May 16, 2011 in Features

Do Your Part: Dress well, dress responsibly

Terri Bennett McClatchy
 

Spring is here, and with it come weddings, outdoor events and the need for a few new outfits.

However, buying the season’s trendiest looks takes a toll on the planet with the related manufacturing, shipping and storage. And it takes a toll on our pocketbooks.

Want to be eco-friendly and fashionable at the same time? Here are my top five ways to get a designer outfit that will help you save some green.

Swap parties: Clothing swap parties are taking place everywhere these days. A simple emailed invite gets guests on board. Then, people bring a minimum number of gently used clothes they no longer wear to a meeting spot.

The clothes are sorted by type: accessories, dresses, jeans, etc. No money is exchanged so people can easily “shop” and socialize at the same time.

Leftover clothes can be taken to an organization to help people in need, such as a battered women’s shelter.

Rent them: Why buy when you can rent? Instead of shelling out big bucks for an expensive dress, jacket, or even purse you’ll use only occasionally, consider renting it.

There are many online sites that feature everything a fashionista could want – at a fraction of the cost. Check out DoYourPart.com/columns for a list of some of my favorite rental spots.

Consider consignment shops and eBay: Consignment shops are a win-win for everyone involved. People can bring in their good clothes and make a little money. It’s also a perfect destination for shoppers looking to get a designer piece of clothing for a much more manageable price tag.

The online eBay works in a similar way: You can browse through thousands of articles of clothing and only bid what you feel comfortable spending. It’s also an easy way to get your hands on prized vintage finds.

Go to Goodwill: Just think how many times you’ve donated an article of brand new clothing to a Goodwill donation site.

Many Goodwill stores are now set up to look and operate like a department store but without the steep prices. You can find name-brand clothing and accessories for just a few bucks each. And some still have the original price tag.

Repair and repurpose: Could the designer outfit you desire actually be in your closet right now?

Whether it’s a pair of pumps with a wobbly heel or a piece of clothing with an unfortunate rip, you might be better off repairing than buying something new. Fixing something you already love will help you give your wardrobe a second life and it’s always the more economical way to go.

There’s no reason you can’t look good while doing good. It’s another way you can do your part to show off your sense of style without paying a high price for it.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist and host of DoYourPart.com, where you can find everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet. Send questions to terri@doyourpart.com.


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