Relax with an eco-friendly prom dress


The pressure is on. Who will have the most perfect dress for prom? The average girl will spend up to $500 on her prom dress that will be worn once and then banished to the closet. Go green, save money and reclaim your prom.

Reduce with hemp
Why not invest in a dress made from sustainable fabrics that didn't use toxic chemicals or unfair labour? Rawganique's Audrey Hemp Wedding Dress & Evening Gown is constructed with organic European hemp and wild raw silk. This eco-chic dress is simple, elegant, versatile and easily modified. It's been featured in several fashion magazines as a green alternative. The Belle Epoque Hemp Gown is made with 100 percent hemp jersey with a top drape and spaghetti straps and with a bottom surged for a decorative look. The silk lining adds that extra touch of elegance.

Thoughtful style
Conscious Clothing offers blends of hemp with silk, silk floral jacquard and silk satin. Their classic black ensemble has a top with a center back lacing and princess seams. The accompanying six panelled, gored skirt hangs on the hips, flaring into a full hemline. The Two Tone Halter Dress has an inset at center front with a hemline rising dramatically in the front allowing the contrast fabric to be glimpsed as you move.

Basic black
Rene Geneva's has several eco-elegant dresses in her line. Style 22002 is a panelled A-line, knee length halter dress made with a Hemp Silk blend lined with Habati silk. Available in red, bronze, black, baby blue, sea foam and green.

The shell of Passenger Pigeon's little black wrap around dress is made of 100 per cent bamboo and the lining is 100 per cent silk. This formal dress breathes -- perfect for dancing the night away. The Galley Dress Black, made from organic cotton soy and spandex, has a contrasting collar and empire waste.

Reuse with vintage
Save money and rent a dress. Closet Elite lets you lease a designer dress for a fraction of the cost. Browse through the website to select top designers like Gucci, Versace, Fendi, and Roberto Cavalli. Pick your colour and style and get it delivered to your home. The dress comes with an easy-return envelope.

Vintage stores and second hand clothing stores are also a great source for that one-of-a- kind evening gowns. It guarantees no one will be wearing the same dress. You can also pick accessories, shoes and evening bags at a fraction of the cost.

Make your own
If have know someone who can sew, then you can make your own gown for a quarter of the price. Companies like McCall, Vogue, Simplicity and Butterick offer a variety of patterns in hundreds of style. Get creative and you will have a dress tailor-made to your figure and personal style.

Recycle after the prom
After the prom, don't let your prom dress languish in the back of your closet. Take your dress to a tailor or seamstress and have it remade into a skirt, jacket or blouse that you can wear over and over.

You have the pictures, why keep the dress? Why not sell it and get a return on your investment. Check out eBay and see what similar dresses sell for. Prices range from as low as $15 to $200. Consider donating your prom dress to a charity drive that provides dresses to girls who can't afford a prom dress.

Anne Colvey is a regular contributor to Green Living Online. She is recovering from prom dress shopping.