Forget the cap and gown. High school seniors' most anticipated outfits of spring are picked out for prom. 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.
Here's a quick list of local prom dress drives and the ways you can help make prom dreams come true.
Comerica Bank Prom Dress Drive
The biggest prom dress drive in the area, this sixth annual event benefits Dallas CASA and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. From February 1-29, Comerica will receive gently used formal dresses and accessories at six banking centers during normal business hours: 3202 N. Fitzhugh, 5200 Forest Ln., 8850 Boedecker St., 8225 Preston Rd., 6829 Hillcrest Ave., and 3310 Premier Rd. in Plano. All sizes, shoes, purses, and accessories are welcome, too. In the last five years, the prom dress drive has donated about 4,000 dresses to teens served through Dallas CASA and Boys & Girls Clubs.
Dallas Public Library Fairy Tale Closet
Dallas Public Library helps alleviate financial stress of prom with its Fairy Tale Closet, which offers free, new, and gently-used formal wear to high school girls. Not only are formal dresses available, but so are jackets and suits for teens who eschew ball gowns. The library takes special care to make LGBTQ+ teens feel comfortable and welcome in picking out attire. There'll be four dates for the shopping event, with the main one falling on March 7. Teens can register through the event's website and check back often for updated information. Donations are being taken through February 28 at all Dallas Public Library locations. They are seeking gowns (especially plus-size and extra-small size), pantsuits, shoes, jewelry, evening bags, tuxedos and suits, dress shirts, and cummerbunds and ties. For more information, call 214-670-7943 or email email@example.com.
Recovery Resource Council BuzzFree PROMises Dress & Suit Giveaway
This fun and interactive event is designed to educate and empower high school juniors and seniors to make healthy choices about drug and alcohol use. Participants are encouraged to sign a pledge to be drug- and alcohol-free, and as a reward, they get to choose free prom attire from thousands of collected dresses and suits/tuxes. Taking place on March 28 (location TBD), the day’s event will include workshops, speakers, a fashion show, activities, and lunch. The organization is now accepting donations of gently used formals and suits/tuxedos. (No accessories or shoes.) They particularly need plus-size dresses and suits in smaller sizes. Attire may be dropped off between 8-5 pm Monday through Friday at Recovery Resource Council's office, 1349 Empire Central, Dallas, 8th floor. Follow their Facebook page for updates.
Prom Shop Drive at Methodist Dallas Medical Center
The Volunteer Services department at Methodist Dallas will hold its third annual Prom Shop for its high school student volunteers on March 18. Prom Shop was created after student volunteers were overhead talking about missing prom because they were overwhelmed with end-of-schoolyear expenses and couldn’t afford to buy a formal dress. The event is a fun-filled afternoon for them to pick a prom dress and enjoy sweet treats and refreshments — all at no cost to them. While the event is open only to Methodist volunteers, the public can donate gently used formal dresses, shoes, and accessories in all sizes. Items can be dropped off, 8 am-4 pm Monday through Friday, from February 3 to March 11. Take them to the Volunteer Services office located in the main lobby of Methodist Dallas, 1441 N, Beckley Ave. For more information, call 214-947-2977.
Becca's Closet at Ranchview High School, Irving
Ranchview High School opens Becca’s Closet twice a year (for homecoming and prom) to students in need on their campus, as well as to other community high school students in North Texas. While community shopping days this year are TBA, no appointment will be necessary to attend. Students can simply bring a school ID or document that shows they are currently enrolled in high school. Becca's Closet takes monetary contributions, as well as donations of gently used dresses and accessories, at Ranchview High School, 8401 East Valley Ranch Pkwy., Irving. Be sure to check their page "What's hot and what's not" for donation guidelines.
Prom Closet at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, Plano
The Plano church's Prom Closet provides formal attire and accessories, free of charge, to about 800 girls around the region and state each spring. The public can get involved by shopping, donating, or volunteering. This year's shopping days are February 18, 19, 20, and 22. Donations of gently used or new dresses, shoes, and jewelry are being taken from 8:30-5 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:30 am-1 pm Friday in Room 133 (stop by the receptionist desk for directions to the room). Monetary contributions can be made through the church's website. Also, items can be donated through a Prom Closet Amazon Wish List. The church, located at 5801 W. Plano Pkwy., provides more detailed information on its website.
We're All About the Dress, North Richland Hills
Since 2008, this DFW boutique has been providing free formal dresses year-round for teenagers who need them (and now, free bridal gowns to military and fire, police, and EMT brides). The all-volunteer organization operates (and pays rent) thanks to monetary donations and sponsorships, payable through PayPal or Amazon Smile. For the first two years, the boutique served only Birdville ISD students but has expanded to provide dresses for students throughout Texas. It's located at 6242 Rufe Snow Dr., Ste. 212, North Richland Hills, and hours are 1 pm-6 pm Thursday, 1-5 pm Friday, and 11 am-4 pm Saturday. The shop takes donations of dresses, shoes, jewelry, and makeup. They have a special need for plus-size attire. They also need volunteers to work in the shop and welcome students who need to fulfill community service hours.
Junior League of Arlington Glass Slipper Boutique
Glass Slipper Boutique, now in its 12th year, provides dresses, shoes, and accessories for local young ladies who need a little extra help with prom. This year's shopping event will take place from 9 am-6 pm March 28 at the Junior League of Arlington Center, 4002 W. Pioneer Pkwy., Arlington. The public can drop off gently used shoes, handbags, jewelry, hair accessories, and dresses at the center from 9 am-3 pm Monday through Friday. Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 817-277-9481.
Prom Dreams Boutique at University Christian Church, Fort Worth
The church across from the TCU campus wants to help make prom a possibility for all high school students. Students do not need to have any church affiliation to "shop," as the Prom Dreams Boutique is an outreach ministry of the congregation. It provides dresses, shoes, purses, and jewelry to anyone who needs them. They will have rooms and closets filled with items for students to shop, free of charge, March 19-April 25 at 5-7 pm Thursdays and 10 am-12pm Saturdays. Special appointments are also available. The church is taking donations of gently used formal wear, accessories, and shoes at the reception desk during normal business hours. They are also seeking volunteers for sales associates to tag dresses, organize items, record "sales," and help students shop. Email email@example.com or call 817-926-6631 for more information.
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. 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.
Know of a prom dress drive in Dallas-Fort Worth? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.