Prom Closet Boutique gives students a chance to dress up

Prom Closet Boutique features myriad shoes and dresses. - Courtesy photo
Prom Closet Boutique features myriad shoes and dresses.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The sparkly olive-green dress with a ruffled skirt might be out of reach for most students as South Kitsap High School’s prom approaches.

But Diane Potts, a paraeducator at the high school, said that dress, valued at $865 and once was featured in a magazine, is available for students to borrow through Prom Closet Boutique.

Potts, who runs the Community Transition Program, which helps students with disabilities gain skills to transition to adulthood, said the dress is one of more than 500 offered in sizes 0 through 24 in myriad colors and styles. When the project began four years ago, Potts said they only had three dresses.

It also offers accessories, shoes, tuxedos and wedding dresses for the school’s prom, which is June 2 at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton.

Potts said the service is available to more than just students, noting that a man recently borrowed a suit to wear to a job interview.

She said the service also is not just for low-income students.

Potts, who said the idea came during a shift sorting clothes with her students at South Kitsap Helpline’s Vintage to Vogue thrift store, has greater aspirations than just helping youths. She also endeavors to collect 1,000 pounds of food for Helpline through the project.

During lunchtime the next two Tuesdays at the high school, Potts and her transition-program students will stop into the lunchroom to collect bags of food from students. Students receive one ticket per bag of food they donate.

At 10 a.m. May 18, Potts said there will be a drawing. The winner will receive a prom packet that includes dinner at the Lighthouse Restaurant & Lounge, a rental tuxedo from the Men’s Warehouse in Silverdale, a haircut at the Men’s Club Barbershop, hairstyle and manicure at The Brass Ring Salon & Day Spa, a corsage and boutonniere from Flowers to Go, a four-hour rental from Galaxy Limousine and photography from Bayside Collections.

“We do anything we can to help out the community,” Potts said.

In addition, she said it is a valuable learning experience for transition-program students.

“We’ve painted, cleaned and helped people find dresses,” transition-program student Jocelyn Iwaniec said. “I just like to do it to help out.”

With the exception of a requirement to return any borrowed clothes and donate a bag of clothes, Potts said there are no other stipulations or expenses that come with using clothes from Prom Closet Boutique.

Each dress is dry cleaned before it is lent out. Potts, who noted they received a “significant” discount from South Park Cleaners to do that, said they hold fundraisers to help with those costs.

Prom Closet Boutique is housed at Helpline’s location at 1012 Mitchell Ave. To donate a dress or schedule an appointment, call 443-3705.

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