Everyday Enviro with Elise: single use clothing begone

Everyday Enviro with Elise: single use clothing begone

By Elise Catterall  January 16th, 2023

Did you buy clothes in 2022 that you only used once? Find out what you can do with them and how to avoid single-use clothing for future events with this week's Everyday Enviro.


Parties are a big part of our summer holiday season and if you are anything like me, they bring along with them the dilemma of what to wear. Too often in the past that has led to me purchasing something for one night that doesn’t get worn again.

We have talked before about the environmental impact of only wearing clothing a few times, and this is a perfect example of a situation of when clothing becomes single use. And we really shouldn’t encourage single use anything!

The issue is complicated by the fact that the items we usually buy for Christmas and other holiday events aren’t ‘everyday’ items, so regular reuse can be tricky even if you have the best of intentions.

So, let’s look at better alternatives to the single use party outfit.


The most sustainable option is what you already have in your wardrobe, so the best thing to do is to shop your wardrobe first. Take a look, you might stumble across something you’d forgotten about, or you might find something you can rework into something that feels new. Some dresses can be transformed into a skirt or a top, or dress pants can be taken in or up to give them a new shape. It might take a bit of imagination and it may not always pan out, but it’s a great first step.


The next best thing to raiding your own wardrobe is to raid the wardrobe of a neighbour or friend. You might be surprised how many of your friends have gorgeous pieces languishing in their wardrobe just waiting to be worn. If you have an event coming up, spread the word – a couple of friends might be all it takes to bring together an entire outfit.


Thrifting can turn up all manner of treasures – from accessories, individual pieces, right through to full outfits. Give yourself time for this option as you may need to sift through a few op-shops, and you may need to factor in time for cleaning. The beauty of thrifting is that if you re-donate the item after the event, you are giving the op-shop another opportunity to raise money for their charity. Win-win!

Buy second hand

The second-hand fashion market is huge, especially online. Whether it be Poshmark, Cindabella, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay where you can buy from individual sellers, or places like Barefaced Bridal or Goodbyes where clothing is sold on consignment. A quick online search for second-hand evening dresses/suits/shoes, etc will bring up a huge number of options that you can trawl through. And when you’re done, you can resell it yourself—keeping that fashion ball in the air.


Hiring is the more expensive option here, but it is possibly more efficient and less risky. The options for hiring event clothing are pretty extensive, from vintage hire shops like the gorgeous Bell Street, to mid-range dress hire from The Volte or Dress for a Night, through to high end designer hire from Fashion Alta Moda or Walk In. There is pretty much something for everyone. You also have the option of online sites like Glamcorner where you can choose to rent or buy, as a one-off or with a membership.

With such a wealth of options, there really is no need to buy something new that you’ll only wear once. And no matter which avenue you choose, the chances that you’ll find your perfect outfit are better than ever.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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Elise Catterall

Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.

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