As the Coronavirus restrictions ease, finally, our normal lives are going back to normal. Within the Durham atmosphere, this means (in most cases) the return of both formals and balls! This was personally one of the biggest reasons I chose to go to Durham, the pretty dresses and the gowns which make everything seem very Harry Potter. But this all leads to more and more drama in the realm of new outfits vs re-wearing old outfits and so on. Unfortunately, we know that the fashion industry causes so much wastage in the world that to buy a new outfit for every formal seems a waste. However, we all appreciate the pressures involved with formals to not re-wear things that we have done before. In this article, I will assess whether it is okay to just rewear things, to buy a new outfit, cheap second-hand ones (and other ideas) and to always borrow from people!
As young people in the world today of social media and people living their lives through filters, we believe we must meet this very impossible standard. In small knit communities like the colleges at Durham there can be a very unhealthy ideal to live up to this standard of buying a new dress every formal, and looking our absolute best and most fashionable all the time. But, even as a Fashion and Beauty Editor I hate to say it but this ideal is never attainable. We may spend our lives trying to live up to the people we believe are living their best lives, only to find out their lives are actually not as perfect as we see through their camera lens. This feeds into our every choice, instead of just wearing the outfit we wore to the last formal, we choose to buy and be wasteful, to ensure that people see us the way we want them to. I think we need to all acknowledge how wasteful this is, how as students we probably don’t have the money to buy all of these clothes again and again and how if we are able to we should be confident in our own skin, no matter what it’s wrapped in.
There are a few tried and tested ways on how to cut down the fashion industry wastage when purchasing a new outfit for the next formal or ball. The first way that acknowledges that people feel the need to buy a new outfit. Is to ensure you wear it on at least five or six more occasions, if you can see the outfit being reused and constantly loved. Then, go ahead and make that purchase and do not feel bad. However, if this is the only occasion that the dress is being bought for, you’re really not sure how much you like it and/or you know you get bored of things easily. Make sure that the outfit does not sit in your wardrobe, you could sell it and make the money back that you spent, or even better, donate it to a charity that needs the money. This way you’re ensuring that the fashion industry wastage is brought to a minimum and you feel good about donating it to a place where it can make the world a better place.
On the topic of limiting wastage, you could always purchase a second-hand outfit from an online shop or a charity shop. There have been many times when I have gone into the charity shops in Durham and there have been loads of formal dresses that have been donated and all for very reasonable prices. Furthermore, once worn if you do not believe you will wear it again, you can take it back for the next person to wear. This cycle of philanthropist clothes purchasing can only ever improve things in the realm of fashion and can make you feel less guilty about buying more clothes. It does for me anyway! There are always ways of being more green about buying clothes and I do try as hard as I can! But, there is always one other option, borrowing clothes is a very green way of dressing up for a formal! You make sure that you look fabulous, but wearing something that someone else has loved always makes you feel that little bit more special. You can get some gorgeous old clothes out of this too! As we all know fashion is cyclical, therefore, what someone may have kept from their early days may now be in fashion!
I think it is so important to re-love clothes and to try and be as environmentally conscious as you can when shopping for formal wear, considering that most of us will only wear the outfit once and then either hoard it or get rid of it. So, try and find those outfits that don’t just look and make you feel good but also do the world some good too!