You are currently viewing Great Ways to Recycle an Evening Gown
Hipstik pantyhose, Halftee, statment necklace, Nordgreen watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, dress c/o Ever Pretty, pumps c/o Vivaia

Looking for great ways to recycle an evening gown? Read this post for inspiration for solutions what to do with your once worn gown.


  1. What Is the Problem with Wearing Evening Gowns More than Once?
  2. How to Recycle an Evening Gown into an Everyday Dress?
  3. Alter the Look
  4. Sell the Gown
  5. Swap the Evening Dress with a Friend who Didn’t Attend the Venue
  6. Donate It to Charity


Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.


What Is the Problem with Wearing Evening Gowns More than Once?

Like high school prom, balls and special occasions ask for the perfect dress for that day. Showing up in the same dress twice take the fun out of playing dressup. It removes the Cinderella feeling that makes us happy.

While pre-social media, one could get away with wearing a black gown more than once. However, wearing black gown makes everyone invisible in the crowd of black gowns. Who of us wants that? We are proud of whom we became. Moreover, in midlife, we loose some of our natural color. Consequently, wearing black becomes harder to wear for many of us.

Everyone posts photos of the event. Therefore, wearing the same evening gown twice has become even more difficult these days.


How to Recycle an Evening Gown into an Everyday Dress?

This video shows how to recycle an evening gown into a normal dress.



Stylist tip: When you plan to go this route,  buy an affordable, quality gown with an idea in mind how to change it later.


Ever Pretty evening gown before and after alteration
Before and after alteration. Left: Evening gown c/o Ever Pretty, hermes collier de chien bangle, statement costume jewelry. Right: After alteration. Hipstik pantyhose, Halftee, statement citine and moonstone necklace, shoes c/o Vivaia


See this post on how to shorten a high-low hem when your piece has such a statement hem.


Try to Alter the Look

When going this route, make sure not to repeat any of the accessories you used when wearing the dress last time.

  • Dyeing is an option when the fabric is silk or cotton in a light color. Read more on dyeing wardrobe favorites.
  • You can alter the look of a solid color special occasion dress by sewing on sequin patches. Read more on DIY patching.
  • When you have very good sewing skills, creating a lace bodice overlay is an option. Shortening or taking off sleeves also gives the dress a different vibe.
  • No-sew options are lace halftees to add sleeves to a sleeveless piece. Since you most likely don’t find the exact color make sure all accessories, jewelry, and your shoes create a monochromatic look while differing in texture. See example photo with the cocktail dress below.
  • Try a longer skirt underneath a tea-length dress. Repeat the color of the skirt as a belt or sash.


influencer showing a way to recycle an evening gown
Calvin Klein draped cocktail dress, lace Halftee, Prada pumps, brooch from my late Grandma Hannah, Nordgreen watch, Hermes bangle, Hipstik pantyhose



Sell the Gown

You can get at least some fraction of the attires cost back when selling it in a consignment store, on Craig’s List or eBay. Find a consignment store in a wealthy neighborhood when you have a medium or high-end brand. Another benefit of selling is that the buyer wears the gown. In other words, it’s a great way to recycle, and slow special occasion fashion down.


Swap the Evening Dress with a Friend who Didn’t Attend the Venue

Typically, your girl friends won’t attend your kid’s wedding. Therefore, you could swap your mother-of-the-bride/groom dress for another dress when one of them has the same size, and is in need for a formal dress.

When you wore the dress at a ball that a friend didn’t attend this trick works too.


Donate It to Charity

When none of the above options works for you, it is always better to donate the piece instead of putting it in the trash bin. At least, someone can wear it again.


Photos of me: G. Kramm

Video: N. Mölders

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jodie

    These are truly such sustainable options Nicole. I always think it’s fabulous if you can alter it and wear it again!!

  2. shelbeeontheedge1

    These are such great ideas for getting more use out of evening gowns. I have piles of them from Army formals over the years. Some I have used for Halloween costumes when I was done with them and some I donate. But I have never thought to alter them into something that is more wearable for regular days. That is so fun!