Shopping in your grandmother’s closet is so green right now. We chatted up Sammy Davis, Pennsylvania-native turned New York vintage curator and blogger, on why wearing old clothes can save the planet. Her awesome brand, Sammy Davis Vintage, touts “sustainable style with substance” as its mission statement. Here’s what she has to say….
You recycle religiously, buy organic groceries and invest in all-natural beauty products. When it comes to living green, you’re feeling pretty golden. But would you say the same for your wardrobe? You can help the environment by greening your closet, too. You’re not only investing in a one-of-a-kind piece that no one else has, you’re also recycling clothes and investing in pieces that will live in your closet instead of rotting in a landfill.
Why you should wear what’s recycled
FYI: Most mainstream fashion (think everything you’d buy at the mall) is produced abroad and then shipped thousands of miles using earth-exhausting resources. Buying vintage fashion instead means you’re investing in high-quality, re-wearable pieces produced and shipped in the United States. Plus, if it’s already lasted a few decades, who’s to say it won’t last a few more?
Where to find the best old-school stuff
Try Yelp.com to look up vintage boutiques near you, or visit the Goodwill or Salvation Army sites to search for the nearest thrift store. Beacon’s Closet, Rag-o-Rama, Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet are a few examples of consignment chains.
If you’re new to vintage, visit your local vintage boutique for a well-curated shopping experience in a fun setting with store help on hand. Thrift stores take some more elbow grease to find a great old-school piece, since you’re sorting through racks of donated clothing to find a gem. The benefit of thrifting: You find vintage at a fraction of the cost, without the markup of buying it at a boutique.
Another option? Keep sustainability in the family and ask older relatives if they’ve kept clothing from decades before. Chances are they’ve got some great pieces collecting dust in their closets—all at your fingertips for free! Shop green from your computer, too—Market Publique is the new online vintage marketplace where boutiques from the around the country list their best pieces.
How to pull off old pieces
Wearing vintage shouldn’t be like wearing a costume—while you may love Mad Men, you don’t want to look like the spitting image of Betty Draper. Add modern touches to update your older threads and make it work with your personal style. You could try wearing one loud vintage piece (like a shirt made of sequins, or a fire-engine red skirt) and toning it down with conservative touches (think black) and classic jewelry (pearls!).
Hats, scarves and jewelry are also great ways to incorporate vintage into your wardrobe without worrying about fit or style. Vintage boutiques offer huge selections of accessories…perfect for those who are a little hesitant to try this out. For example, a vintage clutch means you’ll always have old-school style on hand. Look for a piece that’s ladylike and practical, like a threaded sequin clutch from the ‘50s or larger cross-fit bags that were popular in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Finding vintage shoes is tricky, since old-fashioned sizes are not the same as modern ones. Try them on and if the shoe fits, wear it! Lace-up oxfords, woven flats and sequin pumps are in-trend vintage finds for less. Call ahead to a vintage boutique and inquire about their selection. You’ll be surprised at how modern old soles can be—brands often produce exact duplicates of past styles.
Want more? Read all of Sammy’s tips on wearing vintage and buy pieces from her collection at Sammydvintage.com.