Going to a wedding in 2023? Not sure what to wear? We’ve got some gorgeous ethical wedding guest outfit ideas for you!
By Bec Gregory
Yay! You just got a gorgeous wedding invitation. But as soon as you send the RSVP to confirm your attendance, you’re faced with the issue of what to wear.
When choosing a wedding guest outfit, there are many factors to consider. These include:
- the season and location of the wedding
- appropriateness of the outfit
- what makes you feel comfortable
- what’s within budget
- and if you care about people and the planet, the ethics behind the outfit.
So, what do we mean by that, exactly?
Our clothing decisions either help or harm the planet, people, and animals. As most of us know by now, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. But it’s also known for exploiting workers, particularly women and children in developing countries. Additionally, the use of animal products, such as fur and leather, involves cruelty.
Fashion labels that create ethical outfits prioritise eco-friendly, sustainable production, reducing the industry’s environmental impact. They look after their people at all stages of production, paying fair living wages, providing safe working conditions, and offering training and career development opportunities. Animal welfare is also prioritised by using animal-free materials.
Image credit below here.
What to look for in ethical wedding outfits
The first thing you should do when looking for ethical wedding guest outfit ideas is to check out the websites and socials of the brands that caught your eye. Because when labels are doing good, they will shout about it!
Below are the kinds of questions we ask to see if a brand is ethical.
What materials are used?
Look for clothing made from sustainable materials with a lower environmental impact. These could include Tencel, organic cotton, linen and hemp, or recycled/upcycled materials.
Who made the outfit?
We’re talking about brands that look after their people. Ethical clothing brands are transparent about their labour practices, pay fair living wages, provide safe working conditions, and offer training and career development. Some certifications and awards to look for include Fair Trade Certified, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production).
Were any animals harmed or exploited?
Look for ethical wedding guest outfit ideas that have been created without harming or exploiting animals. Opt for clothing made from vegan and cruelty-free materials.
Does the brand support small-scale, artisanal production?
Supporting local artisans preserves age-old techniques, and supports handmade one-of-a-kind pieces. Plus, it helps to move away from homogenised mass production. Look for clothing produced on a smaller scale that reduces the environmental impact and supports local economies and region-specific crafting techniques.
Ready to check out some of the best ethical wedding guest outfits for 2023? Read on!
Image below: Gaala
12 Ethical Wedding Guest Dress Ideas We Love
1. Ingrid Dress
Kicking off our ethical wedding guest outfit ideas, the ‘Ingrid’ dress by Reformation is sexy-yet-chic. It perfectly balances comfort and style. Flattering and elongating to the leg, the side slit also lets you show off statement shoes. And it gets better; Reformation has teamed up with Hemster to offer a free hemming service that ensures a flawless, tailored fit.
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: This dress is sustainably made in Los Angeles using 100% viscose. It’s a man-made cellulosic fibre made from wood pulp from sustainably managed forests. Sustainable production methods significantly reduce the impact of this dress, saving 7 lbs of carbon dioxide and 28 gallons of water.
This dress by Gaala is super cute! Crafted from upcycled linen, its lined bodice exquisitely frames a structured waist that offers a flattering fit for all body types. The skirt features a wrap around skirt, creating beautiful shape with every movement. And those puffed sleeves? Simply adorable!
Price: Around $200
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: This dress was sustainably made under fair wages and safe working conditions in Belarus. Sustainable production methods result in zero waste. It’s packaged and delivered in 100% recycled materials.
The rose has been a symbol of love for millennia, making it the perfect flower to feature on a wedding guest outfit. This stunning jewel neck sleeveless ball gown by Tiny Ink offers a contemporary twist on a classic look. It’s adorned with a large rose design hand-painted directly onto the dress by a professional artist for a striking, feminine look. And the best part? If you can’t find a size that totally fits your body, you can get it made to measure.
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: Tiny Ink offers one-of-a-kind pieces that are responsibly made by female artisans in Vietnam. Each item is masterfully created and painted by hand. The brand pays fair wages and gives safe working conditions. Plus, they provide employees with skills training and job development. Finally, everything is packaged and delivered in eco-friendly materials.
Not a fan of dresses? No problem! These trousers by Voz offer a flattering shape for all body types. The high waistline creates a smooth silhouette that gives the illusion of a narrower waist and a longer torso. In addition, lightweight fabric dances with the body, giving the look attractive shape and elegance.
Price: Around $500
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: VOZ is on a mission to protect the livelihoods, well-being, and cultural values of rural indigenous women globally. They work with Chilean women to co-design their pieces and provide sustainable livelihoods and free professional educational programs to Mapuche women through their artisan program. Moreover, VOZ pays living wages for every textile and sewn garment and uses sustainable fibres and processes.
5. Fallon Dress
This dress offers a touch of Old Hollywood glamour. The mermaid silhouette is one of the most captivating maxi dress shapes, in our opinion. It moves with the body in a truly mesmerising way, with the skirt gently cascading behind you. The straps are also adjustable, helping you to create the perfect fit for your bust. The ‘Fallon’ dress offers a timeless and sophisticated look. Heads will turn!
Price: Around $250
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: The sustainable production methods used to make this dress significantly reduced its environmental impact, saving 6 lbs of carbon dioxide and 28 gallons of water.
Channel your inner Goddess with this divine one-shoulder embellished, draped satin maxi dress by Stella McCartney. Crafted from fluid satin, the lightweight fabric gracefully drapes all over the body to the hem. The draped fabric design accentuates the waistline, whilst the side slit elongates the silhouette, helping to create the illusion of an hourglass body. Embodying both comfort and luxury, this dress is perfect for weddings!
Price: Around $1900
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: Stella McCartney was one of the first designers to embrace cruelty-free, eco-friendly fabrics and sustainable production. She has been at the forefront of sustainable luxury fashion for over twenty years.
7. Shayla Dress
The ‘Shayla’ is a chic maxi dress with a fitted bodice and super attractive side split. The simple yet visually exciting design elements work together to create a beautiful, ethereal look. We love the pretty pink-and-green print! It’s soft and subtle, yet still vibrant and eye-catching. This would look stunning with gold sandals and jewellery, don’t you think?
Price: Around $420
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: The sustainable production methods used to make this dress saved 7 lbs of carbon dioxide and 32 gallons of water.
You can feel the loving energy woven through every stitch in this striking handmade midi dress by Nich Linen! It’s both comfortable and chic. The ruched waistband gives the illusion of a smaller waist and adds interesting texture, whilst the ruched cuff on the ¾ sleeves elongates the arms. The A-line skirt skims over the hips and flows into a gentle flare, creating a sophisticated, feminine silhouette. The vibrant electric blue hue is a universally flattering colour that looks great on all skin tones. Linen fabric is lightweight and breathable, making it a perfect choice if you’re looking for ethical wedding guest outfit ideas for outdoor ceremonies.
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: Nich Linen is a female-founded and operated Ukrainian brand that handmakes high-quality, ethical linen clothes. Local female artisans ethically and expertly handcraft all Nich Linen garments.
This dress by Christy Dawn is a carefully crafted long-sleeved maxi dress with a wrap closure. A delicate array of earth-tone leaves and flowers dance across a soft white backdrop giving the look a free-spirited feel. The beautiful, full-length balloon sleeves add a touch of romance whilst providing extra coverage. We love how the V-shaped neck helps to create the illusion of a longer, leaner torso. In addition, it’s bra-friendly (whew!), flattering on all body types, and a joy to wear!
Price: Around $350
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: This dress was crafted from deadstock rayon, naturally dyed using flowers and berries. But that’s not all! Christy Dawn does much more than treat her people ‘fairly’. She says she has formed loving, lasting relationships and brought financial growth to her community of workers.
10. The Evelyn Dress
The Evelyn is a one shoulder, maxi dress with a fitted bodice and asymmetrical neckline. It features a side slit and an invisible side zipper. Its slinky cut is perfect for evening weddings, but its flowery pattern also makes it suitable for daytime ceremonies. PS: Did you know Reformation makes wedding dresses, too?
Price: Around $325
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: Reformation made this dress from fabric based on wood pulp. All their forest-based products come from sustainably managed forests. Plus, they work with the non-profit group Canopy to help drive positive change.
11. Laurel Dress
The ‘Laurel’ dress by Zimmermann is simply stunning! Designed to add shape and definition to the waistline, the dress is gently gathered across the bodice and cut out at one side. This draws the eye to the narrowest part of the body, thus creating the illusion of an hourglass figure. To sum up: this dress is exciting to look at from every angle!
Price: Around $600
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: Zimmermann is driven by their mission “to make beautiful clothes in a beautiful way”. They use eco-friendly fabrics and donate leftover fabric to smaller labels. In addition, they digitally print their designs onto fabric, which uses around 60% less water than screen printing. Finally, Zimmermann also engages in collaborative projects to advance sustainability in the industry.
Sure, you might associate kaftans with the beach. Casual living. Holidays. But when you find an organic cotton one, embellished with a gigantic black corsage? That’s some next level elegance! Ethical wedding guest outfits don’t get more stunning than this. Especially if you’re at a beach wedding!
Price: Around $900
It’s An Ethical Wedding Guest Outfit Because: As mentioned above, Zimmermann uses mainly biodegradable fabrics. Plus, they donate any leftover fabric to up-and-coming labels, and engage in various collaborative projects to advance sustainability in the industry.
We’ll leave you for now with one more sustainable fashion tip. Increase the sustainability of your ethical wedding guest outfit by wearing it to more than one wedding!
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