I found my dress. Four words every woman, on the planet, understands the significance of. Between formals, galas, weddings, and cocktail parties it’s the equivalent of searching for gold. In your head you know what it looks like, but you can’t describe it until you’ve found it and then Eureka! Dress perfection you know is going to rock your fashion world.
This, dare I say, is a universal experience for women the origins of which would take too many pages to describe. Fairy tales with princess stories probably have something to do with it—but whatever plants the seed, the desire to dress up and feel pretty is deeply entrenched.
Hence, we have Dress Day for The Prom—an event I’m privileged to spearhead with my friend Jill. The Prom is a dance for the developmentally disabled in our community that are unable to participate in their own high school prom or other fancy parties around town.
Dress Day is where anyone attending Prom that would like to wear one can choose from a huge inventory of dresses we have and take it free of charge. The dresses are like the fishes and loaves story in the Bible. We give one away and another one finds its way into our closet donated by someone in the community.
This means that some of the dresses are not the most current style or perhaps suited for something other than a dance. Some even look more like a costume and those we try to weed out.
This year sorting dresses with our team of stylists I found one that made me laugh so hard I giggled for hours after finding it.
“Oh my gosh look at it this!” I shouted across the gym.
Everyone gasped right along with me.
“It’s a neon-pink fairy godmother,” said one of the ladies.
“Now don’t laugh,” another added. “When my mother got remarried in the 80’s she had bridesmaid’s dresses like that.”
“How awful,” I said laughing as we all agreed the dress needed to be retired.
I set it aside on my pile that was headed for Goodwill. The next morning I had another good laugh at it until our first young lady came through the gymnasium doors.
With hundreds of dressings lining the walls the first dress she see’s is the one tucked behind my tote bag in the corner. I’m standing next to it when she runs over jumping up and down and asks if she can try it on.
“Yes of course,” I say wide-eyed with all the other stylists staring at me in disbelief.
“Yes really. But let’s find some others too so you have some choices,” I say hoping she’ll change her mind.
A few minutes later they emerge and Sabrina is shining brighter than the dress.
“Do you like it?” she asks me jumping up and down again.
What could I say? At this point Kelly has tears in her eyes and so do I. The dress we’ve had so much fun joking about is the one Sabrina has been dreaming of. It’s her Eureka moment and ours too.
“Oh sweetie, yes you can have it. I’m so happy you found one.”
“Do you have shoes?” she asks.
“Only one pair but if they fit they’re yours.”
“They’ll fit,” she said with a Cinderella-like confidence and of course they did.
The morning Dress Day started I was getting some coffee to take with me and found four pennies. I was exhausted from setting up the night before but when I reached for the pennies I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Today is going to change your life.”
Only an hour later that was the case. Where the Bible says God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, a neon pink dress did just that. A dress just the night before I thought was hideous was suddenly stunning and a young woman with the purest of hearts showed me that.
This is the magic The Prom has ushered into my life and why those of us that work hard to make it happen feel privileged and humbled by the effort. It’s the world as it should be. Nobody pretending to be anyone other than whom they are—beautiful from the inside out.
Like most women I struggle with my vanity. I worry about what people will think about what I’m wearing. I don’t want too, but if I’m painfully honest, I do. What Sabrina and every other young lady at Dress Day reminded me is that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. You don’t need a dress to make you a princess—you were born one.
Four pennies, one dress, and a day that changed my life—thank you Sabrina. I’ll see you on the dance floor!