Fashion editor Penny Goldstone shares her sustainable party season tips...
For years party season was my favourite time of the year to shop. The prospect of office parties and drinks with friends, coupled with my penchant for anything glitter or feather adorned, meant that I was only too happy to spend my November paycheque on a party dress or two.
Of course, much like with winter wedding guest outfits, you couldn’t be tagged in the same outfit twice, so I’d merrily buy 3-4 outfits for December, which I’d carelessly forget until the following year, at which point my appetite for sequins would only be satisfied by buying something new, and so the cycle continued. Until now.
I wrote earlier this year about how the lockdown had affected my shopping habits, and I’m pleased to say my feelings have stayed the same. In short, I want to avoid overconsumption and buy less, but better. So buying a new outfit that I’ll only wear once or twice doesn’t sit well with me this year.
This is what I’ll be doing instead, in case you’re thinking of approaching festive fashion in a more sustainable way this season.
Renting a party dress
The boom in online clothing rental sites means it’s never been easier to borrow gorgeous designer dresses, for a fraction of the retail cost. If you’d rather see the gown IRL before renting it, you’re in luck, because of slew of rental pop-ups have opened, just in time for party season.
HURR Concept Store: Rental marketplace HURR is offering you the opportunity to rent outfits for one night only, for your Christmas parties, before returning them the next day so they can be dry-cleaned. Pop into the store and try on its bestselling (or renting?) pieces, from maxi dresses to mini skirts, by popular designers including Sleeper, Rixo, Aje, Needle & Thread, Jacquemus and more. You can also shop sustainable gifts and get pampered or enjoy workshops. The store will be open until 24th December at 114 King’s Road, London.
The By Rotation Holiday Pop-up: Stylishly designed by Studio Arva, the By Rotation pop-up gives you the opportunity to discover the specially curated edits from the platform’s community’s wardrobes, which include coveted brands such as Molby The Label, Jakke & Silvia Astore. There is also a charity collection featuring second-hand gems from Shelter, with all rental proceeds from the edit being donated to help tackle homelessness in the UK. Find it until the end of January at 98 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2QA.
Rewear what you already own
It sound blindingly obvious, but as the intro in this article suggests, I have many party dresses that I’ve collated over the years to choose from. My friends and family don’t care if they’ve seen my outfit before, so why should I? The more trend-led pieces, I’ve loaned to rental platforms so that they can bring a bit of joy to someone else this season, but I’ve kept a few pieces for myself.
My top tip if you’re looking to invest in a forever party piece? Keep things simple. My most worn outfits are a black velvet tuxedo from Boden, a feather-trimmed pyjama set from Sleeper and a printed silk dress from Rixo.
Sustainable fashion brands
If you DO want to go ahead and buy a new outfit, that’s obviously fine too, we all deserve a treat after the year we’ve had. But it might be worth going about it in a more mindful way, for example by buying from a sustainable fashion brand. Whether the label is all about producing in small quantities, investing in sustainable materials or ethical practices, it’s a far better choice than your regular fast fashion fix.
Whatever you choose to wear, I hope you have a wonderful festive season.