I do not live in Portland, am I eligible to come? Yes. Any high school female student is invited to attend this event. You do not need to live in Portland or Oregon to attend.
Do I need any paperwork or proof of eligibility? Proof of school attendance is required. That proof can include, but is not limited to, a school ID card, a recent report card, or a note from your school on school letterhead. ID will be checked before your line number is given out (different from last year). You are not asked to prove financial need.
What if I don’t have a school ID card (because I am home-schooled or lost my ID card)? You can bring other proof of attendance, ex. something written on a letterhead. If you don’t have anything, please email us and explain the situation, and we can add you to an exception list: email@example.com
Is there any cost? No. The gowns are FREE. There is no cost to you for the gown. Transportation and parking at or near the Oregon Convention Center is the responsibility of the attendees. We encourage the use of public transportation, i.e. TriMet and the MAX Light Rail.
What time do I need to arrive to get in line? Please DO NOT arrive at the Oregon Convention Center before 6:30am. Portland City Police will be enforcing curfew laws. We will begin handing out tickets to get into the event around 7 am. Please note: If you come first thing in the morning, you will have a long wait time. There are plenty of gowns available, so if you want a shorter wait time, you might want to come on Saturday afternoon or Sunday.
May my mother or a female friend come with me? Yes, you may bring one female friend or relative with you. The dressing rooms are crowded, so bringing more than one person to help you pick out a dress is not encouraged and is usually not very helpful to you.
What if my father or boyfriend is the only one available to bring me? Men are not allowed in the gown selection area and dressing rooms. They need to wait out in the hallway. But you may go out to the hallway to show them a dress.
I am a private person, what is the dressing room situation? The dressing rooms are screened from the gown selection area, but are not totally private. Each will accommodate about eight girls; so if you feel uncomfortable undressing in front of others, consider wearing an undergarment that you can keep on while trying on gowns. There are a few private dressing rooms, but the wait for them can be long.
How long do I have to pick out a dress? You have about a half hour (30 min.). You will be allowed to take five gowns in the dressing area with you. There are lots of volunteers to find dresses for you if your initial selection does not work. Because of the volume of girls wanting dresses, we encourage you to choose quickly. If you think you will need lots of time, Sunday has fewer girls attending and the dress selection is still very good.
What size dresses do you have? We have dresses in size 0 to size 26 (or larger).
Should I come early? If you arrive early (especially on Saturday), you may have to wait up to three hours. We will be giving out numbers and telling you an approximate time that you will be able to enter the gown selection area. During your wait time, you may want to bring a good book to read or do your homework to pass the time. There are also some nearby stores and restaurants you could visit.
I can’t come on that weekend; do you give out dresses at any other time? Unfortunately, we do not. At the end of the event, the remaining gowns will be boxed up and put in storage until next year’s event.
Can I take a picture of my dress and email it to my boyfriend so he can help pick it out? Pictures are not allowed (cameras or camera-phones) in the dressing area due to privacy issues. You will have to surprise your boyfriend with your ability to choose that perfect dress! There may be some pictures taken by staff for event publicity, but written permission will be obtained from any girl who is in those pictures.
I am not very comfortable in crowd situations. How does this event work? The lobby tends to be very crowded on Saturday morning. Each attendee is given a number when they arrive and an approximate time they will be able to start choosing a dress. We let approximately 50 girls at a time into gown selection area, so it is not too crowded. The dresses are hung up by size and color, and are returned to the racks by volunteers after they are tried on. It is not any busier than a large department store with a good sale! If you come on Sunday it is much quieter and there is usually not much of a wait.
I have a dress to donate. Can I bring it to the event? Yes, you may. We accept donations at the door.
Do you have anyone who can shorten a dress or do other repairs? We have volunteer seamstresses who will do quick repairs (a zipper coming unsewn, a seam repair) but they do not have time to hem dresses or make major repairs. A friend who sews or a dry cleaner can do that for you. Our seamstresses will give advice on whether it is possible to hem a dress or do certain alterations.
I can’t come to the giveaway event. Can my friend or a relative pick out a gown for me? No. You need to be a high school student to receive a free gown.
I missed the giveaway event and need a gown for prom. What do you suggest? We would suggest you hunt for inexpensive gowns on discount racks at local department stores. Another option would be to visit re-sale and thrift stores. Oftentimes, you are able to find beautiful gowns at low prices at these types of stores. You might also want to check with your friends to see if they have a gown they would loan you for your prom.
I don’t live near Portland, OR. How can I find out about similar programs in other states? Go to www.donatemydress.org.
Do you accept donations year-round? Yes. We accept donations all year long. See “Donate” on our website for further information.
Is there an organization that provides suits or tuxes for the guys to wear to the prom? We are not aware of a similar organization for guys. But, during prom season, we offer a discount coupon from Mr. Formal that you can download from our site … click HERE.
How can I start a similar program at my school? Go to www.donatemydress.org to download a Guidebook with lots of information gathered from Abby’s Closet and similar nonprofits.