In a month, exactly 1 month, I will be going to a ball. Which is really to say, I’ll be spending an exorbitant amount of money on one night for no particularly convincing reason, other than that it will be an experience to enjoy and remember with friends. My point isn’t really about the questionable function of balls, however, but about the dresses.
The thing about a ball is, it’s rather nice to wear a dress to it. As in, I enjoy wearing a nice dress to a nice night out like that. In fact, sometimes it’s even nicer to wear a nice new dress. I.e. a dress I haven’t worn out before. A new look for oneself, a surprise for friends. And that’s where I hit the problem: what’s the point in buying a new dress for potentially just the one occassion, the one ball?
Why is it problematic to buy something and only wear it once? (Aside from the rather casual treatment of cash, that is) Well, there’s a massive waste in many countries which is not being produced from food (something else I can go on about for long lengths of time – food waste) but from clothes and textiles. Apparently, Australians are one of the worst at this: they buy an average of 27 kilograms of new clothes and other textiles each year. Each year? What are we Australians doing with all that stuff – eating it?
This constant, ongoing clothes splurging isn’t just problematic because of the massive waste problem it creates (very little of what we donate to charities etc can actually be used by them, and all the synethic fibres are no good at decomposing) – it’s also problematic because the massive demand for new clothes is driving toxic, damaging industries like China and India (read more here).
How do I try to solve this problem?
- Buy less clothes in general. A few pairs of jeans is probably more than enough already – I only wear one pair at once, after all!
- When I do buy new clothes . . . buy only what I really need. So no new dresses (a weakness of mine), but yes, new underwear when necessary!
- And when I want things like dresses? Go second-hand, go to the charity shops, see if friends are getting rid of theirs, buy something locally made and buy just one and use it over and over and over again – and if I don’t think I’ll get much use out of it, maybe just don’t buy it after all.
My latest discovery is the Oxfam online store for women’s clothing. A great place for browsing thousands of dresses. And after quite literally browsing thousands of dresses I finally found my ball item. The choices are endless on there – so when it’s time for that new ball gown, get browsing and give it a go! You’ll be the only one in that dress!