Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is on the tip of our tongues, which means we can begin to get excited about the festive season and all the social gatherings that come with it. It’s the time of year where it’s deemed totally acceptable to wear sequins head-to-toe. But, how do we approach Christmas party styling with sustainability in mind?
Sustainable fashion influencer, Signe Hansen, explains that we produce way more clothing than the planet has capacity for. The fashion industry is amongst the most polluting and harmful industries in the world, so change is needed now more than ever.
Signe Hansen’s best advice to buy ‘better’ this Christmas is to buy pre-loved items. This way you’re supporting available resources, you can save money and get your hands on something unique. Who doesn’t love a thrift hunt every now and again?
WHERE & HOW TO SHOP SECOND-HAND FESTIVE WEAR
Support local, and visit often
The best way to find great second-hand pieces is to support your local secondhand or vintage stores. If you pop in often, even for just a five-minute browse, you’ll be more likely to get lucky and spot the hidden gems as soon as they hit the rails. If you want to be more strategic, research the areas near you that have the highest number of charity and vintage shops, and head there for an afternoon.
Be patient and open-minded
When second-hand shopping, remain open-minded, and remember that this way of shopping is often more time consuming than popping a sequin dress into your basket online, and getting it delivered with free shipping. But, you’re doing a great thing!
Browse the web
Speaking of the convenience of online shopping, there are also a handful of great secondhand stores online too, if you don’t have time to hit the shops. ASOS Marketplace, Ebay, Depop and Vestiaire Collective all offer party wear. Just make sure you filter your search either by material (sequins or velvet for example) or colour, to narrow down the reams of results.
If pieces you find whilst second-hand shopping aren’t perfect, don’t forget you can always make small changes after you’ve bought them: like shortening the length, bringing in the waist, or up-cycling the item with other pieces, different buttons, or other finishings to make it more ‘you’.*
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Go for something you know you’ll wear more than once
There are a few different fabrics and styles you can look for when second-hand shopping, that never really go out of fashion. By opting for these, you’re investing in pieces you’ll love for several festive seasons. Avoiding items you’ll only wear once is really important when it comes to sustainable style, as it gives pieces longevity. If you are only going to wear something once or twice, finding something in a secondhand store and then giving it back or passing it on to a friend is the best way to keep it in the circle, instead of disposing of it afterwards.
Opt for timeless styles & colours
If you’re the type of person who likes to keep things simple, a classic little black dress, a jumpsuit or a well-cut suit styled with heels and great accessories are great looks to go for over the festive season, which you can also rewear throughout the year. Make sure you invest in items that fit right, feel comfortable and that will stand the test of time. This way you’ll always have some timeless party outfits you know you’ll feel great in, if everything else fails! Silk and lace blouses, slip tops and dresses are also among the more timeless styles to look for when shopping second hand. For timeless festive colours, think deep and rich tones like burgundy, night blue, red, gold and bottle green.
All that glitters
Anything with sparkles are perfect for the festive season. It’s all about sequins, metallics, silver and gold. Dressy fabrics such as velvet are also perfect for holiday styling, whether it be a velvet two piece, jackets, tops, bottoms or shoes. Sparkly items are also quite easy to spot in almost any thrift store: the sparkles will catch your eye straight away, so they’re easy to pick out.
Sparkly fabrics are often made from synthetic materials, which isn’t necessarily the most sustainable choice in terms of production. Should you not have any luck finding the perfect sequin top in any of your local thrift stores, there are brands who make festive items out of recycled materials. Rather than buying something brand new, do some research online. Search ‘recycled’ on your favourite stores to see what they’ve got, as lots of big brands now run ‘upcycled’ or ‘recycled’ collections. This is a great way to make better fashion choices, even when shopping from your favourite online brands.
HOW TO STYLE IT
Make yourself up
An easy way to make a basic black suit more festive season appropriate, is to go all out on the makeup. A red lip is a classic, but I also love bronzed skin with gold highlight on the cheekbones, glittery gold eyeshadow and a nude lip. Whatever your look, the right makeup will help you stand out and nod to the festive season.
A pair of heels and a sequinned clutch are Christmas classics. You’ll often be able to find great bags in second-hand stores or charity shops, and picking something that makes a statement can really make an outfit. Shoes can be a little harder to get second-hand, but I’d still recommend scouring Depop before buying anything new. If you’re going to shop for some new heels, avoid low quality fast fashion brands. Buy a pair that will stand the test of time, and won’t break or show signs of wear and tear after only a couple of nights on the tiles.
Team something old with something new
Sparkly festive items look so cool when styled with something casual you’ve already got in your wardrobe. I’m a big fan of a sequinned blouse styled with light blue jeans and a pair of heels. It’s understated yet festive, and is a look you can wear for many seasons to come.