The holidays often have a dress code. When you walk into a holiday party, especially a New Years Eve party, you expect to see sequins.
What do you do with those sequins once the holidays are over? Unless you’re a party animal – or Harry Styles fan – how many opportunities do you have to wear that many sequins again? Often, the answer is few, which leads to many throwing their sequins away. A 2019 study found that 1.9 million sequined items are thrown away after the holidays, and since sequins are made of plastic — they will never degrade.
I don’t want to pretend to be on soapbox, I’m as guilty as anyone. What matters is trying to do better this season and onward. To do that, there are a few options. There are a small handful of places across Houston and online to rent a party outfit, you can buy secondhand, or if you simply have to buy sequins make sure they are good quality, and keep them or donate them to one of these services yourself so other people can rent them.
Renting clothes has become more popular with services like Rent the Runway, Nuuly and Gwynnie Bee, but they can be expensive and often involve a subscription service. If you aren’t looking for a subscription service model there’s an app called Tulerie where you can rent clothes from other people that are vetted through Facetime – so it’s like borrowing clothes from your sibling or friend, but with a much wider selection.
Another option, if those just aren’t for you, are costume shops. Houston has a good little selection of costume stores that often rent out elaborate pieces to high schools for plays and musicals, but they cater to the average person too. Popping into one of these could be your rental solution.
I don’t mean popping in literally, because you may have to make an appointment. For the Performing Arts Supply Company in northwest Houston you do have to not only have to call ahead, but book a costume fitting. The fittings are free and last 45 minutes, and their calendar is quite open for the rest of the month.
Buying second hand
Thrifting is a great way to get all of your clothing sustainably. Sequins are no exception. Houston’s thrifting scene is amazing. From Montrose to the Heights to the Goodwill on your corner, you’ll often find something you like.
Since sequins are such a niche item this may not be the easiest thing, and you may want to look into some specialty second-hand shops where they pick and choose what they sell. The area around Pavement on Westheimer Road is walkable and has a collection of second hand and vintage shops at a range of prices.
Quality over quantity
If you just have to buy sequins make sure you won’t be one of the people who wears them a couple of times and throws them away. Making sure the sparkles on your outfit are well made and durable can contribute to keeping them longer and wearing them more often. If they do end up in the pile of things you need to get rid of, make them a donation to one of the aforementioned second hand shops, so someone else can have a chance to wear them too.
When it comes down to fun fashions like glitter and sequins, we won’t have to worry about the green impact for much longer, hopefully. There are quite a few designers working on different biodegradable sequins and glitter products that will allow for a cleaner environment in the future. But in the meantime, we can do our best to minimize the impact on the environment.