The best party dresses to rent or buy pre-loved, as styled by the Marie Claire team

Here's how to embrace party dressing the sustainable way.

Party dresses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sequins, feathers and metallic fabrics at the ready, party dress season is officially upon us! While this time of year is often about indulgence and celebration, the harsh reality is that party season also results in quite a lot of waste. 

According to Oxfam, a reported 1.7 million sequinned items are binned after party season. In addition to this, eBay reports that 58% of people only wear their sequin outfits once or twice before either donating to charity or throwing the item away. Given that sequins are made from plastic, these items will never biodegrade, meaning that all those discarded sparkly dresses are set to sit in landfill for years to come. 

That's why, this year, the Marie Claire team are either renting or buying pre-loved party dresses. Want to invest in an extra-special piece? Luxury resale platform and boutique Sellier has some red carpet-worthy designer dresses, all pre-loved and all in excellent condition; our Editor-in-Chief Andrea chose a beautiful Elie Saab gown to wear to this year's Fashion Awards.

There are so many treasures to be found at eBay, too, from pre-loved Rixo and Ghost to collectable vintage gowns from the 1930s, and beyond.

If the freedom of renting is more your speed, then there are plenty of options across HURR, Rites, Cloan, By Rotation and Matches Fashion Rental

Save the sequins from landfill this party season; there are so many alternative options around. Keep scrolling for an edit of the best secondhand and rental party dresses, as styled and curated by team Marie Claire.  

Andrea Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Pre-loved Elie Saab dress from Sellier

Andrea Thompson wears an Elie Saab dress from Sellier to the Fashion Awards 2023

(Image credit: Andrea Thompson)

For this year's Fashion Awards, Marie Claire UK's Editor-in-Chief Andrea Thompson wore an emerald-green Elie Saab gown from Sellier.

The luxury resale platform specialises in pristine, pre-loved designer pieces, with an online store and four bricks-and-mortar locations, including two in London. 'I was so impressed with the quality of dresses and bags in the store when I visited,' Andrea says. 

As well as dream dresses from the likes of Alessandra Rich, Giambattista Valli, and Alaïa, Sellier has some seriously covetable accessories; we're talking Hermès and Chanel bags and other rare treasures.

Sellier: Our Edit

Ally Head, Senior Health & Sustainability Editor

Rented Clio Peppiatt dress from By Rotation

Ally Head wears Clio Peppiatt from By Rotation

(Image credit: Ally Head)

Our Senior Health & Sustainability Editor, Ally Head, rents many of her special-occasion looks. True to form, Ally loaned this incredible Clio Peppiatt dress from By Rotation for the Marie Claire UK Christmas party and accessorised it with a vintage Fendi baguette from eBay. 

Ally's dress is from the special By Rotation x NET-A-PORTER edit, which is a curated selection of runway favourites from the luxury retailer, including pieces from The Vampire's Wife and Galvan.

By Rotation also has rental options from emerging brands, including Peachy Den and Sleeper.

By Rotation: Our Edit

Penny Goldstone, Contributing Fashion Editor

Rented Solace London dress from HURR

Penny Goldstone wears Solace London to Fashion Awards 2023

(Image credit: Penny Goldstone)

Marie Claire UK's Contributing Fashion Editor Penny Goldstone stepped out on the red carpet at the Fashion Awards 2023 in a Solace London gown that she rented from HURR. The showstopping outfit included an elegant black dress and contrasting pink cape with dramatic, billowing sleeves.

Think of HURR as your almost limitless and very stylish extended wardrobe. The platform has over 60,000 items that can be rented for parties, weddings and more. Have an enviable wardrobe and want to earn some extra money? Consider becoming a HURR lender.

HURR has also teamed up with NET-A-PORTER on a curated edit of the most beautiful partywear, including super-special pieces from the likes of Taller Marmo and Alessandra Rich.

HURR: Our Edit

More rental and pre-loved party dresses





Zoe Anastasiou
Fashion Editor

Zoe Anastasiou is a Fashion Editor with over eight years of experience working across digital publications in New York, London and Australia. She has contributed to publications including Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE Australia, and was the Fashion and Social Media Editor at Who What Wear UK before joining Marie Claire.