Prom dresses have a lot in common with bridesmaid's dresses. Usually a bit over-the-top, they tend to be frocks that are only worn once and then languish at the back of the closet. But these days, you can find all sorts of creative dresses made from recycled materials, from vintage to more modern pre-loved dresses for a steal online (eBay is a great place to start looking for the latter.) 

Recycled prom dresses can be both a statement of style and a money-saving idea, depending on which direction you go. If you are buying a handmade piece of art made from recycled materials, the prices can approach what you might pay for a conventional dress. But if you find a gently used version, you can expect to save 50 percent or more on the cost. 
Whichever way you go, a recycled dress will have a significantly lower impact on the environment, since you are using something that already exists, rather than buying new. 
Talk about DIY! This dress was made by hand by its wearer from recycled corrugated cardboard for the bodice and paper (for the skirt). High School Senior Maura Pozek has been making creatively recycled prom dresses for years now, she told NPR

This dynamic and colorful dress is made from leftover window displays and advertising, as well as other found materials. The designer, DiscardCouture, makes one-of-a-kind dresses like this for customers through her Etsy site. 

The Dress List is a great resource for previously worn dresses all over the United States. You can search by dress type and location. You can find great bargains on dresses than have never even been worn (like the one above).


This beautiful dress, made from vintage hankies and embroidered napkins, and a one-of-a-kind piece that is not only vintage-lovely, but would be incredibly comfortable to wear too. Via Coyote Wood Works on Etsy. 



If you have an old prom dress you'd like to get rid of, or if you have limited resources for buying a new one, check out this resource for various options in your area, and check out Donate My Dress video above. 

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Recycled and supercreative prom dresses
You'll never have to worry about wearing the same dress as someone else if you opt for a recycled version.