When Laura Bauer took over the Prom Dress Exchange from its previous organizer, she hoped to make the 2011 event a big success. And although only eighteen girls walked out of her makeshift door outfitted with gently used gowns, she was happy with the results.
In contrast, this year's edition this past weekend was a complete smash, with dozens of girls (and a few guys, too) going home with formal wear, all provided by the Prom Dress Exchange.
Dick's Sporting Goods Park donated several suites for the swap, and by the crack of 8 a.m. on Saturday, high schoolers were already lined up to get first pick of over 2,000 dresses, heels, jewelry, suits, tuxedo shirts and more.
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"By 9:30, I couldn't let another person in," Bauer says, so she decided to open early and accommodate the masses. Some of those people had come from as far away as Nebraska to look through the formal wear, all offered at a mere $10 suggested donation price. By 2 p.m., the non-profit had raised more than $1,200, and Bauer had linked up with a storage facility in Commerce City to possibly house the leftover dresses for free until the 2013 season. While the racks had been pretty well picked-over, girls were still filing in to take a look and try on some finds in the spacious dressing rooms set up just for the event. in this high-functioning beehive of activity, volunteers were at work around every corner. There were steamer stations to get the wrinkles out and full-length mirrors for checking on final touches. Sewing machines whirred away as seamstresses took up hems, re-worked boning and adjusted straps to make perfect fits. The Prom Dress Exchange's handful of devoted volunteers made sure that more than a hundred economically outfitted high schoolers left feeling great about their refurbished apparel.
Interested in donating your gently used formal wear for next year's exchange? Visit the Prom Dress Exchange Facebook page for updates on drop-off locations.