Free prom gowns courtesy of MSHS senior 'godmother'

Skye Kinkade
Baylie Tobin, left, and Erin Blockman peruse the many prom gowns available through Baylie's senior project, “Fairy Godmother's Closet.” It allows girls to choose a dress, free of charge, if they can't afford one or simply don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a dress they'll wear once. If you need a dress or would like to donate one, contact Baylie at 925-9393.

Mount Shasta High School senior Baylie Tobin is working to make every girl feel like a princess for prom through her senior project, “Fairy Godmother’s Closet.”

“This project gives dresses to anyone who either can’t afford one or doesn’t want to spend $300 or $400 on a dress they’ll only wear once,” said Baylie. “It also makes getting a dress more convenient, because you don’t have to drive to Redding or Medford to shop.”

Over the weekend, more than a dozen girls visited Baylie’s pop-up shop to select dresses, including one who had driven to Mount Shasta from Fall River for the occasion. As they browsed, girls enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and sparkling apple cider for a special shopping experience at Leslie Johnson’s office space at 1190 South Mount Shasta Boulevard.

MSHS junior Chanel Berg was looking for that perfect dress and tried on a long red one with criss-cross detail. She wasn’t yet sure if it was the one, but was happy to have the help of several pairs of eyes to ensure it was perfect.

Senior Erin Blockman was there to donate her old prom dresses. She said it wasn’t hard to let go of them because she knew someone else would enjoy them.

Baylie has so far collected about 70 dresses in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles, including long and short dresses. Though she planned to have the pop-up shop just over the weekend, once word got out, more girls became interested in the idea. So she’s decided to keep the shop open on an appointment only basis until prom, which is scheduled for May 12.

“If you can bring a dress, take a dress. But if you can’t bring a dress, just take one,” she said.

Baylie is hoping someone will take over the project to keep it going next year. She also has visions of adding things like shoes, handbags, and other formal accessories, as well as expanding into men’s wear so guys attending prom don’t have to spend $100 or more renting a tuxedo or suit.

Baylie said she got the idea for Fairy Godmother’s Closet when she realized how expensive it can be to dress for prom. “Some people just can’t afford it, and they shouldn’t have to spend all that money,” she said, adding that her first two years of high school, she wore a borrowed a dress.

The dresses came from all over – girls who wore a dress last year and were willing to part with it, graduates who won’t be wearing their formal dresses any more, and older siblings. Even parents are donating their dresses from the 1990s, some of which are coming back in style.

Baylie thanked Sportsmen’s Den for the use of their clothing racks to make the pop-up look professional. She also thanked Johnson for the use of her space.

She is still accepting donations of formal gowns. If you’d like to donate, or if you would like to browse Fairy Godmother’s Closet for something to wear to prom, contact Baylie at 925-9393. The shop is open to any girl, not just Mount Shasta High School students.