Ethical Outfit Options for Event Season
Event season is here (hooray!), and if you find your refrigerator growing increasingly covered with invites to fancier affairs like weddings, bridal showers, graduations, etc. it can be the cause of both excitement and perhaps a little anxiety about what to wear.
If you're striving to shop ethically and avoid supporting fast fashion, there can be an added level of stress to this season of celebration. There's an unspoken expectation that we need to wear something "new" to express our excitement for whatever event we're preparing for.
Does that mean we have to buy an outfit we'll only wear once in order to feel socially acceptable? No! But nor does it mean we have to stick out like a sore thumb at an event because we refused to buy something nice.
My hope is that this post will give you some ideas that help you stick to your budget, stay true to your ideals of the types of brands you want to support, and allow you to head into your upcoming events with a spring in your step and an outfit you feel great about!
1. Borrow / Rent
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Renting and/or borrowing clothes for special events is the way to go! If you have a friend who wears a similar size to you, consider swapping outfits at alternating events. The two of you will feel like you've got something fresh and new to show off and neither of you have to spend a dime! When that's not an option, renting is a super affordable (and sustainable!) option as well. I recommend Rent the Runway for special events.
2. Buy it for forever
If you do need to make a purchase, you'll feel more confident in spending the extra cash to purchase responsibly if you know it's an item that you'll wear over and over. This is the time to think style over trend. Finding classic silhouettes and neutral colors makes it way more likely that an item you purchase for an event will be suitable to wear over and over. The Nisolo shoes Jordan and I are wearing in these photos are a perfect example of this. (Lucia Block Heel in Black for me and Calano Oxford in Saddle Brown for Jordan) They are our "event" shoes, but they aren't so statement-y that we'd feel weird about wearing them in everyday life. These are the kind of things you want to invest in long-term, not pink stilettos. (Nothing against the color pink, or stilettos.)
3. build on your basics
I know, I know, I talk about basics all the time... but it's for good reason! Starting with something like a little black dress (or my personal go-to this summer: a little black jumpsuit as pictured here!) leaves you the option of wearing the same main item to multiple events while making it look really different when you change up your jewelry, makeup, hairstyle, add a silk neck scarf, etc. These sound like minor changes, but they really can make it look like an entirely new outfit to someone else.
4. Thrift Shop
Now, this comes down to how much time you have, but going to a vintage/thrift shop can be an amazing way to find unique and really fun party outfits for special occasions! I have some friends who have scored stunning dresses from the 60's that look right at home at a modern social event. This option can take a little more time so don't rush!
If you're only going to wear it once, borrow or rent it! If you need to buy it, make it something you can wear over and over. And if you have something classy and neutral already, dress it up with different accessories!
These tips are for those attending events as a guest. If you're planning the wardrobe for your bridal party, check out both Nisolo Shoes and Sseko Designs for amazing discounts when you purchase for a group!