Do you have tips for eco-friendly prom prep?

I have to admit my prom experience is really limited to what I saw in Pretty In Pink. Being the.


I have to admit my prom experience is really limited to what I saw in Pretty In Pink. Being the Debbie Downer establishment-hating teen that I was, I opted out of the festivities. (Thankfully, I figured out how to party and still be political by first-year university. Phew.)

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Before we get to green prom prep tips, I’ve gotta give you props for even thinking about the environment when most of your classmates are probably dedicating their brain space to stressing about whether they can walk in stilettos without wiping out and plotting ways of sneaking in booze.

That’s not to say green teens don’t worry about all the above. But it is big of you to try to figure out how to have a good time without giving the planet a hangover. So how do you do that? Well, you do what everyone else does, only a little greener.

Unless you plan on streaking the event, you’ll need some clothes. And if you don’t have an outfit already picked out, here’s one area where you can wear your green principles on your sleeve.

Girls, pass on the high-priced mall-bought sweatshop gowns and check out the dozen or so styles of gorgeous dresses at Greenisblack.com. They’ve got everything from a frilly Spanish slinker to a 50sish strapless hemp number, even a full-on floor-length bamboo gown.

League of Lovers and Thieves’ eco boutique on Queen West has a cache of saucy and sophisticated cocktail dresses, all made locally (leagueofloversandthieves.ca).

Guys, you can either go for a rental tux (covering the first two Rs of environmentalism) or pimp out with an organic hemp suit from downbound.ca or rawganique.com.

Not one for blending in? You’ll find some seriously original one-of-a-kind dresses, retro suits, accessories and even shoes if you do some last-minute trolling around vintage shops.

Hit a few stores that specialize in more glam second-hand, like 69 Vintage and Cabaret on Queen west of Spadina, Spa_ce Vintage Clothing in Mirvish Village, Dancing Days in Kensington Market, Gadabout and Thrill of the Find in Leslieville or I Miss You on Ossington.

There’s a ton of fab vintage couture at Divine Decadence on Cumberland in Yorkville and Paper Bag Princess on Davenport.

And sass up that getup with a sustainably farmed fair trade corsage by EcoFlora on Islington or Eco Stems on Queen East, which also offers local/organic options (ecostems.ca). That way you won’t be boogying with a pesticide-drenched bloom on your lapel/wrist all night.

Prom seems to be a major catalyst for girls swamping their bodies in pounds of toxins. Skip the whole chemy mani/pedi thing – most nail salons are cesspools of toxic air pollution (no joke).

Instead, do your own nails with formaldehyde- and toluene-free nail polish like Sante and No Miss from health stores like Big Carrot or Noah’s. Or head to greener nail bars like Aliviar Organic & Vegan Spa on Queen West or Elixir Organic Spa on King West.

Organic makeup can be pricey, but you can doll yourself up with totally affordable products from the Physicians Formula Organic Wear line they even have organic bronzers (available at Shoppers Drug Mart) so you can skip the typical pre-prom energy-gobbling fake-n-bake sessions.

Or grab a few girlfriends and get all gussied up at a truly earth-conscious salon like World Salon on Adelaide East. These guys not only specialize in amazing natural hair products and cosmetics, but they even wash your hair in water heated by the sun’s rays (world.ca).

Pure + Simple’s three Toronto locations also do full makeup applications with natural mineral lines (pureandsimple.ca).

And don’t forget to book yourself some green wheels! Okay, so splitting a stretch limo with friends is sort of like car-sharing, but if you sign up for a stretch Hummer or stretch SUV, you might as well run over a baby polar bear on your way to the prom. Until the stretch hybrid comes to T.O., you can always offset the carbon emissions of your limo ride. Driveneutral.org is one of the few that will let you offset as little as, say, a 15-kilometre trip in a Cadillac limo.

And when the party’s over and you’re done with your dress/tux/suit/party purse, be sure to pay it forward. Donate your fancy frock to an organization like the Corsage Project (corsageproject.ca) or Inside the Dream (insidethedream.org). That way, next year, students who can’t afford to buy their own duds can still get all gussied up the green way – through recycling.

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