Pulse: Chatter: Trends: Shades of Green

Eco-friend or eco-faux?

The idea of green as chic appeared in these parts around the time the iPhone became the new Tory Burch ballet flat/Alhambra necklace/Birkin bag. As all of us — everyone who was anyone, anyway — sent out our touch-screen e-mails, the customized electronic signatures revealed a shift. Eschewing the showy standard “sent from my iPhone,” a more glamorously green generation programmed in eco sign-offs: “Respect the earth. Think before printing this e-mail”; “Go Green”; “Love your mother. Earth.”

[sidebar]Suddenly, Philadelphia’s platinum-card set, the same group who’d only recently super-sized McMansions and double-parked Escalades, saw it fit (and fashionable) to speak out against pollution, melting icebergs, deforestation, processed foods, species extinction, and, you know … those things. The Queens of King of Prussia invested in reusable totes — Louis Vuitton and Anya Hindmarch made nice ones — insisted their housekeepers buy organic, stocked up on Sigg bottles, and affixed magnetic Earth symbols to well-waxed bumpers. A change was afoot, and a foot was regularly pedicured with toluene-free Zoya polish.

“Reduce, reuse and recycle should be what it’s all about,” says Gladwyne’s Michele Seidman, a full-time mom who’s been eating organic for nearly six years, and who recently posted “Being green is getting expensive” on her Facebook page. But she reports that the Main Line’s ecologically correct intentions don’t exactly match its actions: “I’ll go over to a friend’s, open the refrigerator, and see 900 bottles of water,” she says. “People try to act like they’re more conscientious than they are.” Although Michele drives a Mercedes GL450 (downsized from a Lincoln Navigator), she’s shopping for a replacement that’s suitably large, smartly priced and cleaner-emitting, in that order.

“I try,” says Katy Krause, of Lafayette Hill. “I buy reusable bags, but I still use plastic. And don’t ask me what’s so hard about filling up an aluminum water bottle and sticking it in the fridge, but for some reason, I find it very difficult.”

“There are so many faux greens out there,” sniffs another suburban mom. “They’re driving around in SUVs, smoking, shopping like there’s no tomorrow. Everyone wants to be green, but no one wants to give anything up.”

So on April 22nd, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we realize environmentally conscious glamour — like that embodied by adorable Narberth residents Ali and Chris McCloud, owner of eco-minded Arcadia Boutique and eco interior designer, respectively — is more rarity than reality. Oh well. Maybe next year.