What should you do with all of your old prom dresses, military ball gowns, and formals? When Spring Cleaning season rolls around, many spouses are wondering if they should save their dresses for future generations or donate them.
As a mom of a teenager, the feedback I have gotten has been pretty humorous. “Wow, Mom. That is vintage…” On the other hand, as a dress collector, I love my 1980’s, puffed sleeved, sparkly gems. I truly believe it would hurt my heart to get rid of these amazing and glittery wonders. But time has not been kind to my hips and I can guarantee that my backside will never see a single digit size again. I might need to ditch some of these cute, but amazingly small, formals.
In deciding which ones to toss or keep, I invited my two daughters into the process. The hilariousness which followed made me smile and it showed me how old some of my dresses are. We thumbed through an entire rack of sequin-covered, shoulder-padded, madness while they screeched wildly at some of the hideous things I owned.
They shuffled into some of these bright pink monsters, giggling at the noise the fabric made because beads were jostling about. Wonderment filled my youngest daughter’s eyes. She is six years old and has never seen anything nearly as tacky as some of these old school frocks I have hidden away in my closet over the years.
We found the first cocktail dress I bought – a dress I needed for a first date with the man that would soon become my husband.
Both girls dallied around in my wedding dress, veil and tiara included. They each picked two or three dresses they wanted and the rest were off to be donated. When my thirteen-year-old held it up to herself, I did have to choke back a tear or two.
To keep or toss. That is the question.
Here’s the thing. We have a tendency to drag our stuff from station to station, forgetting we even own some of these things. We jam everything into boxes or bags, hoping we can fit everything on the truck (and be under our weight limit). I really think we could start to part with some of the things we no longer use or things that have just taken up vacant space.
Ask yourself if there is anything in your closet that holds immense sentimental value. Or, answer if the dresses you own are likely to be reused. If so, keep those items. I wore a black and white 80s sequined gown to a black-tie spouse’s club dinner auction. It really did look great with some modern accessories. As for the rest of the old and dusty formals and frocks, let ‘em go to your local free store or consign them.
The girls ended up choosing to keep a couple of vintage 80’s gowns, a 1950’s evening dress, and a little black cocktail dress. And, we totally kept my wedding gown. Here’s holding out hope that one of my girls will want it later. There is always the chance this ol’ thing will come back in style.