Stylish yet sustainable bridesmaid options

I don’t know if it’s an age thing, but the older I get, the more conscious I am about what I am purchasing.  Too many times I have purchased cute pieces at a low price, only to find the quality is really poor, it falls apart, and I end up throwing it away!  It’s quite scary to think if every woman is doing the same, just how much waste is being created.  I saw an infographic recently that really stopped me in my tracks – it said in one year, the average Australian woman buys 27 kilograms of clothing, wears 33% of what she has bought, then throws away 23kgs…I was gobsmacked.

When it comes to weddings, I couldn’t help but think about how many bridesmaid dresses are being purchased, worn once, then literally sit in the closet for years until they are thrown away because they no longer ‘spark joy’.  I also know for many bridesmaids, whilst they are excited to be asked, can suffer from the genuine stress and anxiety associated if they are worried that they won’t be able to afford the dress itself.  There’s nothing worse than having another bridesmaid proposing a $400 dress that you know you will never wear again, and can’t afford in the first place.

With this in mind, I thought I would walk you through some affordable alternatives that are also kind to the environment!

Rent Your Dress

This is such an under utilised option!  There are loads of amazing Australian companies who specialise in offering stunning, designer rental dresses.  If you’re nervous about renting, you can easily try the dresses on in a department store (or buy online and return during covid), then research if there are any companies who stock the dress as a rental.  I would call the store to talk through your timeline, size required etc…you never know, they might even give you. discount if you decide to rent multiple dresses together!  The dress will arrive the week before, you wear it, then return…for a fraction of the cost.  It really does just make so much sense.

Buy Second Hand

If you’re not already aware, there are loads of well established ‘Buy, Swap & Sell’ groups for designer brands on Facebook which can be an incredible resource for bridesmaids!  If you have a designer in mind, just run a little search.  You can also put a WTB (want to buy) post up, and anyone who owns that style in your size can contact you.  If you do end up purchasing a dress which you don’t think you will wear again, always remember that you can just pop it up for sale and they tend to get snapped up pretty quickly.

Ask to Borrow

It might feel a bit strange, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with borrowing a dress from a friend.  If you know a friend who has a dress that would be perfect, why don’t you just ask if you could borrow for the day?  Or even offer to buy?  If you do borrow, just make sure you dry clean the dress before returning, or offer to pay for it if it gets marked in any way.  

⁠Keep it Simple

If you are considering mismatched bridesmaid dresses, why not choose a colour that the majority of women already have in their wardrobe?  Most of us tend to already have a black or white dress ready to go, and if you don’t, you can buy a good quality one knowing that you will definitely wear for years to come.  The best part about this approach is that you can guarantee your ladies will feel comfortable in what they are wearing, and they can always find something within their budget.

Wear shoes you already own

Rather than purchasing a brand new pair of shoes, why not consider wearing a pair you already have sitting in your wardrobe?  We all love the idea of opening the shoe box and slipping on the heel for the first time, but we don’t love the fact that we almost always have painful feet and blisters by 9pm!  If you wear a pair you already own, you have already worn them in and can guarantee that you will last all night.

There really are so many options – you just need to get a little creative, but it really is worth if it if you can help save some money, reduce anxiety, whilst being kind to the earth at the same time!  I hope those tips help – if you have any other ideas feel free to drop them in the comments below.  Always remember, not everything needs to be ‘new’ to be perfect.