Eight ways to save the environment and your money this ball season

It’s a very pressing first-world problem, but the environment and your wallet is begging for this


If there’s one thing Durham Uni does well, it’s a posh night out. Every week there seems to be a new ball, bop, formal or fashion show you feel like you should go to, to not be a total social hermit.

However, when all you’re having for dinner is a singular jacket potato, the tickets for these events are pricey enough to wipe out your entire weekly budget, and buying a new outfit for each is simply not a viable option.

What’s worse, buying the latest trend and wearing it once is not very friendly to the world. Earth.org claims that the fast fashion market is responsible for twice the CO2 pollution than aviation and shipping combined, and we discard 92 million tons of clothes-related waste each year. That’s a bin lorry’s worth every second.

But not to worry. There are plenty of ways you can save money, be kind to the planet, and still look à la mode.

1. Hiring

Websites like By Rotation are great for the student who likes a flashy label. Here, you can rent actual designer dresses and suits for a fraction of the price of buying them.

2. Facebook pages

Facebook is no longer just for the mums. Pages like ‘Durham Uni students – buy, sell and swap items’ are a great place to find second-hand clothes. What’s better, because you’ll be buying from or swapping with a fellow Durham student, you won’t have to wait long for delivery.


3. Borrow from or swap with a friend

For this one you’ll need a friend, and a nice one too. Pay them in pints, or with an outfit of your own, and you could be in for the cheapest getup of your life. Just make sure you aim well towards the chun bucket at the end of the night, or else you’re going to have some explaining to do.

4. Charity shops

If you’re a sentimentalist, and giving back the clothes you have so many memories with just isn’t your thing, you can still buy outfits for cheap and ecologically. Durham has a decent range of charity shops. There’s Oxfam (Elvet Bridge), St Cuth’s (Claypath), British Heart Foundation, and Salvation Army (both North Road). What’s better, you can enjoy your outfit knowing your student loan has been spent on a good cause.

5. Preloved clothes shops

If you care less about charity, and more about looking cool, you could also head to one of Durham’s vintage shops. Circle Vintage (Saddler Street) has a great range of unique and genuine 50s and 60s dresses and jackets, and there’s also Waceland and the brand-new Threads.

6. Ebay

This is one for the Love Island fans. If you want to be the Italian stallion at your college ball, or wear one of Danica’s many poster-girl dresses, take a look at what Ebay has to offer. Just don’t put all your eggs in one basket on the big night, or else you might be pulled for a chat by your type on paper and get mugged off. You melt.

7. Change those accessories

One of the many privileges that comes from being a boy is that you’re not expected to buy a different suit for every social occasion. However, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Gok Wan, you might still want to switch it up from time to time. Different ties, cufflinks or shoes can make a big impact on your look, and a small impact on your wallet and the environment.

8. Rewear and don’t care

The last option is to simply wear clothes you already have. Fish out that prom dress from 2019 and drag it screaming and kicking into 2023. Or, just wear the same dress you wore for the last ball. I guarantee, no one will notice you’re wearing a dress you’ve worn before, and if they do, they really won’t care. We aren’t celebrities on the red carpet, and we don’t have a wardrobe the size of Narnia. We’re just students trying to get hammered and look good doing it.

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