Say Yes to the Dress

The Haute Husky Boutique carries many formal wear options, including dresses and suits. (photo by Emily Patterson)

Party dresses, suits and three-inch heels make up the shopping lists for many high schoolers every homecoming season. However, none of these items come in every size, are at many stores or are at a low price. In order to allow more students access to formal attire and combat the high prices of chain departments, the Hagerty PTSA opened the Haute Husky Boutique.

The boutique, which opened in October, was created by the PTSA to give students an affordable and convenient space to look and shop for formal attire. Fully supplied by donations from staff and businesses, everything in the boutique is free, allowing students with lower budgets to pick out clothing for formal events, such as homecoming.

“Our PTSA, which is a really really strong group on our campus, noticed other schools had something similar and wanted to serve the Hagerty community with that too,” said assistant principal Kristi Draus.

Draus, who is new to campus this school year, worked with the PTSA to make the boutique possible, including getting donations and finding available space for people to shop. In order to stop by the boutique, which is set up in a previous PTSA closet in the lunchroom, students have to contact Draus or their guidance counselor to set up an appointment during or after school to give students more privacy.

“Sometimes if a family is in need, they don’t necessarily want everyone to know,” Draus said. “So one of the things that we really thought about was making it private, because honestly, I would love for the PTSA members to see the joy when a student finds a dress, but we also didn’t necessarily want people to not want to be a part of it because maybe they were uncomfortable.”

Although the items available at the boutique were advertised for school events like homecoming and prom, the shop is available all year to fill students’ needs.

“I plan to just kind of keep it open all year because maybe a student has a quinceañera and they need a formal dress and they don’t have the means to do that; we want to be able to provide that,” Draus said. “So while we’re advertising it for homecoming or prom, if a student is in need of something in general and we have that, we want to be able to serve and provide that so it’s available all the time.”

To give students a fun and more “normal” experience, the boutique was set up like a dressing room with racks of clothes and a long mirror. Students could also bring friends and family to help them select and look at the clothing options.

“A couple of people have brought their friends so they kind of get that shopping experience,” Draus said. “I actually have some parents who are coming since, you know, sometimes as a mom you want to be there to help your daughter pick out her dress, so we still want to provide that experience as well.”

While the boutique was aimed to help families in need, many students shopped there due to a lack of size and style options in other stores.

 “I went to the boutique because I found it more convenient and it had a lot of options,” Jane Doe* said. “We had looked online and couldn’t find dresses that could be delivered on time and all the dresses we saw in stores didn’t fit well and they had very few options to choose from.”

As the homecoming hype came to a close, the boutique saw success with students, families and faculty, giving more students the opportunity to attend formal events.

“I can tell you we’ve already had some students use it and they’ve been super excited,” Draus said. “They’re not just taking a dress, they’re getting something really beautiful and they feel good in it.”


*name change was requested for privacy