Madelyn Falcone’s Prom Closet is back, and is bigger than ever.
Two years ago, when the teen started her organization dedicated to providing dresses to individuals in need who were hoping to attend their junior and senior proms, she had no idea how many would be helped by her efforts. Now, she is looking to take things to the next level.
“I had a woman tell me once that she was in between deciding to get her daughter a prom dress and put dinner on the table,” Falcone recalled. “That’s when I realized that this is so much bigger than just me and what I am doing here.”
Falcone had the idea nearly two years ago to collect gently-used and new prom dresses from families all over the state — a way to provide girls like her a chance to access a wide variety of dresses, completely free of charge.
“People are really struggling out there,” she explained. “Prom dresses are expensive, and you only usually wear them once or twice. There is so much room for other people to have a great experience with a used prom dress.”
A prom dress, even ones bought at a department store such as Macy’s, can set a family back $200 to $300, and that is without the cost of alterations, hair styling, and makeup, all which contribute to the big day.
For Falcone’s clients, using her Prom Closet has saved them hundreds of dollars.
“I never realized how much of a need there was, and each year I am more and more encouraged to continue doing the work,” she said. “It’s so validating to know that I can help girls like me go to prom and feel confident in what they are wearing.”
To collect the donations, Falcone was willing to drive all over the state to pick up the dresses, and would take in whatever items people would give her. Now that she’s been “in business” for two years, she has a lot more experience regarding the logistics of finding the perfect dresses for her clients.
“I used to lug everything all over the place with me,” she laughed. “But now, I make people come to me. I have a collection spot dedicated at my house for the dresses, and I’ve received a lot of help from Top Notch Cleaners in town to store all the dresses. I definitely have a much better system now than I had before. Now I only take newer-style dresses because for a while I was getting a lot of ‘mother of the bride’ dresses, which weren’t necessarily the style a lot of the girls who come in are looking for.”
Falcone’s partnership with the Cheshire location of Top Notch Cleaners at 1033 South Main Street has helped her immensely and given her a space where local families can on their own time peruse the dresses she has to offer.
“Anyone can come to Top Notch Cleaners during their business hours to look and choose their dresses,” Falcone said. “Becky (from Top Notch Cleaners) has agreed to help me hold them at her store, and has agreed to give anyone who chooses a dress discounted dry cleaning services.”
For those who chose one of the dresses Falcone is offering, dry cleaning will be only $5. Top Notch Cleaners has over 50 dresses for students to look through, and Falcone has even donated some of her own for the cause.
“I know some girls my age might not want to part with their dresses yet because they still are sentimental, but it’s such an amazing feeling to help someone else find their perfect prom dress,” she added.
With Falcone graduating high school this year, she is passing the business on to her sister, who will be a sophomore next year.
“I was a sophomore when I started, so I think it’s only fair that she gets to do it now that she is going to be a sophomore,” she said.