Candace Richardson called it "luscious," while her mother preferred the word "elegant."
Either way, the pair were beaming on Saturday after finding the perfect prom dress for Candace at Cinderella's Closet in Elgin. The annual event gave high school girls the chance to shop -- with a mere $5 optional donation -- from a selection of about 5,000 formal dresses plus shoes, jewelry and purses.
Wanda Richardson said she and Candace got up at 6 a.m. to drive from their home in Evanston. She was grateful for the opportunity to make her child happy, she said.
"I think this is the best, with the economy the way it is," Wanda Richardson said. "(The donated dresses) don't go to waste, you get to pick what you like most, and they have a great selection. I am very, very appreciative of it."
The eighth annual event was organized by the Elgin Junior Service Board and the YWCA Elgin. All the dresses were donated, with a last-minute surge of about 500 donations in the last week alone, said Deirdre White, of the Elgin Junior Service Board. Last year's event was attended by about 300 girls, she said.
Kaneland High School senior Alejandra Salinas of Sugar Grove waited in line for two hours with her aunt, Marisela Sosa. "I want a long dress, not pouffy. I'm pretty open-minded," she said as she walked in the door.
Less than a half-hour later, Salinas had settled on a long dress of black lace over silver sequins.
A team of seamstresses helped with on-the-spot alterations. Seamstress Janet Biondo said she helped out at every Cinderella's Closet for the last eight years. Her 19-year-old daughter Rose was a repeat customer over the years, once even scoring a Pnina Tornai designer dress, Biondo said.
"Yes, you're exhausted at the end of the day, but it's a good tired," she said. "Truly what we want if for all the girls to have a fabulous prom experience."