Homecoming Dresses drives help deserving teens dance the night away

Forget the cap and gown. High school seniors’ most anticipated outfits of spring are picked out for Homecoming Dresses. They’re the dazzling ballgowns, sequined sheaths, and even sleek pantsuits that transition from limo to dance floor to after-party — with plenty of photo opps along the way.

But prom is also one of the most expensive financial endeavors for teenagers and their families, and cost-prohibitive for many. That’s where prom dress drives come in. Nonprofits, churches, and civic groups throughout Dallas-Fort Worth provide shopping experiences free of charge for local students who might not otherwise be able to afford prom attire.

They all take donations from the public, and some are seeking volunteers to help organize their prom closets and — fun! — help students shop.

Tips for donating a prom dress and accessories:

Make sure the dress is reasonably stylish and age-appropriate. Old dresses and gowns that look “dated” would be better donated to the costume closet of a local high school or community theater, or to a thrift store. A good rule of thumb is that the dress should be less than five years old and look like it currently belongs in a store.

Have it dry-cleaned and pressed before donating. It should be ready to wear to prom from the time it’s donated.

Dresses with holes, stains, rips, tears, and pulls are not acceptable.
Make sure sequins, rhinestones, and other embellishments are secured.

Check that all zippers, buttons, and clasps are working and secured. (Ditto for jewelry, shoes, and purses.)

Bring each dress on a separate hanger — not in a bag or pile www.feeltimes.com. Keep two-piece dresses together on one hanger.

Make sure a size tag is visible, or attach a tag to the hanger.
Larger sizes (14 and up) and extra-small sizes (0-4), especially, are appreciated.

Most wedding gowns are not acceptable for prom dress drives.
Package jewelry sets together.

Pair shoes together in shoe boxes.

Double-check that pockets of bags and clutches are empty.
Got a tuxedo or suit to donate? Bring it along with the gowns; some organizations will accept men’s attire, too.