Prom night is a magical evening for teens around the country. But it can also be a source of anxiety for young women and men who wear larger sizes, as Kristen Harris, owner of the Designer Diva Consignment Boutique in Massachusetts, found out this week.
Luckily for Harris and the teen who came into her shop and went away empty-handed, an outpouring of support from Facebook meant that Harris' shopper wound up with an array of beautiful dresses to choose from.
On Sunday, Harris updated the Facebook page for her Abington, Mass. boutique shop with an urgent plea:
Ladies, Please share this status with everyone!!! I'm begging for plus size Prom Dresses Sizes 20+ I just had the most beautiful little girl in here and would could not find her size I want her to look like a Princess ....please please bring in your plus size Prom Dresses.
The women of Facebook responded. "I have a 22 that is stunning," replied Julie Mansfield-Coon. "Very couture." Another local dress store, Party Dress Express, pledged to deliver a wide selection of dresses to Designer Diva for the girl to choose from.
Dresses weren't the only thing supportive Facebookers offered. Numerous women and other local business owners stepped up to help make the girl's prom spectacular. The owner of a hair salon, Theresa Ward, offered to do the student's hair and makeup for free. Diana Tarr promised "a matching corsage and boutonnière." Dolly Hardy pledged a piece from her jewelry store collection. Tracy Smart volunteered a free prom night photography session. Local DJ Thomas Kirkpatrick offered to provide karaoke or live music for the girl's private prom party.
"If she is a junior and hasn't had her senior pictures taken yet, please tell her to contact Irish Eyes Photography in Weymouth and I'll make sure she feels as beautiful as she is in her portraits," vowed Kerry Railey.
As offers and phone calls poured in, Harris updated again, promising, "I will find you your dream dress!!! Someone already brought one in & I'll do everything in my power to get more. Please come back in & when you do the Dress is on Me." Then she added, " I don't want anyone of any size ever walking in my store and feeling this way again."
She also deflected praise, stating that she was "just a mom... and a woman [whose] heart was broken that I had nothing in her size to offer her."
But other Facebook users pointed out that Harris' efforts were important to more than just her unknown prom queen. "I have been in this young women's shoes in the past and this story breaks my heart and really hits home," wrote Laurie Devine. "You are doing a great thing."
"I'm literally tearing up," echoed Bec Pishkin.
I was this size in high school and I couldn't find a prom dress anywhere. I wound up having one made and it was just nothing like what I wanted. I'm so touched to see so many people reaching out to make this girl's prom everything it should be!
The plight of plus-size clothing wearers seemed to galvanize Harris, who urged readers to donate. "I want something in my store for everyone from a prom dress to pants," she wrote.
Eventually, Harris was able to locate the young woman, who messaged her via Facebook. Harris updated to say that she planned to have the young woman come in on Monday.
By that time, the whole of Southern Massachusetts might have joined the quest to give her the greatest prom night ever.
Photo via jhopgood/Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0