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Totally vintageous - search for an eco chic wedding gown

Totally vintageous - search for an eco chic wedding gown

By Wenona Napolitano, author of 'The Everything Green Wedding Book'

Are you considering a green wedding but don't think you're going to find a "green" gown that fits your style? Hemp not your thing? Organic cotton or bamboo doesn't fit the bill either? Maybe you think that eco-friendly gowns don't fit into your image of wearing high fashion.

Don't worry you can still go green and wear high fashion... by wearing a beautiful bridal gown from another era.

Are you a gal that loves the styles from eras long gone? The glamour of vintage fashion, gowns from the golden age of Hollywood. Well, did you know that vintage gowns are a very green option?

Why, you may ask?

They are so vintageously green because no new resources are needed to create them. The greenest choices are the ones that require no energy or new resources to create- a vintage gown fits that definition perfectly.

A touch of history

Vintage gowns have become very popular in recent years, not just because of the massive movement towards going green but a renewed interest in the beauty and style of the past has emerged. Many celebrities have donned vintage gowns for red carpet events and for their own weddings.

Just imagine all the styles and elegant fashions you can choose from. The quiet elegance or flapper styles of the 20s, the understated beauty of the 30s, the glamour of the 50s, and the psychedelic fun of the 60s and 70s. Maybe you wish to go back even farther in time to romantic Edwardian or Victorian fashions.

Do your homework

To research vintage fashions and styles of wedding gowns two fabulous books are Vintage Wedding- Simple Ideas for Creating a Romantic Vintage Wedding by Daniela Turudich and Accessorizing the Bride-Vintage Wedding Finery through the Decades by Norma Shephard.

These books will help you see what kinds of dresses were popular during different decades. That way when you start looking for a vintage bridal gown you'll have a better idea of what to search for.

So where can you find vintage gowns? You never know you may find a gem at a local thrift store, consignment shop, or antique store. You might even be lucky enough to have a vintage clothing retailer in your town.

Online vintage

If not, there's always eBay and a host of online retailers that specialize in vintage gowns. Two well known online retailers are VintageWedding.com and VintageVixen.com. If you are in the UK check out VintageDress.co.uk.

How to find that vintage gown

Be careful when shopping for vintage gowns, especially if you purchase from an online retailer.
  • First of all make sure the gown is not a reproduction but an actual vintage gown. Several popular stores offer vintage "style" dresses. They are not real vintage gowns. That means they are not green. New materials and resources were used to create them.
  • Also be sure that you get a gown that is wearable. Some real vintage gowns are so old and fragile they cannot be worn, at least not without a lot of expensive and time consuming restoration which only a very qualified seamstress could accomplish
  • Ask for full disclosure of the gowns condition. Any stains, rips, or tears? Do the zippers, buttons, snaps, etc all work properly? Is anything missing? Is the elastic in good condition?
  • Ask for plenty of good quality photos so you can examine the gown you are considering.
  • Another big issue with vintage gowns is sizing. Sizes have changed over the years. You'll want to ask for measurements of any gowns you are considering. Get accurate measurements of yourself and an item of clothing that fits you well and compare them.
  • Ask the retailer about refund policies and get insurance on anything shipped to you.
  • The last thing to consider when purchasing a vintage wedding dress is undergarments. You'll want to know what kinds of undergarments were worn with that specific style of dress. Some styles may require a corset or a hoop skirt.
One of the greatest things about going vintage is you can centre your whole wedding theme around the era of your gown. Think flapper 20s, 50s retro, 80s glam, or the restrained elegance of Victorian times.

You'll see that going totally vintageous can be a lot of fun in addition to being so very trendy and green.

The Everything Green Wedding Book

About the author

Wenona Napolitano is the author of 'The Everything Green Wedding Book' out in December 2008. To pre-order your copy go to The Everything Green Wedding Blog.