WALKERSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Walkersville High School will hold its own version of the famous running of the brides at Filene’s Basement when it hosts its eighth annual Cinderella’s Closet formal dress sale Friday and Saturday.

More than 225 “gently used” dresses appropriate for proms and other formal affairs will be for sale at prices ranging from $10 to $35, according to Dawn Hawes, sale chairwoman.

“There is a significant number of girls who don’t go to formal dances because they can’t afford the $200 dresses,” Hawes said. “This sale gives them the opportunity to go.”

While lesser-quality dresses — and last year’s styles — are available at discount department stores for $40 to $80, it is common to pay more than $200 for a dress at boutiques — especially at those that guarantee the same dress won’t be sold to anyone else at the same school, Hawes said.

“A friend of mine last year spent $350 on two different dresses because her daughter couldn’t make up her mind,” Hawes said. “The people who are able (to) do spend a lot of money.”

This is Hawes’ last sale; she will hand the reins over to a successor for next year. Her youngest daughter will graduate and head to college in the fall.

Dresses come to the sale two ways. Garments are accepted on consignment, with 5 percent of the sale price going to the Walkersville High Parent-Teacher-Student Association for administrative costs, and the remainder going to the original owner. Dresses can also be donated so all sale proceeds benefit the PTSA, Hawes said.

Much of the money from the dress sale benefits the group’s scholarship fund, Hawes said.

Last year’s total sales were $900; the PTSA received $300.

The PTSA awarded six $500 scholarships last year. The dress sale funded more than half of one scholarship, Hawes said.

But the money raised by the sale isn’t the point, and Hawes and her fellow volunteers don’t consider the event a fundraiser.

It is about making lifelong dreams of attending a prom come true for girls who may not have been otherwise able to participate.

About four years ago, a girl whose parents had recently gone through a divorce shopped at the sale.

“The divorce had squandered all the family assets, and money was tight,” Hawes said. “This girl was able to get a dress, the shoes that had been dyed to match the dress, a wrap, and a full set of jewelry, including earrings, a necklace and bracelet, for about $35. She was thrilled.”

Some people are “creeped out” about buying used clothing, Hawes said, but she just considers it another form of recycling.

“I think spending $300 on a dress that you wear once is obscene,” she said. “Reusing clothing is a perfectly acceptable manner of recycling.”

Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post,
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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