Is There a Second Life for Formal Frocks?

And so they wait.  Oh so carefully boxed up, tucked up and shielded from light.  When was the last time your vintage gowns, tuxedo – or wedding dress saw the light of day?

Like many of us, you’ve stored them for safe keeping expecting that someday you will pass them on to someone who will cherish them as much as you: a daughter, daughter-in-law or favourite niece.  But now the move date is fast approaching and you break out in a sweat.  What to do with those lovely treasures now that you are downsizing?  Friends and family you had counted on to enjoy the gifts have all politely declined.  The frocks don’t fit, may not appeal to current fashion sensibilities or they simply have no opportunity to wear them.  Whatever the reason, you now have an unexpected challenge. 

As Senior Move Managers, this is a situation that we are all too familiar with.  Like other treasures of by-gone eras, aging formal wear is richly imbued with memory but has limited market appeal.  Before you cry over crimped crinoline though, here are suggestions for re-use or sale that might provide some relief:

Consignment Stores: Seek out stores that specialize in formal wear and have strong brand awareness. If you do not live in a region with such a store and you have items that are more modern or classic in nature, consider exploring online options such as the Smart Bride Boutique.  SBB makes it easy and affordable to expand your exposure, as they do not charge commission.

Donation:  There are so many wonderful options available here.  You will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing your gift is delighting someone who could not otherwise afford such a luxury.  A few in the Ontario market:

Forever Loved Angel Gowns is devoted to transforming wedding gowns into miniature angel frocks for infants born too early or still born.  Volunteer seamstresses deconstruct each wedding gown and give it new life as a free gift to parents who are dealing with the loss of an infant.

Theatrical Groups exist in most communities, colleges and universities.  Many of them rely upon donated items such as gowns and tuxedos to stock their wardrobes. 

Choral Groups are also a donation destination for tuxedos.  Members of such groups look for for classic and affordable suits to help them present a polished and professional image.

Creative Recycling:  Consider the many ways that fabric from treasured items can be repurposed to allow you to enjoy it in a new way.  A talented seamstress can transform your treasure into a lovely quilt, christening gown, tablecloth or piece of fabric art. 

Whatever solution you settle on, take heart in knowing that you are freeing up storage space as part of your commitment to a new chapter in your life.  The many memories associated with the garments don’t consume space, and there is no limit on the amount of times you can replay them!