Prom Closet Nanaimo’s Annual Boutique Event

For many, the high school prom is a once in a lifetime celebration that marks a milestone between childhood and adulthood (it’s a big deal!).


Prom Closet Nanaimo Boutique Event

Event: Annual Boutique Event

Where: By appointment

When: March 7th, 8th, & 9th

Cost: Free

ContactJoan Hiemstra

Event WebsiteProm Closet Nanaimo

For many, the high school prom is a once in a lifetime celebration that marks a milestone between childhood and adulthood (it’s a big deal!). Students are able to dress to the nines, take countless pictures with their best friends, and dance the night away. It is anticipated by many as one of the most memorable experiences in high school. The truth is, the days leading up to the night of glitz n’ glam are just as memorable as students search for the perfect attire to express their style on the big night. Unfortunately, this process can be extremely costly and stressful as prom dresses can average anywhere between $100-$1000 and tuxedo rentals from $100-$250. The volunteers at Prom Closet Nanaimo, however, offer students a different experience that they won’t find in-store by showing that this rite of passage does not always have to mean emptying your wallet. They make sure that no graduating student in Mid Vancouver Island communities are left out of the end-of-the-year celebrations by offering them formal wear free of charge.

Joan Hiemstra

“We are levelling the playing field for so many students,” said Prom Closet coordinator Joan Hiemstra. “They are welcomed to a low-pressure environment where price tags do not exist. This is especially important for those girls that are experiencing anxiety over the expectations of prom or wearing formal wear for the first time.”

What does Prom Closet Nanaimo Offer?

Prom Closet Nanaimo

Students can visit Prom Closet Nanaimo at their upcoming Boutique Event, or by appointment, to view over 500 dresses and gowns in storage in a variety of lavish colors, glimmering rhinestones, beads, and styles without the worry of a price tag. Students will be met by volunteers that will serve as personal assistants to help students find their perfect outfit, including making any necessary alternations, if needed. There are also tuxedos, suits, shirts, purses, jewelry, and wraps, all free for graduating students.

Why visit Prom Closet Nanaimo?

One of the leading reasons students visit Prom Closet Nanaimo, according to Joan Hiemstra, is because “they cannot justify the costs for a 1-day event, especially at a time they are trying to save up for tuition and college. One dress could equal tuition for an entire course.” The Prom Closet Nanaimo’s goal is to continue see it become more socially acceptable for girls to recycle and redesign second-hand dresses. To them, prom is about embracing the experience and having fun, not getting tied up in expectations, unfair pressures, and spending money.

Is Prom Closet Nanaimo only open to Nanaimo students?

“[Prom Closet Nanaimo] have served students from every single high school in Nanaimo, both private and public. All for totally different reasons,” says Joan. Despite their name, however, the volunteers are happy to serve students from all over, not just Vancouver Island. “Even though we’re called ‘Prom Closet Nanaimo,’ we are happy to accept any graduating student from anywhere.”

Prom Closet Nanaimo cares about finding students the right dress, even if that means exploring outside their own inventory. Volunteers are happy to work with other similar organizations, and have on several occasions through sharing referrals, gowns and other inventory, to ensure a student finds their perfect dress.

What’s new happening with Prom Closet Nanaimo?

Joan Hiemstra continues to find new ways to help students perfect their formal wear for their style. That is why in 2018 she started a new program for students to redesign plain and prom dresses with the help of a sewing teacher.

How can I contribute to Prom Closet Nanaimo?

With over 500 dresses in a continuously growing inventory, Prom Closet Nanaimo has enough dresses to go around, they just need more students to fill them. When asked what challenges Prom Closet Nanaimo currently face, Joan says, “it’s not the dresses, we have an amazing assortment of dresses because people are very happy to work with us and are very generous, it’s reaching the students and getting our name out there.” If you know somebody graduating soon, help spread the word by visiting the Prom Closet Nanaimo Facebook page and sharing their page!

Prom Closet Nanaimo would not exist if it were not for the volunteers. If you are looking to contribute, there are several options for volunteering with Prom Closet Nanaimo, and all of them are essential to the success of the program. For more information on how you can volunteer, click here.

As a non-for-profit organization, the continued success of the program relies on donations. If you have any clothing, accessories, or event items and supplies that you would like to donate, Prom Closet Nanaimo accepts donations year round. For more information, including drop-off locations, click here.

The Prom Closet Nanaimo Boutique Event will be held March 7th, 8th, and 9th 2019.

Appointments are needed in advance. For more information on how you can make your appointment, click here

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