31 January 2012

Not-quite-27 dresses

I have mentioned a few times – and may be slightly obsessed with – the fact that Mr. P and I need to pare down our belongings before we move. Oh, who am I kidding? Mr. P basically brought a few items of furniture, a bunch of electronics, and his clothes when he moved in our house. The rest of this junk was mine, and it’s my job to collect and purge a LOT of it.

Because getting the hang of this teaching business seems to take all my time lately, I’m not cleaning things out as much as I’d like. But I did get rid of a few things last week, thanks to an email going around Mr. P’s high school: a call for formal dress donations for prom season! In other words, an easy way to reclaim half of our guest bedroom closet!

That’s right. I still had every prom dress, every bridesmaid gown, every frilly frock I ever wore to a formal event. Considering all the proms and formals and weddings I’ve attended, it was a bunch of dresses. Many of them were purchased for cheap – my best find was a shimmery number that I got on clearance at Macy’s for under $10 (yes, I know, I’m taking a bow as you read this). Even in high school, I found formal dresses off-season or in consignment shops, typically for under $50. But my ability to score a great deal on prom dresses, combined with the honor of being a bridesmaid in several weddings, meant that the downstairs closet was getting ridiculously and unnecessarily full.

To my credit, Mr. P and I do attend his school’s prom every year, which meant there actually was a relatively good chance I might wear them again (relative to normal twenty-eight year olds, that is). But... there were approximately fourteen dresses in there. And we’re moving. No matter how pretty these are, there is no reason for me to haul fourteen formal dresses to St. Louis.

The move is extra pressure, but really, every year I intend to pare down my ridiculously large collection of formal dresses. And every year I remember that task in, say, April. In the middle of prom season, LONG after any self-respecting high school girl has bought her prom dress. Useless. So this year I was super duper excited to get a notice that Mr. P’s school was collecting dress donations in January!

I admit, I was feeling a bit sentimental about these dresses. They represent some wonderfully fun times! But again: unlikely to wear most of them again. And not just because I didn’t have an event in mind where I could wear them, but also because most of them really didn’t fit me anymore (my chunkier youth is behind me, I guess). A huge bummer, but life is too short to wear a dress that doesn’t look killer on you... and boxes are too expensive to haul them around if they don’t fit. Considering that I can probably score a new dress for the cost of alterations, donating them was really my best option.

So I tried them each on and ultimately chose four the four best-fitting ones to keep: a short one, a long one, a black one, and the one I was wearing when Mr. P proposed (okay, the last one’s not entirely practical, but I get to have a little sentimentality, right?). That meant I loaded up ten dresses into the back of Mr. P’s car to send off for a worthy cause.

And what’s the worthy cause? These dresses were being collected at Mr. P’s school for a local organization called Love the Dress, which allows any girl to trade in an old dress for credit toward a new one, and girls in need to buy one with a voucher or at a reduced price. And the money raised by dress sales goes to charitable organizations that support abused women. So basically I could help young ladies looking for a prom dress at a discount (girls after my own heart, in other words) AND women who desperately need assistance... by cleaning out my closet. It doesn’t get any more win-win than that.

If you’re like me and unnecessarily holding on to WAY TOO MANY formal dresses, here’s your January (barely) reminder: now is the time to donate them! The Love the Dress organization can help you out in the Nashville area; otherwise, check Donate My Dress for listings for your area. Love the Dress is also collecting shoes and accessories, too. Don’t wait until April – now’s the day to do it!