Chic and on fleek

The West Side Boutique is a new service this year, providing girls with free dresses, shoes and jewelry for prom.

Prom season is made up of ‘promposals’ all over Instagram, group dinners and glamorous outfits. For some students, however, the pressure to buy an expensive gown for the occasion adds stress to the event or dissuades them from attending.

This year, the West Side Boutique opened to provide free dresses to any girl in need of one.

Melanie Brechtel and Octavious Sullivan, paraeducators at West, started working on the boutique in January. Brechtel was inspired by a counselor who ran a similar service at a school she interned at in Springfield, Missouri.

“We know how expensive prom can get and some girls, and boys too, won’t go because of the expense and they’ll just go to the after party and we just want this to kind of take away a little bit of that stress,” said Brechtel.

One of the students that used the service was Kiela Usher ’19. Usher was in room 101 when she heard Sullivan discussing the boutique before it was created. Usher encouraged them to pursue it and she spread the word about the service to her peers. Her participation brought more students to the boutique.

In March, Usher and a group of roughly eight girls searched for their perfect dresses among the racks.

“They just grabbed a whole rack and brought it down and they were trying them on, and trying each others dresses on, just to see which ones they like because no one was really decided… We were all just very sharing about it,” she said.

Information from Glamour and USA Today

Even though the dresses are free, the boutique is not meant to be seen as charity.

“This is something we want to do to bless our students,” said Brechtel. “… we just want to let them have a good time and-”

“-Be chic and on fleek,” added Sullivan, quoting the boutique’s moto.

Prom is approaching, and girls without a dress can still use the service by signing up in the office or speaking to Sullivan or Brechtel in room 101. The boutique has more than 100 prom and homecoming style dresses in sizes ranging from 0 to 22, as well as jewelry and shoes.

Next year they are hoping to advertise more for both dress and money donations so that they are able to purchase dresses in other sizes.The boutique is still accepting donations, and for every dress donated, students will be entered to win a prize. Prizes include Uggs, Toms, American Eagle Sweater, Victoria’s Secret Sweater, gift cards and more.

“I think if more people know about the West Side Boutique, more people will go for it, … and I think it’ll be really good for the future,” said Usher. “… hopefully people who have dresses now that they’re thinking about giving away or selling maybe they can just donate it to West Side Boutique so there’s more of a variety.”