Finding a prom dress for the prom doesn’t have to empty out your wallet or max out your credit card. With a little time and imagination you can find a gently used and inexpensive prom dress for little cost to you and little waste to the environment. Take a look at the eco-friendly and money saving options below and learn how to reduce your carbon prom print with an eco-friendly prom dress.
1. Turn to Freecycle
Always post a want ad at Freecycle for a prom dress before you look anywhere else. Depending on your Freecycle community regulations, you may have to post an offer first before you post a want ad, but this will not be difficult. Just think about something you have that you no longer need or want, but can still be useful to someone else. Then post it as an offer. Next post your want ad for a prom dress. For your prom dress want ad let the members know what size you are looking for. You can also post what color and style you are looking for too, but this may limit your options. If you have some sewing skills or know someone that does you can then upcycle this gently used dress, to your own style with a few personal touches.
2. Resale Shops/ Consignments/ Thrifts Stores/Goodwill
Another place to find a prom dress is to look for places where gently used clothing is sold, such as: a resale shop, a consignment store for women, a thrift store or a charity resale store like Goodwill. There is usually a section at these facilities with formal wear, including formal dresses. There you will find a variety of sizes and designs of formal dresses you can tailor to your needs. Maybe you can sew a piece of one dress with another. Use your imagination.
3. In Your Mom’s Closet
Fashion is always changing and sometime old styles come back into style with a modern look to it. So, look in your mom’s closet for the your special dress. Look through your mom’s elegant dresses she hasn’t worn in years. Maybe she is still holding onto her old prom dress. Take a good look at it. Can you make it your own? Can you update it? Think about adding embellishments to the dress.
4. On Craigslist
Post a want ad for a free or inexpensive prom dress. Ask for digital pictures of the dress to be emailed to you. If you like the picture make an offer for the dress (barter or money) and ask to see it in person. For safety make sure to take someone with you to see the dress. If you like the dress in person follow through with the offer you made.
5. Family, Friends and Neighbor
Ask your family, friends and neighbors if they have, or someone they know has an elegant dress you can use as a prom dress in their closet. As always, if you find something you have the option of wearing it as it is or fashion it to your your liking. There are many how-to videos and articles online to help you along the way.
6. Formal Dress Swap
Organize a clothing swap specifically for elegant/formal dresses. Post a flyer everywhere and invite your family, friends, and neighbors. You can help yourself and many others find their prom dresses.
7. Make Your Own Dress
Another option takes a little more imagination than the rest and it requires recycled material to make your dress. Have you seen dresses made out of recycled material such as: fabric scraps, old blue jeans, old jackets, newspaper, plastic, duct tape and so on. This could look tacky or you could pull it off. The question is do you have the skill to turn trash into a wearable treasure.
All these ideas can be used to find gently used suits for the prom as well. Also don’t forget when prom is over to give it to someone else for next year’s prom. Post your prom dress offer on Craigslist, Freecycle, consign it, swap it or donate it. Keep the green love going and enjoy your prom.
Heather Sperling, Recycle Last Year’s Prom Dress, Planet Green
Leslie Richard, Girl Reconstructed: Upcycling Old Clothes Part 2, Crafting Green World
Jasmin Malik Chua, Project Green Prom Hosts Dress Swap For NYC Teens, Treehugger