Thrifty Fairies

Christine Whelan | Posted on 03/29/10

Here's a scenario with which many women will relate:

You're at the department store, in search of a fancy dress for prom, or a wedding or some other rare dress-up function. You find one you like. It's more expensive than you'd hoped, but, you rationalize, I'll wear it to all the parties I go to for the next few years and it'll be worth it. An investment. You buy it. And the shoes to go with it. And the jewelry. You wear it once, for four hours... and then never wear it again.

Many women have these dresses stuffed in the back of our closets. Since we paid too much for them, we don't want to throw them away. But after a few years, it's time to admit we'll never wear them again.

Which is why Rashia Bell and Megan Kerrigan's idea is so brilliant.

For the last decade the two have collected and given away some 20,000 formal dresses - some worn once or twice, some never worn at all - to young women who would love to have, but can't afford, a dress for prom or some other special event.

On April 17 they'll distribute a few thousand dresses for high-school proms in New York City. It's called Operation Fairy Dust and this will be the 8th annual event. Last year, hundreds of New York City girls walking away with their dream dresses.

Said Kerrigan last year:

"The prom is so important this year because in a recession where a lot of parents are out of work and they're having to cut corners, it seems intuitive for them to have to cut the prom dress... We don't want to take that away from the girls."

A year later, the same is true. This is thrift at its best-generosity, giving opportunities to others and reusing beautiful resources. And now we know what to do with those dresses buried in the back of our closests: Donate them before they go (too) out of style!

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