Prom season is approaching and the search for that perfect dress at an affordable price could be made possible looking through clothing racks at the Princess Project Guelph.
The Princess Project is back in Guelph since its hiatus due to the pandemic. Run out of the Salvation Army Citadel, it sees prom dresses sold for $20. Shoes, accessories and purses are $5. It is a cash only event. Money from the dress sale will go back into the operational costs.
Any additional money after the costs are covered will go into the Salvation Army's community and family services ministry which includes a food bank and clothing room year-round.
It gives people a chance to be independent who want to make the dress purchase themselves, it makes it affordable for them since an average prom dress costs around $300 to $500, said Carla Holmes, project coordinator.
The project is run in other cities too. The purpose is to bring affordable dresses to those celebrating prom or graduation.
“It’s just a cost-effective way for them to be able to afford the whole prom experience,” said Holmes.
The event will be hosted at the Guelph Salvation Army Citadel at 1320 Gordon St. on Apr. 21 from 4 p.m. to 8 and Apr. 22 from 10 a.m. to noon.
It will be held in Fellowship Hall and includes fitting rooms, racks of dresses, tables of accessories and an area for parents with refreshments.
Anyone is welcome to attend and purchase a dress even if the dress is for another occasion other than prom.
Holmes remembered shopping for her Grade 8 graduation dress and had to shop from the Sears clearance rack, while other girls had their dresses tailor-made.
This event could provide relief for parents because there are cost savings but it also makes the prom-goers feel like their peers, said Holmes.
People are encouraged to donate back their dresses for the next Princess Project event.
“The Princess Project encourages the use and re-use of dresses and accessories yearly. This alleviates a negative environmental impact because we are promoting the idea of recycling, upcycling and using less resources, both financially and environmentally,” Holmes said in a follow-up email after an interview with GuelphToday.
“I hope we get as many people coming to take the dresses as we are getting them in,” said Holmes.
She remembers the dress she wore to prom in the mid-90s. It was a sleeveless black dress with a square neck bodice with box-cut separated pleats at the bottom.
The prom queen at her prom wore a copper coloured sequined dress, but she was the only one, everyone's dresses were simple.
“It seems like the need could be great. Especially considering the price of dresses and the style from what I can tell,” said Holmes.
“Hopefully we have something in our inventory that is going to make them feel good,” said Holmes.
There is a large stock of dresses, some from years previous, others are newly donated, and some still have the original tags on them.
Holmes put the call out through the Princess Project Guelph social media profiles for dress donations. It seemed like people were waiting for the call to donate dresses and asked where they could drop them off, said Holmes.
The project is looking for volunteers to help with the set-up and take down of the event. More rolling clothing racks, and black velvet clothing hangers are also asked for. Volunteers can email the Princess Project Guelph.
Holmes said she hopes people coming to purchase a dress will feel excited and empowered.