . one hemp/silk blend dress at a time. Hoopla arrived in Adams Morgan from its previous Barracks Row location about a year ago and has slowly emerged as the go-to place in Washington for eco-friendly, locally-made and fair trade gifts, décor and fashion. It has a variety of quirky, unique and beautiful items meant to soothe your spirit, while assuaging your conscience.

This past weekend [Note: it was actually on October 4, 2008], I attended a fashion show highlighting some of the new fashion lines (dressy and informal styles) that Hoopla has for the Fall/Winter season. I think this was a great idea, since many people still have a misconception about what "green" fabrics looks and feel like. Giving people a chance to see the outfits ON and to touch them, is a good marketing strategy. Personally, I think the hemp blends and the bamboo fabrics are amazing - soft and luxurious, with a drape that seems very unique to my untrained fashion eye!

The boutique is small, with a small carriage house in the back and I wondered how a runway fashion show was going to fit inside there, along with the merchandise and guests. But, the owners did a great job pulling it all together. The strutting models were all customers and friends, making the event feel like an intimate get-together (with pretty clothes, of course).

Although the attending crowd seemed small – with one of the owners even trying to pull in blasé Adams Morgan hipsters off the sidewalk with the promise of free mimosas (which were yummy, thanks!) – in the end, almost every seat was filled for the laid-back event. The first 20 people to arrive received gift bags of candles, lip balm and other little items. At the end of the show, there was a raffle and a lucky person won a gift certificate – with which she promptly headed to the coat rack. Here are some photos from the event (and please pardon my photos, I was sans my regular photographer this time around):







I am sure that the last year has been a great learning experience for Laurie Moran, the buyer for Hoopla. As eco-fashion becomes more accepted (even demanded), and there are consistently more designers to choose from, and the DC market shifts to a demographic of younger professionals, we wondered whether she had some thoughts on the last year of buying for the boutique. We asked her a few questions via email and below is her response (PS – she kindly answered our questions on her way out of town to be married. Congratulations Laurie!!)

I have noticed that some of your fashion choices have changed over the last year. You seem to be carrying more “fashion-forward” styles – perhaps targeting a younger demographic. Has this been a conscious decision? Can you talk a little about how you choose what fashion to carry at the boutique from the perspective of sustainability and why you prioritize certain things? How do you make sure that the companies you buy from are actually doing what they say they are? Can you talk about some of the clothing brands that you are carrying that you really like and why you like them? What items (not just fashion) seem to be most popular with shoppers?

Laurie's responses:

Yes, we have made a conscious decision to change our fashion lines. This was based on two primary factors. First, we were located on Capitol Hill for 5 years. Our move to Adams Morgan really changed the demographics of our marketplace. We now serve a much younger, trendier audience. Our customers on Capitol Hill were fashion-conscious, but had a different sense of style. Secondly, there are increasingly more green fashion options, as designers have become more eco-conscious. We used to go to shows and find just one or two lines that would work for us; now we have a great variety of choices.

We find most of our lines through the New York shows, but I also spend a lot of time in cyberspace looking for designers whose sensibilities I like. I try to stay away from the ones who seemed to jump on the green bandwagon as a marketing ploy, and choose those that are transparent about their choices. The lines I like best recognize the trade-offs of choosing "green." They consider their entire supply chain, not just the sustainability of their fabrics. And they care not just about the environment, but also about the people who make their livelihoods from creating fashion.

I carry a couple of quite popular and better known brands such as EcoSkin and Sworn Virgins. But my personal favorites are the very small new designers such as Kate Organics and Sublet. I like Kate because the line is fashion forward but classic, reminding me of a modern Katherine Hepburn. I like Sublet because the designs are simple, tailored but feminine, and can carry you from the office to an evening out. Of course, the showy evening dresses are always a hit, but when folks have a limited budget, I think you get more for your money by buying the classics. That being said, my one favorite item this Fall is the Whitney indigo bamboo denim coat by Kelly B. It is a very fashion-forward take on the denim coat, with enough style to dress up jeans or wear over a suit to the office. (In fact, I am wearing it to our day-time wedding ceremony.)

The most popular items have remained constant over the years -- jewelry and handbags. Women can never seem to get enough of them, and they make it possible to update your look without a major purchase. We do very well with the Ecoist line of candy wrapper bags, for example. They are colorful, different, and dress up any outfit.

We started the speaker series because Hoopla is not just about selling, it is about creating community. That was the same rationale behind our fashion show. People who care about green fashion also care deeply about a lot of related issues, and want the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with others.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our Eco-friendly Costume was a WINNER!

Like I have mentioned before, I just LOVE Halloween. This year, I had the opportunity to create not just one, but THREE great, eco-friendly, costumes. (You saw the first one, Queen of Hearts, in an earlier post). I ended up entering one of the costumes (a dead mermaid costume - the idea based on the costume I wrote about in my last post) in a contest sponsored by a green blog called Inhabitat and . . . I WON! (Honestly, there weren't that many entries, but still.)

Here is a little about how I created the costume:

The costume is titled "Death by Plastic". I loved the idea of communicating an environmental message (that oceanlife is being killed every day by plastic garbage and other pollution floating around our oceans), while still being able to have some Halloween fun with a gory/flirty costume. I thought it would be interesting to take some of the same things that are actually responsible for killing animals and reclaim them for my costume. Therefore, the fish scales are made from about 30 plastic bags that I collected from my neighborhood gutters and from neighbors (as we try to avoid plastic bags, we only had 2). I used this tutorial to fuse the bags. The texture that is created was just so perfect for fish scales. I then spray painted them gold. All of the plastic refuse used in the costume - and scattered around me in the photos - was collected last summer at Old Silver Beach on Cape Cod (I was going to do a blog on it because I was so astounded by how much plastic I found on this lovely little beach, but, um, never got around to it. I esp. like the doll leg that is glued to the front of my corset.) The corset was bought at a vintage clothing store in DC (at Meeps!!) and dyed. I had the shells (for the corset) and the material for the tail from previous projects. The tail is stuffed with more plastic bags. You can't tell from the pics, but I had a little string attached to my tail that allowed me to "flip" it around. (That was my one of my favorite parts! It was like having a tail puppet!).

Also, I carried little information pamphlets (any opportunity to talk about these issues!!) in my cleavage (hello, dead mermaids don't have pockets!) that said the following:

Beautiful Things Die in Our Oceans Every Day
Due to Plastic Garbage

What Can
YOU Do?
· Use as little plastic as possible (no bottled water, use reusable bags, avoid excessive packaging)
· Pick up plastic trash off the street; participate in river clean ups
· Recycle everything you can and demand plastic recycling in your area if there isn’t any

www.greatgarbagepatch.org
www.RighteousRestyle.com

I made a point not to force these on anyone (esp. when one guy refused to hear anything more about it), but most people were very curious about the issue and what my costume was trying to say. So it provided a great way to segue into my little (very limited) story.



For more info, go to www.greatgarbagepatch.org.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Tips on Green Halloween Costumes from Around the Interwebs

Wear your green heart on your sleeve.
Make a statement about the future of the ocean.
Or, just find something to do with that broken umbrella.

Check out these sites:

  • Choose from "Global Warming", "Green Business" and other green issue costumes at this helpful site (no pix though).


  • Martha Stewart always comes up with interesting ways to create unique costumes that are not that resource intensive. Her focus is on small details that create the character. I especially like the black umbrella bat (I am sure there are plenty of broken black umbrellas around since its been so rainy and windy in DC the last few days.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Off With Your Heads!! (and Other Thoughts of a Green Halloween)

Halloween has always been the unofficial kick-off to my favorite time of the year - celebrations with family and friends (my birthday), fancy dresses (and costumes!), good food . . . and the opportunity to do it all in the greenest way possible. I love the challenge of entertaining and gift giving that maintains my commitment to style AND (eco-friendly) substance.

We just held our Halloween party last night. Like all of our parties, I worked hard to make it as green an event as possible, while still creating a fun atmosphere for our guests. Its a little more complicated with Halloween, because I always want to decorate the house - plus, there is that whole costume thing. This makes the event more resource intensive than just having some people over for food and drinks.

Here are some of the things I did to make our Halloween get-together green, without being "crunchy" (and without spending a freakin' fortune):

Costumes

Queen of Hearts Costume:
Bought:
Dress (Ebay); Gold Cord; stick-on felt for hearts on dress.
Found: plastic water bottle for crown.
Owned: fishnet stockings; vintage red boots; 2 small crown brooches.


Mad Hatter Costume:
Bought: Poster board for hat; plaid pants from Goodwill (not shown)
Owned: all other clothing; material and ribbon to cover hat; stuffed mouse


(Note my friend Mike's creative use of sunglasses, a paper bag and white paper. Brilliant!!)

Tips:
  • Be creative - a little goes a long way!!
  • Try to buy as few new things as possible!
  • Use what you already own, just purchase a few key details.
  • Borrow a costume from someone.
  • Shop at Thrift stores for costume-y pieces.
What I did:

Our "theme" (although all of our friends usually ignore my fruitless efforts to actually have a theme) this year was Alice in Wonderland. Instead of buying my costume, I constructed one out of various secondhand, craft materials and things I already owned. I know, some people will say "I'm just not crafty - I can't do that" - but it is actually much easier than you think. Here is what I did: Since I went as the Queen of Hearts, I bought a used red prom dress on Ebay. With a few quick hand sewn stitches, two pins that I already owned and some stick-on felt hearts, I was done. I constructed my crown from a discarded plastic bottle (which I actually picked up from the gutter outside of my house - love DC), gold ribbon and some wire (I hope to post a tutorial at some point). The boots I wore are vintage and were purchased almost 6 years ago at Eastern market (I just KNEW there would be an opportunity to rock them!) I already had the fishnets.

Mark's Mad Hatter costume was basically a combination of various pieces of clothing from both our closets. The plaid pants were from Goodwill and I constructed the hat from poster board and fabric (luckily, you can't see my sloppy glue gun effort . . . btw, my glue gun is the best $4.99 that I ever spent. It's great for fixing hems, fixing things around the house, all sorts of crazy craft projects . . . ) I used this great tutorial for the hat. I had the small stuffed mouse.

Party
Tips:
  • Reduce waste (don't use disposable plates, glasses or utensils).
  • Use recycled and biodegradable products.
  • Buy organic and local food and alcohol.
  • Recycle and compost whatever is left.

What I did:

Partyware: First of all, we never ever ever use disposable plates/glasses/or utensils . . . and not because it isn't the greenest way to go, but because its effing TACKY. Seriously. You are a stylish person, you live in a well decorated house, you're wearing an expensive dress, why would you use Dixie plates? Is loading the dishwasher an extra time really that much of an effort for you? Some people may say, well, I just don't have enough plates, etc. for an entire party. What I say is, there are plenty of ways around this!! First of all, you can easily load up on party ware at your local Goodwill stores for just a few dollars. There are LOADS of serving trays, dishes, fancy glasses, pitchers, etc. there for sale (and no, it does not have to match!) You can also BORROW partyware from friends. Lastly, why not ask your friends to bring a dish with them when they come? Don't be shy to share your reasons for this request - green is so hip right now, you'll be given extra props for doing it the right way.

Drinks: Each time we entertain, I think that I am going to invest in a keg for the occasion. It is probably the greenest thing to do: kegs are made from steel, which is N. America's most recycled material. There is also no waste from bottle and caps - and no resources necessry to make them in the first place! Unfortunately, I am much too much of a beer connoisseur to have only one type of beer at my parties. But, we do recycle all the bottles that are used (you would be amazed at how many parties I've attended where there was NO recycling!) Although I had wanted to buy some organic brews this time around, they were just a bit too expensive for our underemployed household.

Food: We purchased food from the Takoma Park Co-op. This included cheese made without hormones and antibiotics, from cows that were ethically raised; organic fruit; and various other organic and natural ingredients for some of the things we made. For napkins, we used Seventh Generation paper towels folded into napkins. We composted anything that we could including used napkins (yes, I actually picked through the trash to find the ones that were thrown away since I forgot to mention to people not to thrown them out) and any veggies.

Decor

(Note playing card garlands! AND, note Mike's cotton ball bunny tail . . .)
Tips:
  • Use things that you already own.
  • Re-use decorations saved from other events.
  • Borrow decorations from friends.
  • Make your own with easy on-line tutorials.

What I did: Of course, the best part of the Halloween party for me is the decorating. I LOVE decorating - it really helps to set a festive mood. First of all, I used tissue paper streamers that I had saved from a Valentine's Day party several years ago. Then, I found some old packs of cards (that we never used), punched little holes in the tops and used hemp twine to make streamers. I have to admit that I did purchase 6 plastic flamingos on Ebay that were probably made in China (I know, I know, but I HAD to have them since this was an Alice in Wonderland soiree). Instead of having a table centerpiece, I made a mobile of printed out Alice characters. (I got the illustrations from this blog). I also had meant to make a big banner that said "Off With Their Heads!!", but we ran out of time. Oh well. Next time.

So there it is. I hope that this helps you make you Halloween just a little bit greener.

Have fun!

As always, special thanks to Mark Silva Photography. And check out his blog here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Press For Our Little Blog, Baby!

Secondhand Savvy

2 Shoppers Hit 5 Thrift Stores in 1 Day. Do They Discover Deals, Or Duds?

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, October 12, 2008; Page N01


"Unless you've been buried under a mountain of summer clothes, you know that the economic forecast is not sunny these days. And no matter how you spin it, a half-off designer dress isn't really a bargain if it's not in your budget. Intrepid shoppers that we are, we decided to apply our skills to the world of thrift shopping.

But be warned: Neither of us are experienced thrifters, able to spot a vintage Dior dress amid a rack of musty polyester blouses. We're at opposite ends of the enthusiasm spectrum, too. Holly is drawn to the challenge of digging for sartorial treasure; Michelle cops to being "too prissy" to comb through castoffs. Still, we'd heard heaps of praise for secondhand shopping: You'll often find more high-quality, long-lasting items than at H&M et al., and it's easy on the wallet and even easier on the Earth.

"Making something new takes a lot of resources, creates a lot of waste and has serious environmental impacts," says Maria Fyodorova, who writes the local blog Righteous (re)Style, which promotes eco-friendly shopping. "You will get many more style points from wearing unique, often one-of-a-kind pieces than you would get from buying everything at a mass-market chain store."
"

read more here!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More About the House of Sweden

Read more about the House of Sweden event at Foto Vida blog - here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Eco-fashion Stops by DC - Part One: Lost in Translation?

On Friday night, I attended the lovely House of Sweden for a party and fashion show for Nudie Jeans, a Swedish company that is getting way hot in the US and, to my great interest, has committed to a corporate mission that takes into account its corporate social responsibility. [As a matter of fact, on the day before, I had attended a very interesting seminar – also at the House of Sweden - that focused on “Clothing and Conscience” (more on that later on my other blog: The Good, the Bad and the Tacky)] Back to the part-ay.

For a few short hours (before the untucked button-down crowd rolled in), stylish Europeans mingled with DC’s hipster crowd on the roof deck of the House of Sweden (which also serves as the Swedish Embassy). They enjoyed the setting sun and looked at reproductions of t-shirt designs that Nudie Jeans commissioned from various artists and designers to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to benefit Amnesty International. The night progressed with a fashion show highlighting Nudie’s jeans and t-shirts for fall, and 4 or 5 pretty amazing designs that were made from reclaimed vintage denim. Unfortunately, most of the attendees (at the least the ones I talked to) had expected to see a show that mostly highlighted the recycled denim designs, which didn’t end up being the case. As for the rest of the fashions shown . . . well, at this point, I would like to say that I am not a fashion writer, nor do I play one on TV. I am just a writer who happens to have an interest in fashion and a passionate awareness of how things we do affect the living world around us. So, for the fashion side, all I will say is that the line seemed rather um, uh . . . urban . . . ? T-shirts and jeans and plaid shirts and peacoats and hoodies . . . you can only be moved somuch by a skinny guy strolling past in a pair of skinny legged jeans (sliding off his butt) and a t-shirt. And the emotional impact decreases further with each passing skinny guy in skinny legged jeans . . . It would have been nice, as Rachel commented, to have been able to get a close-up look at the jeans and to feel the organic cotton t-shirts.

That said, I am excited by Nudie’s commitment to its social and environmental responsibility. During the seminar on Thursday, the founder of Nudie, Maria Levin, spoke rather eloquently about her company’s commitment to the people who help make Nudie jeans (the cotton growers, the indigo makers, the tailors, etc.) and to the surrounding environment. There is nothing I love better than a hip company that is also aware. They are few and far between, kids.

But, there seemed to be a bit of a disconnect between what the company was saying, and how they were presenting themselves that night. Image is everything in the US and first impressions count. Although the party was laid-back cool with hot dogs and American beer (um, ick?), there could have been so much more done to communicate the message of what Nudie jeans is doing in their supply chain to the party’s attendees. Small changes, like serving a few organic beers or offering meat alternative hot dogs (don’t laugh, they’re yummy!) would have been a small, but memorable way to show the attendees that Nudie “walks the talk”, as we Americans like to say. And the slideshow – did anyone even mention anything about the slideshow being projected on the wall?? Companies that are trying to operate responsibly are tasked with a dual burden – revising their own approach AND educating the consumer on why they should care that the company is revising their approach. Nudie missed an opportunity to get the guests at the party to understand the real attraction of buying a pair of their jeans – its not the perfectly faded denim or the fact that they used models with tattoos or that (according to the denim buyer from one of the NYC Bloomingdales) Nudie jeans always sell out – it is that by investing in a pair of Nudie jeans, you are helping a company change the way things are done, one pair of saggy-butted, skinny-legged jeans at a time.

We should all support companies like Nudie – who publicly stand up and talk about change. And maybe its like reviewing a restaurant within the first month of opening since Nudie is just so new to the US market. In any case, if you need a new pair of jeans, consider heading over to the Denim Bar or Barney's Co-Op to get yourself a pair (esp. if they are one of the 20 styles made from organic cotton, yo). This blogger approves.

Now that my blabbering is done, here are some photos.

The Show



The Crowd


Look for more photos here soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trashy Style, Yo

I love this bag from YSL:

But with a price tag of almost $2000, I am guessing it is NOT made from old zippers. But why not? It could be!! Here are some awesome bags made from things that would otherwise end up in a landfill:


Ashley Watson makes all of her AMAZING bags from reclaimed leather. $345 (Buy here.)


Another Ashley Watson Bag. $104 (Buy here.)

This great bag is made from scraps of Knoll fabric that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Made by Ouno, available via Etsy here. ($140)


This sweet little clutch is made from reclaimed vintage upholstery (prob. from an old sofa cushion or something). Avail. on Etsy here. ($120)


This eco-friendly handbag is made from 2 layers of factory excess industrial wool felt
and has a zipper sewn around the edges. Get it here (via Elsewares, a very cool site). ($115)



These last two are made from some thing I never expected . . . wait for it . . reclaimed car upholstery from the 70s and 80s!! Find them at Kim White Handbags. $95 and $105.

Righteous (re)Style Gets Press. Niiiiice.

From the Washington Post's Express:

"What's old becomes very new again, thanks to Yuppie Decor, an Arlington-based furniture rehab business that sells its pieces at Georgetown's Maison Living (2601 P St. NW; 202.337.1731). "Antique furniture is better built, has better lines and is more stylish," says Aaron Hase, who co-owns the company with his wife, Shannon (both pictured). "But a lot of it doesn't fit peoples' style today. So, we take antique and mid-century furniture and revive it in bold style." This often means painting Grandma's chair or tuffet a high-gloss black or white and reupholstering it in a punchy textile. Think an old Hollywood-style chaise covered in a modern black and white floral ($550) or a black antique boudoir bench upholstered in a bright green print ($115). It's all very Tory Burch goes to Palm Beach, but Yuppie pieces would play well in both modern or traditional interiors. And, really, "purchasing secondhand furniture is the greenest way to go," says D.C.'s Maria Fyodorova, who runs the popular Righteous (re)Style blog. "It gives you a unique piece that no one else will have."

read more here . . . .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Designers for Obama

I am sure many of you have seen this, but a number of fashion designers came together to design some schwag for the Obama campaign ("Runway to Change"). A few of the items are really awesome and will definitely be collector's items. So, get yours now HERE before they sell out (all of the artist contributions for the Obama campaign sold out almost immediately). Here's a few that I especially like:




"Change" T-shirt by Alexander Wang. I saw this one in a few photos from
NY Fashion Week and loved it!
It is subtle, but bold. ($45)




I also like this bag from Diane Von Furstenberg. It has a fun 70s vibe to it. ($75)


This is a scarf by Rachel Roy that features the
famous Gandhi quote: "be the change you want to see in the world." ($95)


Everything is Union made in the USA!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Le Swoon!

"Under Paris" skies . . . or, at least, on legally French soil . . . beau and I attended the "Fashion of Goodwill" event at the French Embassy last night. The event was comprised of a silent auction of about 100 carefully selected items that had been donated to Goodwill donation centers over the last year and a fashion show made up of outfits, shoes and accessories that were also donated.

Honestly, when I first heard about the concept, I was interested, but didn't know what to expect. In the end, the show blew me away. Tu-anh, from Polished by Tu-anh, and her team of stylists, did an amazing job styling the outfits to be so very current that you might have thought you were in a "best trends of NY fashion week" show at several points. We were treated to a lot of the retro-hip "Mad Men" early-60s silhouettes that are so prominent this Fall (fur accents, sheath dresses, feminine shapes, Asian influences, luxe metallics, hats, camel coats . . .).

For me, the most unexpected moment of the evening came when Catherine Meloy, President & CEO of Goodwill of Greater Washington, announced at the end of the show that all the modeled looks would be available for sale immediately after the show in the lobby. My notes say: "Ladies, rev up your credit cards." And rev up the credit cards they did. There was a bit of initial mayhem as savvy fashionistas pursued the racks being wheeled from the back of the stage, angling to catch sight of their targeted item. (Oh, wait. Maybe that was just me . . .) In any case, I found the dress I was hunting for immediately and, politely - yet with a determined air - ignored the woman who was holding the other end of the hanger. I had the top, and therefore, a significantly better grip, so there was really no discussion to be had. ; )

Here is the dress I lucked out on:

The still photo really does not do justice to how the light played with the beading and how the fabric swooshed and swayed. As one woman described it (in a ladies’ room post-show chat), it is a killer dancing dress.

The event was also a rendezvous of sorts for various DC-based fashion-friendly bloggers, all invited by the Goodwill Fashionista, whose meticulous selections from Goodwill stores were featured throughout the show and in the silent auction (um, if you haven’t figured it out from reading her blog, she works for Goodwill). Although I did not have a chance to meet all the bloggers that were there - or even chat for more than a few moments with any of the ones I did meet (or anyone for that matter - as good parties usually go) – they were definitely the most stylish bunch in the place. If you haven't already, check out their blogs/sites: Pandahead, Listopad, The President Wears Prada, Brightest Young Things. One of my other favorite bloggers was there (the Anti-DC) - and, you know, she is much sweeter than her slighty caustic- always funny blog would lead you to believe. She hovered as long as I did amongst the racks (most of the other folks had departed already).

It was nice to be at a fashion event that emphasized individual style and an eco-friendly approach to fashion . Although I am sure some of the stylish women in attendance had purchased their evening frocks from Neiman's or Saks (Jandel, that is), many were obviously wearing vintage ensembles, maintaining the theme of the evening. As one of the speakers before the runway show noted, the "House of Goodwill" was out in style last night. It was so very exciting for me to see the amazing looks that had been put together for the evening because that is very much what this blog is about – being true to your style by curating your wardrobe from vintage, secondhand and, yes, sometimes, new items. Not just haphazardly purchasing whatever the next trend is or buying clothing and accessories to fill emotional voids . . . but, really, truly developing your individual style, one well-made piece at a time. Also, as I noted to one of the marketing folks last night, as more and more consumers become excited about the idea of buying secondhand and vintage items (for environmental, financial or fashion reasons), Goodwill can fill an important market niche. And because many stores (especially in metropolitan areas) get a great variety of high-end and everyday items, Goodwill can target a different consumer than I think they have before - for higher revenues, which go directly to helping those in need with job training support. Everyone wins!!

So, without further ado, here are some moments from last night festivities. For ALL the pictures, click here and here (with thanks to Mark Silva Photography).

Blogger shoes chatting ("love your shoes!" "no, love your shoes!": (l-r), Pandahead, (friend of) The President Wears Prada, The President Wears Prada, moi, Brightest Young Things.



The Fashion Show opened with a tango.

A breathtaking kimono-esque evening gown.

Seriously checking out the vintage pretties.

Nowhere to sit, but who cares!

A long line at the check out formed quickly.

Massive bags (biodegradable plastic, thank you!) were hauled out at the end of the night.


Hangars exhibit signs of raucous shopping.


And, like the good eco-fashionista that I am, I went home on the bus.

Ze End
(note French Accent).

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