In the late spring of 2020, if girls wore prom dresses at all, they wore them in front of a webcam for a virtual prom. While some events scheduled earlier in the year took place before the dangers of the pandemic forced schools to close and cancel events, most proms came too late to be held safely. Now, young women who put so much thought into selecting their gowns must decide what to do with an unused prom dress.
Sell or Consign It
Although recouping the full investment in a prom gown is unlikely, one might soften some of the financial impact by selling the gown. Online listing sites like eBay or LetGo allow sellers to set an asking price or conduct an auction and accept the highest bid. Shipping will be necessary, as it would be difficult to transact a safe “contact-free” local pick up. If local pick up is the selected option, sellers must review the recommended safety precautions for transactions with strangers. Both online sellers and consignment shops take a fee or commission from the sale, so pricing the dress right and factoring in fees and shipping costs is wise.
Proms will return, possibly next year, and there are many organizations that accept donated dresses and distribute them to young women in need. Prepare and pack the dress carefully, and follow the organization’s requirements about what they will accept and how they want it shipped.
An alternative to shipping the dress off to an organization that specializes in prom dresses is to donate it to a local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or charitable resale shop that will resell it to benefit a good cause.
It’s hard to part with a beautiful dress. It can simply be carefully packed and stored for a future event once large social gatherings get the okay from public health officials. That day is not likely to come any time soon, so another alternative is to “upcycle” the dress by making it into other garments. Most prom gowns have a voluminous amount of fabric that can transform into two or more other pieces, like skirts, blouses, scarves, and head wraps. The quality fabric and beautiful color of a prom dress will make upcycled outfits especially lovely. Talent in sewing is a must, so if design and stitchery aren’t in one’s skill set, dress owners can enlist the help of a friend or local alterations shop to figure out the mechanics of taking the dress apart and remaking it into other garments.
These are just a few ideas about what to do with an unused prom dress. Creative young women are sure to find other ways to preserve the memory of a very unusual year, and how they turned disappointment into something more positive.