Dress code for a special occasion: now what? The sustainable solutions
A Christmas dinner, announced as an occasion to celebrate with a dress code that was soon to be announced. Everything starts from here. You’ll ask yourself “What’s special? Why are we talking about it here?”. What is special is that, instead of rushing to buy something new as soon as we received the details of the clothing required for the evening, it turned into a challenge to arrive dressed in theme and satisfied by choosing the perspective of greater sustainability and awareness.
Yes, that’s fine, but where do I find an elegant (sustainable) red dress now?
I have two or three of them in my wardrobe, not for evening wear. In the group of friends, some are already looking in the windows of the city, others have flocked to Amazon… I obviously decide to proceed in a different way. Not only. I said to myself: “What if I tried to arrive with a ‘Wow’ effect dress by telling that I have chosen the path of sustainable fashion? It could entice other people by showing how not so difficult it is to dress green and ethically (which is the slogan of Dress ECOde)”.
Taking advantage of the passion for research on the net, I put myself into action by browsing the second-hand shops.
If one day I get bored or find myself leaving it parked in the closet, I can always sell the dress by putting it back into circulation. Vinted seems to me to offer ample choice for a limited budget. After having scanned dozens and dozens of ads, I realized I have a list of about fifteen options between 7 and 40 euros. In the end I chose a dress with an Italian brand label, Elisa Landri. I looked and looked at the photo: it seems to me that it can fit more body shapes, in order to go more or less without fail. The transaction is fast, the seller is precise and the dress arrives as it is in the photo, practically new.
A vintage clutch bag by Furla, inherited from my grandmother. A pair of shoes that I have carefully kept for about ten years. A second-hand shrug. Here we are! I show you the result in the photos.
On the evening of the dinner I repeated to each “What a beautiful dress!” the choice of second-hand (“It’s used, would you ever say that?”) and vintage. I had already told of this way to solve the need for the dress code in the chat of the group of friends. And right in the chat my decision is intertwined with that of Antonella. A different path, always with a view to sustainability, which she tells us about here.
(You can listen to Antonella’s interview also on Spreaker)
Hi Antonella, thank you for agreeing to share your experience with regards to this occasion in which we participated together. The first question I want to ask you is: what did you think when you read about the dress code?
“When I received the email with the directions for the evening and I discovered that the dress code required red, specifically Christmas red, I was anxious for a moment as I knew for sure that there weren’t totally red clothes in my wardrobe”.
So you didn’t have a ready-made red dress in your closet? Why did you never have them or did you have them and got tired of them? Is it a color you don’t wear?
“Actually in the past I had made the mistake of buying a totally red dress that I fell in love with when I saw it in the shop window. It also valued me as a dress model. I tried it, I fell in love with it, I bought it (among other things, it also cost a lot of money). I wore it for that night, it was a New Year’s Eve, and I haven’t worn it since. For a long time I wondered why I didn’t wear it, being a model that enhanced my shapes. But I didn’t understand why in the end the choice always fell on something else. I had paid a lot for it and therefore I couldn’t throw it away or at least take it out of my closet. Then when I discovered the color analysis I realized that in my color palette, the ones that highlight my complexion colors, the undertones of my eyes and hair, there was no red, specifically Christmas red. At that moment, therefore, I became aware of this thing. I knew I would never wear it again or anything except modifying it, taking it to a seamstress, trying to make some appliques or whatever. But this would have required an expenditure of energy, time, the purchase of other fabrics, applications, etc. So I chose to donate it, eliminating it from my closet”.
Antonella, did it only happen with the red dress or are you reviewing your way of managing your wardrobe and the clothes that are inside, so are you really changing your approach to clothing as well?
“Let’s say I’ve been doing this over the last year, the last couple of years. Because I understood how much marketing and advertising focus on our emotional factor and lead us to buy things that seem fundamental, essential to us. It seems that we can’t do without them, but then once they are placed in our homes they become a burden. So I really started doing some very thoughtful and thorough decluttering, trying to figure out what specifically in the closet, actually throughout the house, was stuck there. Only because there was an emotional hook and not because it was functional to make me feel good, make me feel at ease. So I’ve been making decluttering choices for some time, donating these clothes to people I know can give new life, because they value them more, or just to Caritas, to people who need it. Furthermore, being very sensitive to eco-friendly issues, to nature, to animals, I am really reflecting a lot on every purchase, that is, when I do it I reflect on whether I really need it”.
When you read about the dress code what did you decide to do? Because we saw I decided to go on one way, what did you think instead? And in the end what was your choice?
“I chose not to buy a new dress because I knew it would go the way of that gorgeous red New Year’s dress, it would hang there in the closet. So I had to find a solution using what was there. I opened my closet and looking through my party dresses, let’s say a little longer, a little more formal, I found this dress, well hidden in cellophane. In the top it is black with transparent veil. In the part of the top, from the bust to the waist, it is shiny with sequins. In the lower part, however, it has a long skirt, very wide in tulle, a little transparent, with very large red flower applications and with a red and black belt at the waist. So this could have been the solution, even if looking at it I had the feeling that there was little red. Nevertheless it hadn’t been specified that the evening should be total red, in any case the visual impact would have been on the black of the bodice and then later on the part red. I thought I’d find a solution to increase the red of my dress. At that point I wrote a message on the Whatsapp group of a personal growth course I’m doing to look for a brainstorming asking my friends for help. Arianna promptly intervened giving me advice on how to enhance and how to increase the red in the upper part of the dress. She kindly lent me her red clutch bag”.
Yes, Antonella, it’s a vintage red bag, with the initial A too, which stands for both Arianna and Antonella.
“It was in the hand, and therefore increased the red on the body, on the upper part. She had also offered me a shawl, not being sure of the point of red I tried it on but in reality it didn’t fit very well. So thinking and looking for images on the internet, I came up with the idea of gloves. Among other things, I had a pair of red gloves because I had used them at a dance I think. However, they were gloves only on hand, so let’s say that they were a little more red anyway, but not enough, being that the arms were still totally uncovered. So the idea fell on red long gloves. Unfortunately we were reduced to the last minute, so it was truly almost magical: that evening Arianna arrived with long red satin gloves!”
Yes, Anto, the chat where we helped each other worked for this, in the sense that we brought some more accessories, something more red and I saw these red gloves emerge from Eleonora. I immediately thought: “These are perfect for Antonella’s dress!”
“Which I wore, totally increasing the red in the upper part. I tied my hair up, so as not to let the dark of the hair prevail together with the bodice which remained black. Overall the dress has increased red over the black. It also had a really beautiful effect, as well as giving an extra note of elegance to the dress which, despite being long, I had tried to make a little more sporty by putting boot underneath”.
How do you think this experience went, Antonella? What was the result in the end?
“The result was absolutely fantastic”.
Would you do it again? So would you recommend it instead of buying a new dress for a special occasion, as in this case?
“Precisely because I realized that this beautiful result came out of an idea launched in a group, after a few days I repeated the experience. When a friend of mine called me in a panic because they had given directions to a wedding she was invited to. Women should have kept to colors that oscillated between wisteria and pink. Having nothing and putting herself at the last minute to look for a dress (even for winter) for the wedding and having found nothing, I advised her to send messages in different kind of Whatsapp groups. Friends, colleagues, middle school classmates, in short, all those groups that swarm on our cell phones, asking for advice and support for this situation that had arisen”.
How did it go?
“She managed to find a pair of gloves too, a clutch bag, a hairstyle, a very light veil scarf and a shrug. All this, which precisely matched the shades that she had requested, added to the very light powder-colored dress that was what she had thought of, in the end the result was fantastic. She was delighted. I too, equally happy to have been able to replicate a fantastic experience that had brought me a beautiful result, and that also had given her this equally beautiful result”.
How nice, Antonella, it makes me really so happy! Because then there are possibilities other than just picking up and going to buy a dress, an accessory, something new just for a specific occasion! So, summing up, what do you feel like saying about this experience?
“I am happy that I was able to find this solution in my difficult situation, let’s call it that. And happy that I have understood that there are many possibilities in addition to the simpler one of buying, going looking for into the new. I’m glad I’ve already replicated. Because precisely for the reason that it gave a positive emotion, experience, it will in turn be replicated by my friend as well”.
Thanks Antonella for taking the opportunity to try a different way of dressing even when these requests and needs arise. Thank you for repeating the example with your friends as well. It’s very nice to imagine a positive chain of this type, and who knows maybe someone listening to this podcast have the same idea and continue this positive chain, in order to stop sometimes compulsive, sometimes even a little useless purchases. And then, let’s say it, it was also a lot of fun exchanging accessories and exchanging tips! Thanks again Antonella for your experience.
Antonella Minardi, whom I met during a personal growth journey, is a nature lover, likes cats, lives and works in Salerno in Cilento area.