Prom Wardrobe Shouldn’t Break the Bank… HEB Prom Closet in Texas Is Helping Teens Look Great for Less « Frugal Café Blog Zone

Prom Wardrobe Shouldn’t Break the Bank… HEB Prom Closet in Texas Is Helping Teens Look Great for Less

Posted By on March 25, 2012

During this terrible economy, skyrocketing expenses for a teen to attend his or her high school prom are unreachable for many families that have been slammed by financial hardships and unemployment or under-employment of parents.

Groceries or tuxedo? Electric bill or prom dress?

I received this bright bit of news in my backlog of emails this week, sent by Brenda Harris from the HEB Prom Closet, a “borrowing boutique” in Texas. Operating from a 1,100-square-foot city-owned house, what a blessing this not-for-profit organization is for cash-strapped families (HEB stands for Hurst, Euless, and Bedford):

The HEB Prom Closet is a not-for-profit outreach in Bedford, Texas that lends special occasion attire year round to all local residents – adults and students – for events such as weddings, proms, banquets, homecomings, quinceaneras, cocktail parties, job interviews, and other special events. A $20 donation is requested per outfit to help offset expenses.

Our slogan is “Don’t Buy, Borrow!” Why pay $300 for a dress when you can borrow one for $20? Why pay $200 to rent a tuxedo when you can borrow one for $20?

Why indeed?

These are just a few of the beautifully decked-out teens who have been helped by HEB Prom Closet — photos are also posted on HEB Prom Closet’s Facebook page:






More on HEB Prom Closet and other Texas formalwear nonprofits, reported last year by Star-Telegram:

The organization recently received approval from the Bedford City Council to operate the HEB Prom Closet at a city-owned house.

Nonprofits that collect and distribute girls’ formalwear have become more prevalent as the economy forces folks to cut expenses. Many of them are organized and listed by such umbrella agencies as

We’re All About the Dress was born two years ago to serve girls in the Birdville school district, said its founder, Janie Tillery-Wood.

“It’s because of the economy,” Tillery-Wood said. “It’s so bad now there are many girls who can’t go to prom because of the price of the ticket and the prices of dresses and accessories. If I can take care of the dress and accessories, they can afford the ticket. They worked all year and they deserve to go to the prom.”

In its third year, We’re All About the Dress is outfitting girls from all over Tarrant County and beyond.

“I was surprised to get calls from Dallas,” Tillery-Wood said.

Girls with high school ID cards may choose from more than 2,000 dresses in Tillery-Wood’s inventory. Accessories, shoes and handbags are also available. Everything is free, and whatever they choose, they keep.

The fledgling organization in Bedford has a slightly different game plan.

Davenport said the Clothes Closet had more than 100 formal dresses when the idea for the HEB Prom Closet was floated.

“We forwarded everything to them and became a collection spot,” she said.


Brenda Harris, chairwoman of the organization, said the house provides a temporary place to display hundreds of dresses, shoes and accessories as well as a few tuxedos and suits for boys. That’s where the difference between this group and those like Tillery-Wood’s begins, Harris said.

The HEB Prom Closet is intended to serve both sides of the dance floor, as well as areas that its predecessors never dreamed of.

“We hope to become a year-round outreach not only for prom but anytime someone needs a special-occasion outfit,” Harris said. “If it goes right, we’re not only talking students from ninth grade up but also their parents if they need an outfit for a one-time event: an interview, a wedding, a company Christmas party.”

I’ve previously written about saving money on school proms — check out these posts for more ideas and frugal DIY and shopping tips:

Frugalicious! The Broke Socialite’s Quest for Her Son’s Suit for Winter Prom… Salvation Army to the Rescue! (video)

Rejecting Outrageous Costs of School Proms: Parents & Students Seeking Bargains, Second-hand & DIY Evening Wear, & Cutting Out Frills to Save Money (video)

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About the author

I'm a conservative frugalist. My priorities: Watchdogging the government, making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely, living within our budgets (at home and in Washington, DC), and adhering to our Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it was developed by our founding fathers. Also, loving God, my family, and my country. Be wise, be frugal. God bless America!      


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