Newness is overrated. The most sustainable thing to wear to a party is the thing you already own. So, shop your wardrobe. “Party wear is usually not worn very often, so do you really have to buy something new?” asks personal stylist Anna Berkeley (annaberkeley.com). “And unless you’re a clinical minimalist, you might have overlooked something. When I’m doing wardrobe clearouts with clients they’re constantly saying, ‘Oh, I forgot about that!’” And if there’s something you are not wearing, is it because it needs adjusting? “I have a black Tibi dress that is a great fit, but it’s not quite the right length on my leg, so I’m going to get a tailor to add a feather trim to the bottom,” says Berkeley.

Steph Stevens, a fashion editor and stylist whose clients include Alexa Chung, recently launched a consultancy service specialising in archive clothing that she sells or rents, with inspiration pictures on her Instagram feed @happydays_stephstevens. One of her tips for parties is tying a coloured ribbon around a shirt collar. “I like slightly unusual colours – my favourite is mint green, which looks great with white or black.” She also suggests taking your silk pyjamas out for the night. “They have to be a decent pair, but you can split them up so that you get two looks for the price of one. Wear the trousers with a dressy shoe, the shirt with a blazer and jeans.” And it doesn’t have to be all about the clothes. “A good red matt lipstick can up the tempo of an outfit.” She likes Glossier’s Generation G sheer matte in Zip.

READ  Garth - 22nd October 2019

Find a vintage treasure

Loving the red carpet: Kate Moss wearing a vintage Halston gown.



Loving the red carpet: Kate Moss wearing a vintage Halston gown. Photograph: Gisela Schober/Getty Images

Clothes can have a life beyond their first owner. If second-hand (vintage, darling) is good enough for Kate Moss, who are we to argue? The thought is certainly catching on, with sales of second-hand goods rising faster than new. Last month, Selfridges London opened a permanent shop for online reseller vestiarecollective.com. Meanwhile, Farfetch has partnered with the second-hand clothes donation service Thrift, and Asos is selling donations to the British Red Cross on marketplace.asos.com.

Former fashion journalist Emily London is the manager of the British Red Cross shop in Wimbledon and worked on the Asos project. “There are loads of drops coming through this season, lots of party pieces and what’s great is that you can do it all online,” she says. But there are prizes in shops, too. “All the Red Cross shops have been stockpiling partywear and will have designated sections. A lot of things come in with the tags still on. We’ve just got a beautiful Rosie Assoulin dress and a Christian Dior skirt from the 90s, as well as brands like Acne and good high-street pieces.”

Rent a look for the night

For one night only: consider renting upmarket accessories and dresses just for the party, such as this Gucci bag from mywardrobehq.com



For one night only: consider renting upmarket accessories and dresses just for the party, such as this Gucci bag from
mywardrobehq.com

Satisfy your craving for the new and fashionable, save money and be sustainable by renting a dress online. Girlmeetsdress.com is well established. You can try up to three at the same time and just pay for the one you wear. Theendlesswardrobe.com has a party section with clothes from Free People, De La Vali and Alexa Chung. Byrotation.com and hurrcollective.com connect lenders and renters – so you can make money out of your wardrobe, too. At mywardrobehq.com you can rent from the closets of fashion influencers, such as model Arizona Muse, from £25 a day. Consider borrowing for a longer period to minimise the environmental impact of the dry-cleaning, delivery and packaging involved. Even better, says Anna Berkeley, rent from your friends’ wardrobes. “I do this quite often. I cook them a meal or buy them a present in return for taking their dress out for the night.”

Buy clothes with a conscience

Making a difference: Mother of Pearl is in the process of making its entire collection sustainable



Making a difference: Mother of Pearl is in the process of making its entire collection sustainable

The criteria for sustainability standards and certifications differ wildly in the fashion industry. Mother of Pearl is in the process of making its entire collection sustainable, which means it will meet targets of social responsibility, minimal environmental impact and financial fairness. Its new eveningwear capsule collection is launched this month with party dresses and trouser suits made from organic cotton and other natural, sustainable fibres (from £396). Nobodyschild.com is a direct-to-consumer brand that repurposes leftover fabric, while thereformation.com is transparent about its sources and production, with dresses around £200+. People Tree, pioneer of fair-trade fashion, uses organic fabrics with handcrafted detailing, as well as organic and sustainable forest-sourced fabrics such as Tencel and Lyocell. Its black velvet pinafore (£99) is a brilliant alternative to the LBB. People Tree is also the exclusive stockist of Swedish stockings, made from 100% recycled and 100% emission-free materials.

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