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Best Affordable Sustainable Formal Dresses

20 Best Affordable And Sustainable Formal Dresses

If you want to find the best formal dresses for your special occasion, you've come to the right place. Look cute and stylish for your upcoming event, celebration, or cocktail party with these affordable and sustainable evening gowns.

Picking your formal outfit for a special event is very exciting, but you have to dress up right for the occasion, according to a distinct dress code. Or maybe you want to be bold and stand out by breaking the rules.

When your special occasion calls for a formal dress code, choose original, beautiful, and chic fashion aesthetics that are also affordable and sustainable to impress with good conscience without breaking the bank.

To look charming and fashionable this festive season, here are some of the best affordable and sustainable formal dresses ethically-made under the highest social and environmental standards.

I've got you covered if you also need affordable, cute, and feminine party outfit ideas to dress chic and stylish on a budget.



1. Made Trade

made trade affordable formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, knitwear, sportswear, loungewear, outerwear, swimwear, underwear, sleepwear, bags, accessories, shoes
For: Women, men
From: Portland, Oregon, United States
Values: Organic, Fair Trade, recycled, vegan, BIPOC, made in the USA
Prices: $10-$370

Made Trade is a Fair Trade retailer sustainably and ethically creating goods for the modern wardrobe and home. It offers Fair Trade apparel, accessories, and footwear for women and men.

The company stocks stylish, chic, classic formal dresses, evening gowns, and other wardrobe essentials made with sustainable and natural materials.

Made Trade is committed to transparency and making a positive impact on the world. The well-curated online marketplace sells a great selection of ethical products handcrafted in the USA.

Made Trade adheres to sustainable and Fair Trade practices that support both artisans and the Earth's natural resources. It strives to make the world a more beautiful place through higher ethical standards.

SHOP MADE TRADE



2. Thought

thought ethical cheap cocktail dress

Category: Basics, dresses, loungewear, nightwear, activewear, outerwear, underwear, bags, accessories, jewelry
For: Women, men
From: London, United Kingdom
Values: Organic, recycled, give back
Prices: $10-$150

Thought is an eco-friendly fashion brand that creates beautiful, affordable, and sustainable formal clothes for women and men with organic materials, such as cotton and hemp, as well as upcycled and recycled materials.

The clothing brand is committed to considered design, responsible sourcing, and fostering change. It aims to show that there are more sustainable ways to live, dress, and be.

Thought supports Smart Works, an incredible charity that provides support to aspiring, out-of-work women with interview training and head-to-toe dressing.

SHOP THOUGHT

 


3. Outerknown

outerknown cheap eco-friendly formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, outerwear, swimwear, loungewear, bags, accessories
For: Women, men
From: Los Angeles, California, United States
Values: Organic, Fair Trade, recycled
Prices: $50-$220

Outerknown is a clothing label that creates cute, cheap, and eco-friendly clothing for women and men rooted in sustainability and transparency. It makes affordable and stylish formal dresses with the most planet-friendly fibers.

Outerknown keeps strict sustainability rules and aims to raise the standard for quality, sustainable design in the global fashion industry. It uses organic and recycled materials to reimagine and embrace circularity.

Accredited by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), the ethical fashion brand invests in the livelihoods of over 5K workers through Fair Trade USA. Three of its partners are Fair Trade Certified.

SHOP OUTERKNOWN


4. Toad&Co

toadandco affordable sustainable formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, outerwear, knitwear, loungewear, accessories
For: Women, men
From: Santa Barbara, California, United States
Values: Organic, recycled, vegan
Prices: $50-$200

Toad&Co is a sustainable fashion brand making socially and environmentally committed outdoor clothes. The label creates cute and affordable formal dresses for women.

Toad&Co aims to make a difference to clean up a dirty apparel industry, educate people on sustainable practices, and inspire folks to live their fullest lives.

The brand believes in sustainability and spontaneity because every day is an adventure. It uses eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, hemp, Tencel, and recycled fabrics to make affordable clothes.

Toad&Co offers a large selection of sustainable and affordable formal clothes and accessories, ethically made with eco-friendly materials.

SHOP TOAD&CO

 


5. Reformation

reformation cheap ethical formal dress

Category: Basics, denim, dresses, outerwear, swimwear, activewear, loungewear, underwear
For: Women
From: Los Angeles, California, United States
Values: Organic, recycled, made in the USA
Prices: $10-$670

Reformation makes affordable clothing locally in the USA. It offers a varied collection of formal, chic, and cute classics, including event dresses for petite up to extended sizes.

The eco-friendly brand designs effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure with the most beautiful and sustainable fabrics possible. It pays attention to minimize its social and environmental impacts.

Reformation uses sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled cotton, linen, and Tencel lyocell. It makes some of its clothes with upcycled and recycled fabrics and regenerated nylon or deadstock fabric.

SHOP REFORMATION

 


6. Boden

boden affordable organic formal wear

Category: Basics, dresses, outerwear, underwear, knitwear, loungewear, sleepwear, sportswear, swimwear, shoes, bags, accessories, jewelry
For: Women, men, children
From: London, United Kingdom
Values: Organic, recycled, give back
Prices: $80-$190

Boden is a British clothing retailer selling high-quality, chic, individual, and formal fashion styles. It uses a large proportion of sustainable materials such as better cotton and regenerated nylon.

Boden creates affordable and cute evening clothes for special occasions, including formal dresses, skirts, and more. It also takes climate change seriously and works to reduce its environmental impact.

The clothing label also donates to numerous charities to support vulnerable families, educate young people, and empower workers in fashion supply chains.

SHOP BODEN

 


7. Kotn

kotn affordable sustainable formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, knitwear, loungewear, bags, accessories
For: Women, men
From: Toronto, Canada
Values: Organic, B Corp, give back
Prices: $30-$80

Kotn is a Canadian sustainable brand that ethically and sustainably makes party and evening clothing from Egyptian cotton in the Nile Delta. It's committed to supply-chain transparency and give-back initiatives.

The eco-friendly label creates products around the principles of considered design, relentless quality, honest value, and positive impact. It aims to set the standard for conscious creation and consumption.

Kotn only uses cotton and no animal-derived materials. It's also working with an Egyptian NGO to build schools and provide every child in its farming communities with safe, convenient, quality education.

SHOP KOTN



8. Mata Traders

mata traders cheap ethical formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, maternity, accessories, jewelry
For: Women
From: Chicago, Illinois, United-States
Values: Fair Trade, organic, artisan craft
Prices: $10-$130

Mata Traders is a design-driven, sustainable, and Fair Trade clothing brand helping to end global poverty and inspire consumers to change the fashion industry. It offers affordable and original formal dresses for women made by artisans in India and Nepal.

The clothing label is on a mission is to fashion a better world by creating unique fashion pieces up to extended sizes that empower women to use their buying power for change.

Mata Traders is passionate about fighting inequality, child labor, and global poverty. The brand is committed to keeping craft traditions alive while providing meaningful work, fair wages, and economic independence.

SHOP MATA TRADERS



9. People Tree

people tree cheap cocktail dress

Category: Basics, dresses, outerwear, knitwear, underwear, activewear, nightwear, accessories, jewelry
For: Women
From: Tokyo, Japan
Values: Organic, Fair Trade, recycled, artisan craft, give back
Prices: $20-$220

People Tree is a sustainable clothing brand making cute and affordable classics from environmentally-friendly materials, including Fair Trade, certified organic cotton, and recycled fabrics.

In 2013, it became the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) product label, guaranteeing dedication and compliance with the principles of Fair Trade.

People Tree offers a wide range of stylish, chic, and inexpensive clothes for women, including sustainable formal dresses and other evening capsule wardrobe-essentials. It also sells accessories and jewelry to dress up.

The ethical clothing brand is committed to working with disadvantaged farmers and workers to promote fairer trading conditions. It helps combat poverty and employs people in underserved communities around the world.



10. Amour Vert

amour vert sustainable formal dress

Category: Basics, denim, dresses, loungewear, knitwear, outerwear, bags, accessories, shoes, jewelry
For: Women
From: San Francisco, California, United States
Values: Organic, recycled, made in the USA, give back
Prices: $60-$460

Amour Vert is a slow fashion brand that makes classic staples such as party and cocktail formal dresses in timeless colors like navy, white, black, heather gray, and more.

The sustainable brand creates work clothes in limited quantities to contribute to a more eco-friendly future. Its clothing pieces are affordable, chic, comfortable, and better for the planet.

Amour Vert is committed to making fashion thoughtful, versatile, and sustainable. You'll want to keep its timeless pieces in your wardrobe forever.

The eco-friendly label has been planting trees in North America since it first opened its doors with its partner American Forest. It promotes sustainable practices and positive environmental impacts.

 


11. Mara Hoffman

mara hoffman designer formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, knitwear, outerwear, swimwear
For: Women
From: NYC, New York, United States
Values: Organic, recycled, luxury, give back, made in the USA
Prices: $60-$430

Mara Hoffman is a premium designer brand that creates affordable and sustainable formal dresses up to extended sizes out of hemp, recycled textiles, and other eco-friendly materials.

The ethical fashion brand is well-known for its sustainable luxury clothes made from pre and post-consumer waste. The designer label aims to reduce its impact and generate awareness.

Mara Hoffman offers stylish and unique alternatives manufactured responsibly by local, American, and smaller artisan groups under fair conditions.



12. ABLE

able sustainable affordable formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, denim, knitwear, outerwear, bags, accessories, shoes, jewelry
For: Women
From: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Values: Organic, artisan craft
Prices: $10-$230

ABLE is a sustainable clothing brand working with communities all over the world to stop the cycle of poverty by producing slow fashion and paying a living wage to women.

The label makes beautiful, modern, and affordable formal dresses for women to wear during special events. It uses eco-friendly materials such as certified organic cotton, Tencel, and linen.

ABLE believes in progress over perfection and aims to be transparent as well as accountable to end poverty in the fashion industry. It publishes on its website the lowest worker wages of its manufacturing partners.



13. Fair Indigo

fair indigo sustainable cheap party dress

Category: Basics, dresses, loungewear, knitwear, outerwear, sleepwear, bags, shoes, accessories, jewelry, homeware
For: Women, men
From: Madison, Wisconsin, United-States
Values: Fair Trade, organic, local, artisan craft, give back
Prices: $10-$80

Fair Indigo is committed to creating sustainable, cheap, and cute formal dresses for women with the best materials, including Fair Trade and organic cotton.

The clothing brand manufactures its clothes in a Fair Trade workshop in Lima, Peru, and promotes ethical consumerism. It cares for the well-being of garment workers with fair wages and a supportive work environment.

Fair Indigo focuses on creating durable, sustainable, ethical, and quality apparel that lasts beyond the season. It offers affordable, cute, and modern formal dresses, evening gowns, and artisan-crafted accessories.



14. Eileen Fisher

eileen fisher sustainable evening gown

Category: Basics, dresses, loungewear, outerwear, denim, sleepwear, bags, accessories, shoes
For: Women
From: NYC, New York, United States
Values: Organic, recycled, Fair Trade, B Corp, artisan craft, give back
Prices: $50-$520

Eileen Fisher is a sustainable women's clothing brand selling organic wardrobe essentials, from casual clothes to timeless and elegant formal pieces, from the famous fashion designer of the same name, Eileen Fisher.

The ethical fashion label offers minimalist, cute, and cheap formal dresses for women. It commits to sourcing eco-friendly materials and paying its workers a living wage.

Eileen Fisher ensures that all its workers have a voice, earn a fair wage, and are treated fairly in the workplace. It also supports women and girls through grants, events, and partnerships.

The organic clothing brand promotes inclusivity and diversity in the sustainable fashion movement and offers a wide range of formal dress sizes from petite to extended.

Eileen Fisher also operates an alternative supply chain supporting over 450 families in and around Arequipa, Peru, with higher Fair Trade wages and investments in the local community.


15. Indigenous

indigenous eco-friendly evening dress

Category: Basics, dresses, knitwear, outerwear, bags, accessories, jewelry
For: Women, men
From: Sebastopol, California, United-States
Values: Fair Trade, organic, artisan craft, B Corp
Prices: $30-$170

Indigenous is an organic clothing brand that creates affordable, chic, and timeless formal designs with ethical, sustainable, Fair Trade, and eco-friendly practices.

The fashion label offers beautiful and cute formal dresses that have a positive impact on people and the planet. It supports talented artisans around the world through economic empowerment and a Fair Trade supply chain.

Indigenous well-trained artisans create fully-fashioned unique handknit and woven designs. The brand designs ethical formal wear to minimize the strain on the environment and preserve the land for future generations.



16. Maggie Marilyn

maggie marilyn designer formal dress

Category: Basics, loungewear, knitwear, outerwear, accessories
For: Women
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Values: Organic, recycled, luxury
Prices: $390-$1,400

New Zealand-based sustainable fashion designer Maggie Marilyn Hewitt makes formal clothes and evening gowns that equally enrich people's lives in fashion supply chains and the life of our home, mother nature.

The need-to-know designer creates ethical formal dresses defined by her strong sense of luxury and fresh point of view. She founded her eponymous brand to make a difference in the apparel industry that needs change.

Maggie Marilyn is passionate about using fashion to create a better world. She is on a mission to transform the fashion industry into a transparent, circular, regenerative, and inclusive one.



17. Carolina K

carolina k eco-friendly formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, swimwear, outerwear, shoes, accessories
For: Women
From: Miami, Florida, United States
Values: Organic, recycled, zero waste, artisan craft
Prices: $70-$390

Argentinian musician and fashion designer Carolina Kleinman creates sustainable formal wear for women under her first design studio and store Carolina K.

She runs a luxury lifestyle brand that features hand-embroidered details made authentically by artisans from remote regions of Mexico, Peru, and India.

Carolina Kleinman is passionate about preserving artisanal traditions. She uses sustainable materials for beautiful collections of formal dresses, including linen and fabric scraps.

 


18. PACT

pact cheap ethical formal clothing

Category: Basics, dresses, underwear, loungewear, activewear, sleepwear
For: Women, men, children
From: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Values: Fair Trade, organic, recycled
Prices: $10-$60

PACT creates ethical, vegan, affordable, Fair Trade, and organic clothes for children, women, and men. It aims to make quality fashion products for people more consciously and ethically.

The clothing brand chooses the best ingredients, such as organic cotton and recycled materials, to make the best sustainable formal clothes for your special event.

PACT considers the people who make the clothes are as important as the people who wear them. It encourages people to not only care about what they put in their body, but what they put on their bodies.



19. Hackwith Design House

hackwith design house sustainable formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, knitwear, outerwear, swimwear, underwear, accessories
For: Women
From: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
Values: Organic, recycled, made in the USA, made to order
Prices: $40-$290

Hackwith Design House is a design studio in St. Paul run by Lisa Hackwith. It includes a conference room, industrial sewing machines, cutting tables, an inventory, and a shipping station.

Hackwith Design House makes sustainable, long-lasting, unique, and versatile clothes. It releases a limited edition design every week, including affordable and cute formal dresses for women up to extended sizes.

The designing and making process all happens in one place with a small team. Lead designer Lisa finds delights in the details and loves the process of creating beautiful things.



20. Arielle

arielle cheap ethical formal dress

Category: Basics, dresses, sportswear, loungewear, outerwear, accessories
For: Women
From: NYC, New York, United States
Values: Recycled, organic, Fair Trade, Zero Waste, made in the USA
Prices: $70-$120

Arielle is a sustainable fashion label made in NYC, committed to organic, recycled, zero-waste fabrics, local manufacturing, fair-trade operations, and plastic-free production.

Arielle uses recycled polyester to create affordable, breathable, and comfortable formal dresses, proudly produced in New York's Garment District.

Arielle maintains a good relationship with the people who make its clothes, supporting the local economy, and defunding unethical labor.

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About the Author: Alex Assoune

Alex Assoune Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.

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Panaprium is proud to be 100% independent with no sponsorship and free of any influence. Products are carefully handpicked from brands we trust and support. If you buy something through our link, we may earn a commission.
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