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

A long line snaked outside the children’s and teens section of the Longmont Public Library on Sunday afternoon. However, the dozen middle and high school students waiting were not waiting to discover a new series or attend a book reading.

They were waiting to do their shopping.

The kids’ and teens’ section was transformed into a small formal wear boutique, where throughout the afternoon more than 70 teens and tweens browsed for novelty clothes — all free.

From left, library staff Stephanie Sterling, David Kling and Claire Studholme worked in the pop-up store at the Longmont Public Library on Sunday. (Ella Cobb/editor)

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

Colette and Vivien, who are both students at Jefferson Academy in Broomfield, emerged from the pop-up with armfuls of clothes.

“The plan was to go get something for prom, but instead I bought men’s shirts,” Colette said, holding up several shirts.

“I have a bunch of stuff for dances and prom and for formal dinners and all that. So many awesome things,” thought Vivien.

Children and Teens Librarian Claire Studholme described the event as a win-win for both teens and the environment.

“We thought that was a really cool and important thing for the community to do because buying these kinds of dresses can get really expensive, especially if you only wear them once,” Studholme said. . “We also wanted to try to recycle as much clothing as possible, to limit the environmental effects of fast fashion.”

The event was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to this year. The library accepted lightly worn dresses and suits of all styles and sizes.

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

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 more items, but one person was so eager to donate that they slipped a dress into our library’s book depository,” she said.

Library worker Anne Pettavel donated all the jewelry to the shop, all of which she made herself.

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

Some of the jewelry came in the form of a set of earrings and necklaces to make it easier for new jewelry buyers to match, while other earrings were clip-on style for young people who don’t. had no pierced ears.

“You really want to make sure everyone feels good. Going to the ball or dressing up for the first time is a turning point in your life. Suddenly you’re about to become an adult,” Pettavel said. “It’s just a fun opportunity to do something beautiful for the kids who deserve something beautiful.”