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What To Do With Old Prom Dresses?

Used completely without her permission, hopefully she won't be mad.

A couple of weekends ago, my little sister, who is now 17, attended her first prom. She searched for weeks to find the perfect dress, and even considered some of my old dresses, which have lived in a storage container in my parents’ basement for several years now.

In addition to the collection of prom/formal dresses from my high school days, I have started to acquire several bridesmaids dresses. Some days I fear that my closet is going to resemble the one from 27 Dresses, where a single false move will cause the whole thing to explode, but I can’t seem to part with them since they hold sentimental value and most have been altered. With the exception of one dress, none would be suitable to wear again, unless I would suddenly be invited to attend a ball- something I don’t see happening.

With prom season in full swing, and wedding season just around the corner, it made me wonder: what are some alternative uses for those formal gowns once the event is over?

A little research gave me some good ideas, such as this blog on the same topic, but I wanted to develop my own version. I had to ask for help from some of my friends in compiling my list, and was able to get some creative ideas.

The best suggestions are below:

1. Stretch it between two trees and make a fancy hammock.

2. Cut sections out to use as fabric on a memories quilt or throw pillows.

3. Fashion it into a tent, sail, and loin cloth in a survival situation– because who would ever leave home without their collection of formal attire?

4. Use it as a cleaning rag or car wash shammy.

We should be glad that peopleofwalmart,com did not exist back then.

5. Get a couple of friends together and have a random girl’s night out, where each girl wears a formal dress from her collection. My friends and I did this in high school; we went to dinner at a Steak n Shake, then walked around the local Wal-Mart in our dresses from the previous year’s prom.

6. Donate it to charity.

7. Have it altered so it looks less like a formal gown and more like regular clothes, then just wear it where ever you want. This website has some different options for those who are crafty.

8. Schedule a “Trash the Dress” photo shoot, and have fun destroying it.

As most of my female friends face a similar problem of accumulating dresses we will never wear again, I’m sure there are countless other options available for repurposing formal attire. This dilemma sometimes makes me a little jealous of men, as they can either rent a tuxedo and return it, or wear a suit that they already own and can be worn again for almost any occasion. For now, my plan is to leave everything in storage, but at some point I think some of the ideas on my list could easily be done.

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