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Dress healthy
The new forward-looking organic product? Clothing.

AmONG all our New Year’s resolutions to eat more healthily, exercise more frequently, and drink less often, some people are adding the decision to dress healthier in 2005. Organic food is, dare we say, passé. It’s no longer a cutting-edge subject, having become an accepted phenomenon in present-day culture. The new forward-thinking and chic organic product is clothing, as evidenced by the growing number of organic-clothing stores in the area. This apparel isn’t the muddied off-white T-shirt you might associate with unbleached cloth. Today’s organic garments come in a wide array of colors, cuts, and sizes — making healthy dressing one of the easiest resolutions to maintain this year.

Patagonia and Nike were among the first large clothing retailers to bring ecological-clothing enlightenment to the fashion-concerned masses, by providing functional and fashionable organic-clothing lines. In their stores, there are displays depicting the evils of mass-produced cotton and its effects on farmers, soil, and water. Did you know that cotton is the most chemically dependent crop in the world, accounting for 25 percent of worldwide insecticide use? Placed beside these bulletins is Patagonia’s mystic-blue organic-cotton Henley ($40), which allows you to be stylish and comfortable while decrying the evils of non-organic cotton. Or perhaps you’d be happier quietly protesting in the store’s sultan-red organic-wool poncho ($180).

Smaller retailers have also joined the organic riots, selling women’s, men’s, children’s, and home lines. Cottonfield sells a black French-terry swing jacket ($72), which can be paired with a matching black French-terry slim skirt ($48) for a casual business meeting or Sunday brunch.

Or perhaps hemp is your organic fabric of choice. After all, it’s not only eco-friendly but patriotic, too: the first American flag was made of hemp, and two Founding Fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, grew the crop. But while hemp may be categorized as a patriotic, organic fabric, the Hempest embraces present-day globalization doctrines. Here, the environmentally savvy shopper can purchase a red Mandarin jacket with toggle buttons ($218), a black, purple-lined taiga poncho ($148), or a light-jade Toulouse coat ($259).

The by-product of dressing healthier in 2005 is that you can sleep a little easier, knowing that you’ve played a part in reducing water and soil contamination. And you don’t have to lose your sense of style to do it.

Where to find it:

• Cottonfield, 119 Braintree Street, Suite 312, Boston, (617) 787-8112; www.cottonfieldusa.com

• The Hempest, 207 Newbury Street, Boston, (617) 421-9944; www.hempest.com

• Patagonia, 346 Newbury Street, Boston, (617) 424-1776; www.patagonia.com

Issue Date: January 21 - 27, 2005
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