Plastic free, low waste vintage party tips


1920s makeovers London

Princess Eugene and Jack Brooksbank had a plastic free wedding last Friday. It got me thinking that vintage hen parties provide natural opportunities to cut down on your use of plastic and the amount of waste that you create. After all, vintage is all about collecting treasures and beautiful things and cherishing them, and reusing them.

A lot of hens bring disposable plates and champagne glasses for convenience, especially those travelling on public transport to our hen parties in London. So I can see how bringing reusables might seem inconvenient to some. However, this issue is coming to popular attention at the moment, since Attenborough’s heartbreaking episode of the Blue Planet highlighting the plight of sealife due to plastic pollution, and the recent BBC documentary, Drowning in Plastic. Watch it here..

So here are a few ideas for avoiding plastic and avoiding excessive waste at your hen party. I’m not an expert, so let me know if you have other suggestions!

  1. Get yourself some vintage champagne glasses and serve up your Prosecco or bubbles in those.vintage champage glass

Surely your champagne will taste better and you’ll feel far more stylish dahlings and much more in role. Your party will have that little bit of vintage flair. Or hire them from a place like Cotswold Vintage Party Hire.



2. Serve cocktails or your alcohol in vintage teacupscocktails in teacups

Perfect if you’re having a 1920s Speakeasy theme! In the Prohibition period in America, people used to drink bootlegged alcohol from teacups in backstreet illegal Speakeasy bars, to make it look like they were drinking something more innocent. Collect them from Charity shops or raid your mum’s sideboard.

Use vintage cake stands and side plates or serving plates for your afternoon tea or cakes and nibbles. No space to keep them afterwards? Resuse or sell them on, on ebay or similar.

3. Choose your disposables carefully.

Vegware_hotcups_LV-4_greenband_300xIf you’re travelling light on public transport to a hired hall, bringing your own food to save money, and need to bring disposables, something compostable, such as these by Vegeware. They may not be pretty but they can be composted. If you really do want something pretty, then invest in lightweight attractive paper plates that you can carry with you easily, then recycle. Research places to take your waste nearby to your venue.

4. Try and buy glass bottles, instead of plastic. Pinpoint your nearest recycling point to your event and make sure you recycle them. The less that goes into landfill, the better.  Glass is a lot easier to recycle than plastic.


4. Go for authentic vintage for your outfit choice:

true vintage 1950s dressHaving a 1950s, 1960s, or even 1940s theme? Buy authentic dresses from one of the many online vintage sellers that can be found on facebook and instagram, or ebay, or from your local vintage fair or local vintage shop. Not only will you fall in love with something, and be surprised at the versatility of your era’s style (the 50s isn’t all circle skirts you know, but sometimes you can pick up an authentic 50s dress or ensemble for £30 – £80 usually. I love that true vintage clothes will have a story behind them, a history of people from the era who loved them, partied in them, went to the office in them or just wore them for ordinary life. Check out the instagram hashtag #truevintageootd for inspiration. True vintage can often be resold on ebay or via your local vintage shop.

5. Recreate authentic 1920s. If you’re lucky enough to have some authentic vintage clothing from this era can be very delicate and a collectors item – to buy it can be expensive. You may not feel you can wear it to a party, depending on the party! Many reproduction 1920s dresses will have beads and sequins on them made from plastic rather than glass these days.

Authentic 1920s dress

If you really want to go completely plastic free, there are many tassled or drop wasted day dresses you could get. But don’t worry too much about every last bit of plastic if the sequinned dress is the one you want! The point is not to totally beat yourself up and be totally purist about plastic free. The main thing is to cut down on the amount of waste and the amount of new plastic that’s gone into your party or event. The principle is to  reuse things first, then buy things that can be passed on or recycled second, and above all, avoid putting things into landfill. Think about selling on your 1920s style outfit on ebay, or putting it in a charity shop after you’ve used it, or passing it onto someone else who needs a 1920s costume. Or keeping it in your dressing up box for other times.

Forget nasty costume shop fascinators – make your own from feathers, old jewellry and elastic and trim from your local sewing shop.

6. Charity shopping and customising clothes

1920s style dress

This dress was customised from a Zara nautical 1980s style dress – I added a sash and let in at the sides of the skirt to enable me to dance in it and kick my legs.

I  love trawling charity shops for items that I can dress up vintage in. I once found a pink tassled dress for a fiver that was great for Charleston dancing in. You may be able to find clothing from charity shops that is not true to your era, but is from a later more contemporary time, but the cut might imitate the style of your era, such as a dress with a dropped waist for 1920s that you could adapt and sew some trim onto, or a skirt and a loose sequinned top with some ornate detail that looks the part. For 1920s you could add a sash, sew on beads or lace trim or tassles from sewing shops. You’ll have something unique that no one else could find! Look at photos of  outfits from your era for inspiration. You’d be surprised how varied peoples outfits were in your era of choice, compared to what is available in costume shops. Fashion recycles itself and the different cuts that the era  was famous for come around. Make your own hair flowers or fascinator headbands.

7. Sew your own from scratch. If you use some old fabric from some curtains or an old tablecloth you’ll be upcycling, too. Or buy new fabric but make a dress you’d be proud to wear again and again. Check out Decades of Style, for vintage reproduction patterns in all eras, Burda for some nice 1920s style sewing patterns and Butterick patterns by Gertie for some lovely 40s and 50s style patterns. Simplicity and McCalls also have great vintage style patterns which are sized for modern dress sizes. Or you can buy authentic vintage patterns online too, from Ebay and Etsy.

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