Frequently Asked Questions

I do not live in Portland, am I eligible to come?

Yes. Any high school student who would like a prom dress 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, Synergy, Student View, or a note from your school on school letterhead. ID will be checked before your line number is given out. Home schooled high school students are welcome to attend. If you do not have an official ID card from your school please plan to bring one of the other approved proof of attendance methods listed above. 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:

Is there any cost?

No. The dresses are FREE. There is no cost to you for the dress. 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?

We will open the doors to our reception area from the Oregon Convention Center doors (near The Max line) at approximately 5:30 a.m. on Saturday to start handing out bracelets. Shopping will begin at 8:00 a.m.

On Sunday, bracelets will be handed out beginning at 7:30 a.m. Shopping will begin at 9:00 a.m.

If you arrive early (especially on Saturday), you may have to wait up to five hours. We will be giving out numbered bracelets and providing an approximate time that you will be able to enter the gown selection area. Be sure to follow Abby’s Closet on social media @abbysclosetpdx to stay up-to-date on your place in line. 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 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 attendees 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.

Is Abby's Closet welcoming to people of all gender identities?

Abby’s Closet is welcoming to students of all different gender identities, abilities and sizes. The goal of Abby’s Closet is to make every participant feel special, beautiful and confident.

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 on available to bring me?

Men are not allowed in the dress 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.

How long is the wait to select a dress?

The wait to select a dress can be anywhere from 3-5 hours. Upon arrival at the Oregon Convention Center you will be given a numbered bracelet and an approximate time of when you might enter the gown selection area. Be sure to follow Abby’s Closet on social media @abbysclosetpdx to stay up-to-date on your place in line. 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 can visit. The wait on Sunday tends to be a bit less and the selection of dresses is still great!

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 dresses 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 attendees wanting dresses, we encourage you to choose quickly. If you think you will need lots of time, Sunday has fewer students attending and the dress selection is still very good.

What if I have to leave before my number is called?

We encourage anyone who has to leave before their bracelet number is called to come back Sunday. Previously called bracelet numbers will be in the first group that goes In to the dress selection area.

What size dresses do you have?

We have dresses in size 0 to size 26 (or larger)

I am a private person, what is the dressing room situation like?

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 dresses. There are a few private dressing rooms, but the wait for them can be long.

Can I take a picture of my dress and send it to my date so they can help me 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!

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 the weekend of the Giveaway. Do you give out dresses at other times during the year?

Unfortunately, we do not. At the end of the event, the remaining dresses will be boxed up and put in storage until next year’s event

I can't attend the Giveaway. Can a friend or relative pick out a dress for me?

No. You need to be a high school student to receive a free dress.

I missed the Giveaway and need a dress for prom. What do you suggest?

At the conclusion of the Giveaway all of our dresses are boxed up and stored for the next year’s event. We would suggest you hunt for inexpensive dress 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 dress 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 have a dress to donate. Can I bring it to the Giveaway?

Yes, you may. We accept donations at the door.

Do you accept dress donations year-round?

Yes. We accept donations all year long.

Is there an organization that provides suits or tuxes for the guys to wear to prom?

We are not aware of a similar organization for guys. But, during prom season, we offer a discount coupon from Mr. Formal