Top Ten Tips to Green Your Prom

Ally Maize, founder of the Green Youth Movement, says greening your prom is easy! Photo: Courtesy Ally Maize

Ally Maize was already excited to go to prom to see her friends dressed up and spend the evening dancing at a swanky hotel. But this year, the 17-year-old high-school senior from West Los Angeles decided to make her prom a little greener.

She wore a couture, floor-length, royal blue ball gown by Lindee Daniel of Puridee. It’s made from fair-trade organic fabric and high-quality Indian peace silks called ahimsa and tussah. She also met with 30 friends, who agreed to carpool to the dance.

Maize founded the Green Youth Movement when she was 15. After watching An Inconvenient Truth, she was inspired to educate elementary students about sustainability and global warming. She organizes events like community gardens to teach kids how to plant and grow their own food. This year, attending her own prom inspired her to inform others on how to lessen its environmental impact.

“Prom is something that high schoolers across the country do every year. It’s easy to make prom greener,” says Maize.

Some of her other ideas include swapping dresses with friends, buying a used dress, purchasing a dress from a local designer, and altering a dress worn for a different event. She also suggests saving energy while creating a hairstyle: Instead of using electric curlers, rag curl for a soft, graceful look.

Some girls in her prom group were also convinced to dress more sustainably.

“I know that prom and buying a new dress is a big deal, but sometimes you’re more inclined to make a statement,” says Maize about eco-friendly style.

To avoid exposing your body to unnecessary chemicals, Maize suggests using organic personal care products, such as makeup, shampoo, and conditioner. Plus, these are choices can extend beyond prom to make everyday life more eco-friendly. Some brands she suggests include Alba, Aubrey Organics, David Babaii for Wildaid, and bubble and bee Organics.

“If I’m presented with two choices, I always choose to buy organic,” she says.

Maize offers five tips for greening your prom, and I’ve added a few of my own. (Hers are the first five.) Do you have other tips? Let us know!

Top Ten Tips for Greening Your Prom

  1. “Create a Car Pool: Drive to the dance with your favorite friends in tow — sans the gas-guzzling bus or limo. When we say car pool, we mean it.
  2. “Dress for Eco-Success: Why not have your dress serve a greater purpose? Check out dresses that use organic fabrics like bamboo and hemp, so the material is biodegradable? Once you’re done with your digs, donate it to a less-fortunate teen via” (Or donate it to The Cinderella Project.)
  3. “‘Green’ Your ‘Do: Ditch the energy-exhausting electric curlers and curling iron. Rag curls create soft, graceful curls that will last all night. Just remember: You’ll want to do this the night before since you’re counting on Mother Nature to set the curl.
  4. “Go Paperless: Instead of the prom invites, go the tree-saving approach by using a service like
  5. “Make Prom Matter: If you do any or all of the above, you’ll save a bundle, so why not consider giving a portion of your prom proceeds to a charity or non-profit organization?”
  6. Go Organic and Natural: Use organic and natural makeup and personal care products like those Maize mentions in the interview above. Every day you apply organics instead of harsh chemicals is a day of better health.
  7. Buy flowers that are local and in season (and organic!). Or, skip the boutonnieres and corsages altogether, and use design something more creative.
  8. Dine on a Dime: Plan an elegant meal with parents as the chefs and wait staff. This can save tons of money and be a lot of fun! Talk your “chefs” into offering vegetarian items and organic foods wherever possible. Or, if you go out to dinner, enjoy an after-prom midnight snack together with a large group of friends.
  9. Compost Food Scraps: If you’re having a meal before or after prom, compost the food scraps rather than throwing them away.
  10. Go Retro Together. Convince your date to wear a vintage suit to match your vintage dress!

Brigette Fanning

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)