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Getting exquisite without getting expensive

Olympic High School junior Carly Page examines selections at a new formal wear “lending closet” that OHS parent Denise Mairs is opening.  It will allows high school students to afford formal wear for proms, balls, and social functions without having to buy expensive new clothing. - Photo by Tracey Cooper
Olympic High School junior Carly Page examines selections at a new formal wear “lending closet” that OHS parent Denise Mairs is opening. It will allows high school students to afford formal wear for proms, balls, and social functions without having to buy expensive new clothing.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

The dance is over.

The music has been long silent and the dress hangs limp in the back of the closet. Its sequins and floor length allure that made it THE dress you had to have, have been replaced with a knee-length retro number.

But now, Olympic High School parent Denise Mairs hopes to put those used dresses to good use. She is gathering yesterday’s glittery, velvety, shiny, soft, garments for a lending closet she hopes will have dresses for girls of all shapes and sizes and styles.

“With shoes and bags and all the accessories it turns out to be quite a bit of money,” Mairs said.

And with two big dances a year, not including prom, that can be a lot of money.

“It’s pretty important,” said Mairs’ daughter Katie about wearing the right dress. “Everyone’s going to see you, so you have to look your best,” she said.

Katie and friend Carly Page, both high school juniors shave costs by doing their own make-up and hair.

“I’d rather get a used dress if it will save me money,” Page said.

With the retro and vintage looks being so popular now, wearing used clothing doesn’t have the stigma it would have 5-10 years ago.

Mairs got the idea when she noticed her older daughter’s friends weren’t going to the dances because they didn’t have or couldn’t afford something to wear. Many of her dresses are now donations to the closet.

Getting a dress to the dance wasn’t something Mairs could afford when she was a girl. So she didn’t go.

“It wasn’t something I asked for. It wasn’t in the budget,” she said.

The dresses and accessories will be stored in the Mairs’ basement. She will take any dress that is in good condition, no matter what style. People can call to make an appointment to borrow a dress. If a dress is borrowed Mairs asks that it be returned in the condition it left the house in, including being dry cleaned.

“I hope that it’s something that is going to pan out,” she said.

To make an appointment contact Denise Mairs at (360) 479-5418.

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