Bloomington High School's homecoming dance is Saturday, Oct. 6. (Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user OakleyOriginals)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - It's homecoming seasons, but for some high school girls, it's hard to say yes to the dress because of money.
A program at Bloomington High School is trying to reverse that. The House of Style is a store at the high school where girls can shop through donated, gently used dresses. Advisor Gloria McElwain said it's not just borrowing a dress, it becomes their dress.
"So, they have a real sense of pride and happiness about being able to enjoy what everyone else is enjoying and no body knows that it's a dress that they got from somebody else," McElwain said. "Some of them are really happy and share it and other people keep it for themselves. It's just a really nice opportunity for them."
The program six years ago with prom dresses has expanded to include homecoming dresses, accessories, men's dress shirts, pants and ties.
"It started for me, I had a student come to me and say she wasn't going to prom because she couldn't afford a dress, not even the ones at Good Will. So, I put an e-mail out to staff and the response was incredible and we kind of ran from there," McElwain said.
The store is set up in the high school. McElwain said the girls set up an appointment to shop and can try on dresses. Last year, 55 dresses were given away for homecoming and prom.
McElwain said they are always looking for gently used dresses and there's no criteria to donate.
"We prefer that they be in descent shape, that they're not ripped or torn, that they're in nice shape. They can come into the front office and donate right there in the front office," McElwain said.
The store has about 150 dresses of all sizes, styles and shapes.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@Cumulus.com.