Ethical Formal Dress Shopping tips

Homecoming season is upon us so today I’m sharing some tips and ideas for anyone who is looking for an ethical alternative to the standard glittery formal dress that you wear once and then throw/give away.

My first tip is to buy second hand or thrift. This is a great idea if you still want a fancier dress but at a lower price point or as an ethical alternative. You can visit your local thrift and consignment stores or shop at an online resale and second hand shop. I personall haven’t bought anything from ThredUp but I have visited their website and looked around a few times and they have some great options! Because their stock is always changing its best to plan ahead if you want to get your dress from a second hand store. My mom and I pop into a Goodwill that is on our normal route every couple of months just to see what they have with the next event/dance in mind. Once we found a beautiful new with tags David’s Bridal bridesmaid dress for $25. It fit me perfectly except that it needed to be hemmed. We didn’t end up getting it because the color wasn’t right for me but that is the kind of thing you can sometimes find at thrift stores if you keep hunting.


I went dress shopping at the same store recently and found this adorable green strapless dress.


And this cute purple one. This one was a little too big for me but the great thing about thrift stores is that all of the dresses I found that day were $7.99! At that price I could have bought the dress and paid to get it tailored for possibly less than what I would spend paying full price for a new dress somewhere else.


My second tip is to buy from an ethical brand. This can be pricier but it doesn’t have to be depending on the brand you buy from and how you time your purchase with sales. You probably won’t find many fancy dresses but you can find a lot of gorgeous simple ones that can be dressed up or down which I will go into in my next tip. I love this body con dressand this convertible one from Synergy; Threads for Thought has this gorgeous white mini dress.

My last tip is to buy a dress that you can wear again. My sister and I found our dresses for homecoming this yeat at Francesca’s. My sister chose off the shoulder dress and I chose this green cutout dress with this grey bralette. Neither of these dresses are fair trade but they are both dresses that we would wear over and over and maybe borrow and lend between ourselves. This dress is another one that could be worn in a broad range of occasions. This is a sustainable and ethical option if you find a dress that you can see yourself wearing for years into the future. The #thirtywears movement which was started by Livia Firth encourages consumers to be mindful about the clothes that they buy and to ask themselves “will I wear this 30 times?” to determine if this is truly a worthwhile purchase. She talks about it in this interview with The True Cost Movie.

I hope these tips give you some ideas as you shop for your homecoming dress! I’d love to see your dress! Share it on Instagram with #amaizylife so I can see it!


Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t use all the time and think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.


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