Beauty is priceless at Longmont Public Library’s pop-up formal wear shop: Boulder Daily Camera

A long line snaked out of the children’s and youth section of the Longmont Public Library on Sunday afternoon. However, the dozen or so middle and high school students lined up weren’t waiting to check out a new series or read a book.

They were waiting to shop.

The Kids and Teens section has been transformed into a small formal wear boutique, where more than 70 teens and preteens chased the shelves for elegant clothing all afternoon, all free.

From left to right, Library staff members Stephanie Sterling, David Kling, and Claire Studholme worked in the Sunday pop-up shop at the Longmont Public Library. (Ella Cobb / staff writer)

The Longmont Library hosted the pop-up shop just in time for prom season and invited students from grades 6 to 12 to shop from hundreds of donated clothes, shoes, accessories and jewelry.

Colette and Vivien, who are both students at Jefferson Academy in Broomfield, came out of the pop-up with a handful of clothes.

“The plan was to go in and find something for the prom, but I got some men’s button fastening instead,” Colette said, holding up several T-shirts.

“I have a lot of stuff for proms, prom and formal dinners and things like that. So a lot of great things, “Vivien reflected.

Children’s and youth librarian Claire Studholme described the event as a win for all for both teenagers and the environment.

“We thought it was a really cool and important thing for the community to do because buying these kinds of clothes can be very expensive, especially if you’re only going to wear them once,” Studholme said. “We also wanted to try to recycle as many clothes as possible, to curb the environmental effects of fast fashion”.

The event was originally scheduled for 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it has been postponed until this year. The library accepted delicately used suits and dresses in all styles and sizes.

“It was important to us that clothes were size inclusive, body inclusive and gender inclusive,” said Studholme.

According to Studholme, the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People were constantly calling us about the program asking to donate. We told people we didn’t need any other items, but one person was so eager to donate that she sneaked a dress through our library book, ”she said.

Library staff Anne Pettavel donated all of the jewelry to the shop, all made by herself.

Anne Pettavel, who works at the Longmont Public Library, handcrafted all the jewelry that was donated to the formal wear fashion store. (Ella Cobb / Staff Writer)

Some of the jewelry is available as earrings and necklaces to make pairing easier for first-time jewelry buyers, while other earrings were clip-on-style for youngsters who didn’t get their ears pierced.

“You really want to make sure everyone feels beautiful. Going to prom or dressing up for the first time is a turning point in your life. Suddenly you are well on your way to becoming an adult, “said Pettavel.” This is just a fun opportunity to create something beautiful for children who deserve something beautiful. “

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