A big space for free dresses

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — You could say Janie Wood is all dressed up with no place to go.

She’s looking for a new storefront to continue her charity — and her passion — to provide formal attire for financially-strapped high school students and military brides.

“I need a home for these dresses. I am so devastated that I’m having to even think about moving all of them,” she said.

We’re All About the Dress is looking for a new home for its free formal wear.

There are thousands of dresses… racks and racks of elegant gowns.  Most of them were donated brand-new, and all of them are in perfect condition at her showroom, We’re All About the Dress, in a strip center at 6242 Rufe Snow Drive in North Richland Hills.

“This is a beautiful little dress, and we’ve had some girls trying it on,” she said, pulling one off the rack.

Wood has been collecting and giving away dresses since 2008.

“Last year we gave away more than 1,200,” she said.

Wood started this for high school girls who couldn’t afford a nice prom dress.  A few years ago, she began giving away wedding dresses for military weddings and balls, focusing on women who are in the service, or who are marrying into the military.

She proudly displayed photo albums of smiling, grateful brides. She pointed to one wedding photo she especially likes.

“That’s the dress she got.  And she’s in the Navy, in Virginia,” Wood said with a smile. She helps military brides as a way to honor her late brother, a Navy SEAL. Wood also gives away shoes, jewelry, makeup, and wedding accessories.

The old landlord donated space for We’re all about the Dress. But a new owner wants rent Janie Wood can’t pay, even though it’s just a fraction of the market rate.

“Gave us the news we have to move in 30 days. That was 30 days ago,” she said.

Wood understands the business aspect, and is thankful she still has a place… for now.  But she said donations she receives don’t even cover electricity and insurance.

“You know, the girls come in, and it’s cold.  I explain to them we don’t have any air or heat,” she said. “They say, ‘That’s OK… we need a dress!’”

Wood recalled the homecoming queen candidate who was about to leave in tears until she found just the right gown.

Teachers bring kids from Dallas. She once sent a dress to a desperate student in California.

So Janie Wood is looking for someone around Tarrant County with a big space… and a big place in their heart. The only payoff is gratitude.

She read one of the many messages she’s received from a bride: “You guys made our dreams come true.  Love, and God bless. The Sheppards, US Army.”

Janie Wood can be reached at www.dressforau.com, or call 817-412-0727.