Sustainability “Under the Stars”

Building cheap and sustainable prom outfits is in fashion for these attendees.

Annie Bai, The Rubicon

As the most anticipated dance of the year approaches, students close in on their outfits and make the final cuts. This year’s prom will be held at the Science Museum of Minnesota with the theme “Prom Under the Stars.”

Although it is natural to want to buy a new outfit just for the occasion, dresses that fit the theme of prom often don’t fit in anywhere else. Many people buy expensive dresses and suits only to wear them once. This wasteful behavior has become normalized and fashion is prioritized over sustainability. After events are over, the outfits sit in the back of closets collecting dust. When prom season ends, reselling websites and apps are flooded with students trying to sell their worn outfits at a discounted price. Junior Kate Hanf said, “I wanted to buy something that I could potentially wear again in the future and … that was a pretty color from a store that was good for the planet.” When scouring online stores, Hanf looked for a versatile dress that she could wear not only for prom but for weddings and other functions.

Pullquote Photo

I wanted to buy something that I could potentially wear again in the future and … that was a pretty color from a store that was good for the planet

— Kate Hanf

Another eco-friendly option is to thrift or reuse prom outfits. Junior Reilly Ringness spent weekends thrifting for parts of his outfit. “I don’t really have enough money to buy an outfit new and I guess [thrifting] is eco-friendly,” he said. He used his Pinterest board as inspiration and incorporated the theme by picking out blue slacks from Goodwill.

Soren Miller tries on his finalized outfit for prom: a red blazer with black pants. (Submitted by Soren Miller)

Senior Soren Miller also took into account the reusability of his suit when shopping at a haberdashery. “I definitely plan on wearing this suit into college and possibly beyond. I don’t like to make expensive purchases that I will only use once. It would be the same as buying a car with the intention to wreck it from the moment you bought it,” he said. Other determining factors he considered were his parents’ opinions and his prom date’s outfit. “The most time-consuming part of the process was getting myself, my mother, and my father to all agree on one suit. We all have very different styles but in the end we were able to settle on a suit,” Miller said. After an entire day of trying on suits at the haberdashery, Miller chose a red maroon blazer with a black floral pattern paired with black pants to compliment Valerie, his date’s, red dress.

It is completely reasonable to buy a new outfit dedicated to an important event such as prom. But before choosing an outfit, consider other situations it can be reworn in to prevent wastefulness.