<< back to Trends

How To Sustainably Dress For Big Events


So, you’ve just received your invite to a wedding, award ceremony, race day or birthday – the first thing on your mind is probably how to dress for the occasion. 

Those looking for inspiration may be tempted by the ever-popular fashion hauls on social media – #haul has 24.4 billion views on TikTok alone. However, they’ve also rightly received much criticism for encouraging over-consumption and one-off outfits that are contributing to the 350,000 tonnes of clothing that are binned in the UK each year. 

But how easy is it to be more sustainable while looking for that showstopping suit or dress? Let’s look at what options you can try instead of a single-use outfit.

Buy second hand

As second-hand fashion becomes more mainstream, it’s pretty easy these days to hop online and search for a fabulous outfit from resell sites like Vinted or online charity shops. This also tends to be much easier on your bank account. Try searching specifically for your favourite brands, and you might just snap up a great bargain.

Many of these outfits will have only been worn once for an occasion as well, so they can often be in near-perfect condition – but make sure to read the descriptions as you don’t want to be caught out by broken zips or missing buttons. 

Invest in a slow fashion brand

Sustainable clothing often comes with a higher price tag than high-street fashion brands. However, it’s a good option if you’re planning on buying something that’s of a better quality that you plan to wear at different events.

These ‘slow fashion’ brands also have much better records when it comes to ethical and sustainable clothes manufacturing, from focusing on quality over quantity to making sure garment workers are paid fairly. Think of it as investing more upfront for something that’s going to last you in the long run. 

Rent an outfit

It may seem like an extra effort to rent an outfit that you have to package up and send back after you’re done wearing it, but for some, it’s the best of both worlds. You get to show up to your event in a gorgeous outfit but don’t have to worry about it taking up space in your wardrobe for the next ten years. 

Thankfully, in recent years renting clothes has become much more popular. Worldwide, the rental apparel market is predicted to reach $7.4 billion by 2026

Some high-street brands have started offering their own rental services, including John Lewis, LK Bennet and M&S (through the popular Hirestreet website). Meanwhile, Catherine, Princess of Wales has been known to use the popular website HURR, which offers apparel from designer brands.

If you fall in love with the outfit while wearing it, some of these rental services allow you to buy the item too, so you can keep it for next time.


Maybe during the last wedding you went to, you saw a friend with a perfect wedding umbrella that would match the theme of the next one you’ve been invited to. Or perhaps you know someone with excellent taste. It could be worth sending out a message to your friends, colleagues and relatives to see if they have anything you could borrow for the occasion. It’s free, and you can save yourself the extra time of waiting for items to be delivered.

Think long-lasting 

When you’re looking for occasion wear and want to be more sustainable, it’s important to go in with that eco-friendly attitude. A good tip is to avoid microtrends and focus on pieces that you know you’ll still like in a few years. 

The idea of a capsule wardrobe has been around for years, but recently, it’s started trending again as many reckon with wardrobes full of unloved clothes and take on ‘no-spend challenges’. At its core, building a capsule wardrobe involves choosing items that can be mixed and matched together to create different styles for all seasons. 

While it’s mostly known as a way to create everyday outfits, it’s also a great attitude to adopt when you’re looking for occasion wear. Try searching for special statement pieces that you can match with different accessories to dress up or down. Or look through what you already own and see if there’s anything you can restyle. 

The first step of being sustainable when it comes to dressing is to shift your attitude and look for alternative ways to shop – even for big events. You can still get elegant gowns or sparkly partywear to make your event an unforgettable one while lessening your impact on the environment and saving money at the same time. We hope this article has shown you that it’s easier than you think!




Images: JoJo Iles

<< back to Trends