Jr. Brooke Drost sat at home on October 7 waiting to leave for the Michigan vs. Michigan State game. At the last minute her mom became sick, and the family cancels their plans. The game happened to be on the same night as homecoming, and Drost would have attended homecoming instead; however, she didn’t have a dress, so she stayed home for the night.
Drost isn’t the only student to face a dress dilemma. Many students struggle to find dresses for homecoming.
As a teacher, Instructor Tracy Howard saw the students’ struggle. As a parent, Howard knew many girls only wore their dresses once and either donated them or left them hanging in the backs of their closets. Howard’s observations inspired her to create a dress closet at school.
Located in the far left corner of Howard’s classroom, A138 in one of the first floor middle hallways of the north building, the closet is about four feet wide and eight feet long. Approximately 40 dresses hang on a single rack taking up the left side of the closet. An additional two dresses hang from a small white rack on the right with a pair of black leather shoes laying at the bottom. When first entering the closet, the first dress that sticks out is a long light blue dress. Another short maroon dress contrasts next to a black and white polka dot dress with pink accents. A mirror takes the entire wall opposite the dresses.
“I’ve been collecting dresses for a couple years. I’ve even had a couple pairs of shoes donated and some graduation dresses.” Howard is able to run the closet through her own collection and donations from students. She accepts dresses for all sorts of school events.
Howard has been running the closet for the past couple of years by herself, but she hopes the closet will turn into a full scale organization. “My goal for second semester is to have my Fashion Design students work on alterations or modifications to the dresses as girls request them.”
Howard is working on spreading the word about the closet. “Right now, teachers/staff know and can offer the closet as an option for a student they know who may need a dress.” However, Howard hopes word about the closet will spread and more students will start to approach her to donate or look at dresses.
This is the first year the closet has been open, and with homecoming around the corner, the closet will help students find the perfect dress.
“If I knew there was a dress closet, I definitely would have checked it out and could have gone to homecoming,” Drost said.