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Your Stylist: Red-carpet-worthy dresses that happen to be eco-friendly

October 25, 2010 |  8:00 am

Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column

For the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to stick to buying and wearing eco-friendly clothing and accessories. So far I’ve had no trouble finding cute clothes that work for everyday, work etc. ... But I have several weddings to attend this fall/winter, plus I know there will be holiday office parties during the Prairie_underground_fringe_dress180 end of November and December. I need some nice cocktail-style dresses and want to try and stick to my eco-friendly ways. I know vintage clothing is obviously eco-friendly, but that requires a lot of looking around and digging that I’m just not into. Are there any lines that make more formal, eco-friendly dresses that aren’t just one-offs? Thanks, KM, San Diego

Kudos to you for making such an effort to stick to wearing eco-friendly fashion!  With lines such as Loomstate and John Patrick Organic, wearing adorable, eco-friendly jeans, T’s and casual dresses is a breeze.  Finding more formal pieces can be a big challenge, but there is hope.

Actress Olivia Munn recently wore an eco-friendly frock on the red carpet while attending the Environmental Media Awards. The black halter  cocktail dress with a little peek-a-boo at the chest is from a line called Alexx Jae & Milk, which uses overstock fabric from high-end designers. Garments are all locally made and any fabric dying is done with natural dyes. The dress retails for $336 and is available at Milk boutique in L.A. The whole Alexx Jae & Milk line is made from these overstock fabrics, so this dress is no fluke. You could probably find a few options that would work for you and your upcoming events.

Lina_rennell_black_dress340 A website called has a nice selection of eco-friendly designers who are making gorgeous dresses. A few that I found to have very cute and somewhat formal items are Lina Rennell and Prairie Underground. They both use organic materials and eco-friendly practices in the production of their clothing. Rennell’s triangle print dress ($340, left) is 100% organic wool cotton crepe and handmade in Northern California. The Seattle-based Prairie Underground has the garnet red fringe dress ($180, above) made from 100% organic cotton that would look great dressed up with vintage gold necklaces and bangles.

For a more minimal and modern look, a Brooklyn-based line called Dress Reform also uses natural and organic materials when making clean, solid-colored separates. The look here is maybe a bit less formal than what you’re looking for, but when jazzed up with some bold statement jewelry and killer heels, the result is just as stylish as any cute cocktail dress.

Good luck with your eco-friendly wardrobe. Try starting with the designer options above and you should have no problem finding stylish and formal eco-conscious fashion.

Send your style queries to

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: (Top) Olivia Munn at the 2010 Environmental Media awards, wearing Alexx Jae & Milk. Credit: WireImage  (Middle) Prairie Underground fringe dress at   (Bottom) Lina Rennell triangle print dress at