Saying yes to the dress: A recap of the first ever Prom Boutique

Sawyer Barta

A red carpet is the epitome of a Hollywood entrance, known for the famous film stars that stride down it. Glamorous outfits accessorize the prestige and confidence that the guests exude, adding to the assurance that they belong. Walking through the doors on the red carpet of the Redwood Prom Boutique on March 11 and 12, many students left with a dress they felt confident in. 

Following months of collaboration with organizations and community members to gather dresses, senior Caroline Goodrich and fellow Leadership students Olivia Villanova and Michael Geloso, created the first ever Prom Boutique in order to minimize the number of students that do not have a dress they love due to the price tag on it. Goodrich expanded on this sentiment.

“Our goal overall at the Prom Boutique was to make prom more equitable because there is an insane price tag attached to it [in addition to] the prom tickets,” Goodrich said. “That’s not something that we should expect all of our students to be able to [pay for] just because there’s a large portion of our students that are very affluent. Everyone comes from a different socio-economic background, and [Redwood] needs to recognize that when it comes to school sanctioned events.”

Angela Ramirez, a senior in the Pathways program at Tamiscal High School, learned about the boutique from an email released to her school. She arrived at the store on Sunday and plans on attending prom with the dress that she picked out. 

“To feel confident and feel proud of myself [is the purpose of a prom dress]. A prom dress can make or break [how you feel about] yourself,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez also acknowledged how the boutique was financially beneficial.

“I probably would have [looked for a dress], but prom dresses have gotten really expensive, so this is something that definitely helped me and my family,” Ramirez said.

After receiving about 400 dresses in total, Villanova said that her team decided to broaden the project to offer a dress to more students with and without significant financial needs.

“We decided to make it for the entire Redwood community because we had so much to offer, and because we felt like it would take away that [anxiety inducing] aspect [of being embarrassed to be seen in a store receiving financial support],” Villanova said.

Goodrich said that the biggest success was the extensive number of dresses and donations received, and noted the struggle initially to procure these resources. 

“My biggest challenge was initially trying to figure out where to get dresses and how to get such a large inventory. But, that’s something that we overcame once companies started getting back to us [with around] 100 dresses per company when we were expecting maybe 30,” Goodrich said.

While Villanova took the lead in contacting dress companies, Goodrich was able to secure the storefront through a prior connection. Goodrich said that next year leadership will try to use the same space for similar events such as homecoming.

“I think this is something that’s probably going to [be] a new tradition [that will] keep happening every year. I know [Villanova] is planning on taking it over because she’s a junior and she has the great expertise of having already done this. I think it’s something that will get passed down through grades and maybe expand over the years into something a bit more robust,” Goodrich said.

With the remaining dresses, Goodrich,Villanova and Geloso will reopen the boutique this Sunday, March 19 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. district-wide to help as many students as possible. 

“I really loved [the boutique]. Everyone was so kind, the dresses that were available were beautiful, and they were all amazing and looked amazing on everyone. It’s a really good opportunity and it’s definitely something very kind for the community,” Ramirez said.