Thumbnail image by Iliana Garner / North by Northwestern

Dillo is just around the corner, baby! Mayfest is still gatekeeping the headliners, but that doesn’t mean you still have a lot of time left to figure out an outfit. If you’re feeling desperate, don’t rocket straight to fast fashion for a quick, trendy fit. Instead, protect planet Earth as you blast off for Planet Dillo and check out some more sustainable options for looking your best this weekend!

What to look for

If you haven’t been to a thrift store in a while, curated second-hand shops like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange are teeming with the fast fashion trends from as recently as a few months ago. While it might annoy die-hard thrifters looking for their own aesthetics, the racks are overflowing with the mesh, metallics and neon fabrics that once flooded our feeds.

Thrift stores will also carry piles of statement jewelry, going-out tops, colorful dresses and pants. While many items might have Shein or Urban Outfitters tags, it’s still more sustainable to shop secondhand and save them from a landfill if you're going for a single-use outfit.

Cheaper and less curated thrift stores like Village Discount and Goodwill are great places to form the basis of your outfit. There you’ll find baggy pants, cheap jackets and shoes that you don’t mind getting ruined (I don't need to remind veterans of last year’s Dillo of the porta potty mud swamp).

If you’re willing to pay a little extra for rush shipping, online thrifting offers some great options as well! I found my outfit this year from Depop, searching for specific statement items like a rhinestone top to bring my outfit together.

I also always recommend ThredUp. It’s less curated and less aesthetically pleasing than Depop, but you can search for specific brands and measurements to make sure you get something of good quality that actually fits.

Screenshot courtesy of ThredUp

If you do end up turning to fast fashion retailers for something specific, I recommend sticking to accessories. It’s better to spend less money on a cheap item that you’ll only wear once than a whole new pair of jeans.

Where to look

1.Buffalo Exchange: (Andersonville or Wicker Park) A little more pricey and full of fast fashion, however, will be great for statement and trendy pieces.

2. Crossroads: (Evanston, Wicker Park) Similar to Buffalo exchange, but great if you’re in a pinch.

3. Village Discount: (Andersonville, Logan Square and more) Take your time: It’s a lot to look through, but it’s difficult to not find something you like here.

4. Ragstock: (Wicker Park) Has a great mix of vintage and trendy firsthand items. If you had to pick one place to go, I’d tell you to go here. Don’t miss the basement and I promise you’ll leave with something.

5. Goodwill: (Evanston, Wilmette, Loop) A go-to, more convenient to get to with a car but reliably cheap.

6. Online: (Depop, ThredUp or Poshmark) Shipping at this point might be tricky, but for future festivals and outfits, I highly recommend checking these out.

7. From your (or your friend’s) closet: This is a great place to look for new looks! Part of the appeal of a special outfit is simply that it’s something you haven’t worn before, not necessarily something no one else has ever worn. Don’t forget to ask around for accessories and makeup palettes, which can elevate the most basic of looks. If you’re struggling by the end of the week, ask around. I promise it’ll work out.

What to wear

I love that this year’s theme, Planet Dillo, opens the door to so many creative options! Space is unexplored! We have no idea what the aliens of planet Dillo might look like! Anything bold and bright will undoubtedly be on theme. If you haven’t been on Pinterest for the past few months curating ideas, here are some quick and easy ideas.

Isabelle Butera / North by Northwestern

The monochrome alien: SUPER easy to achieve, always impressive. If you can pull together a top, bottoms and possibly shoes of the same shade or different shades of the same color, you will effortlessly slay. A funky hairstyle or accessories will take it a step further.

Isabelle Butera / North by Northwestern

Sexy astronaut: Cargo pants. Doc Martens. Tiny top. Glittery eyeshadow. Boom.

Isabelle Butera / North by Northwestern

Artsy night sky: For anyone with an artsy phase circa 2020, I know you have some astrology themed jewelry. I’m guessing you also have a black maxi skirt and a cute top.

Isabelle Butera / North by Northwestern

Space itself: take anything dark and sparkly  and combine with a fun makeup look and you’ll be good to go.

The clock is ticking, but I promise if you have the time for a quick thrifting trip to Andersonville or Wicker Park, you’ll have an out-of-this-world outfit.