Prom is still several weeks away, but this is prime time for dress shopping. Some might say finding the perfect dress is more important than finding a date.
Adel Junior Mickayla Shattuck says, "I'm looking forward to dancing with my friends, and dinner before of course."
And of course, she wants to find the right dress. She found hers in a blue beaded gown. Rhonda Deer of Soiree Couture in Urbandale says, "It has been very busy."
Deer says the rush is on to find the perfect dress and anything goes this year. "Mostly long, we do see a lot that have got the short and what we call oyster tails, which kind of give you illusion that it's a long gown, but is much more easy for the girls to wear."
Beads are also big, in the form of big chunky stones. One thing that's out is showing lots of skin. Deer says, "We do not bring as many in with the skin showing simply because a lot of the schools do not allow it."
Deer says her gowns range from $125 to $700, and the average prom goer spends $500 on a dress. Stores like Soiree Couture also offer consignments to make designer gowns more affordable. And, area organizations have dress drives to offer free gowns to teens.
The Prom Dress Giveaway is a part of Project Fresh Start in Ankeny. The program started in 2004 to help every girl have a prom dress. Volunteer Sue Rasmussen says, "Some of them are brand new, some of these have never been worn. We'll get some of them that even have price tags on them."
At first, the program just served Ankeny High School. But now, nine school districts participate. Girls from Ankeny, Ankeny Christian Academy, Ballard, Bondurant-Farrar, Madrid, North Polk, Saydel, Southeast Polk and Woodward-Granger can all get a free gown.
Volunteer Karen Norton says, "500 to 600 dresses a year come in, and typically we give out 200 to 300 dresses a year."
The giveaway runs March 4th through March 8th from 4 to 7 p.m. at the old Maurices clothing store. It’s located at 733 N. Ankeny Boulevard. Dressing rooms will be available. Rasmussen says, "It's so much fun to watch the girls come in. They'll bring their boyfriends in or they'll bring a group of them together their friends and they'll kind of critique each other as they try on a dress."
You can drop off gowns to donate at the Community Education Department in the Ankeny School District building before March 4th.
During the giveaway, volunteers will only ask what school the student attends.