Cinderellas can go to the ball thanks to free frock giveaway

Updated: 2011-04-28 07:58

By Karin Zeitvogel (China Daily)

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WASHINGTON - On a sultry afternoon in Washington's Chinatown, dozens of teenage girls tried on silk and satin evening dresses, chose glittery bling and handbags to match, and walked out without paying.

And it was all perfectly legal.

The girls were at a prom dress giveaway, one of a growing number of events where haves help the have-nots live part of the "American Dream" despite the tough times that have hit the United States.

The prom, an annual high school dance, "is a really important time for Americans, and we want to make girls from all different backgrounds feel beautiful on that day without going broke", said Robin Fisher, one of the organizers of the Prom Dress Project, from the Polished Image style consultancy.

"All this stuff was donated, every single thing," she said, waving her hand like a magic wand at racks of evening dresses, tables laden with glittery necklaces and earrings and silk clutch handbags.

Even the space for the one-night event was donated, and dozens of girls waited in the stuffy corridor of the long, narrow Chinatown Coffee Company cafe to try on dresses in the ladies' room.

Tiffany Cofield held a full-length burgundy dress with diamante studs around the empire waist up against her slender body.

A pair of drop earrings caught the late afternoon sun that shone through the cafe's bay window.

Tiffany went to her school prom last year, too, but her mother had to pay for everything.

"Dress, shoes, jewelry, hair - one night, $600," Jacqueline Cofield said.

"The people who did this are a blessing."

Agence France-Presse


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