Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Dress your best with The Freespirited Closet

Borrow or make a donation this holiday season

What do holiday parties, date nights, and school dances all have in common? You have to dress to impress!

For many women, finding the right special occasion outfit that suits the event, makes them feel amazing, and fits into their budget can be a stressful undertaking. Thankfully, there is an answer to the formalwear dilemma: The Freespirited Closet.

Bring on the glam at The Freespirited Closet.

Bargain basement for all your formalwear needs

Tucked away in the basement of Jana Clark’s Snohomish home is a local treasure: an impressive formalwear lending library called The Freespirited Closet. Including thousands of items such as casual dresses, eveningwear, ball gowns, wedding attire, shoes and accessories, The Freespirited Closet truly has something for everyone and every occasion. With so many items, seemingly every size and style imaginable is contained within the space. Jana wants every woman who enters her store to find clothing that makes them feel confident and beautiful without breaking the bank.

Jana first opened her doors to friends and family nearly a decade ago when her daughter, then a freshman in high school, needed to find a dress for a school dance. She recognized that her daughter’s friends also needed to find dresses, so she offered several vintage dresses from her own closet for the students to borrow. Word spread, and soon Jana had more requests for formalwear than she could fulfill alone. Since those humble beginnings, Jana has invited community members to participate by donating to the collection and borrowing from The Freespirited Closet. 

The Freespirited Closet

Looking for accessories to match your outfit? You can borrow those too.

To borrow or donate

Today, if you want to participate in The Freespirited Closet, either to donate or borrow items, you first need to join the Closet’s Facebook group. Once you have joined the online community, you can post in the group with a request for an appointment to go shopping or to bring items for donation (Just be sure to tag Jana Clark in your group post so she sees it!). 

Jana personally schedules each appointment for an individual or a group you invite. At your appointment, you can expect to have about an hour of private shopping time in the Closet, which includes browsing and trying on clothing in a dedicated changing room. You are welcome to borrow any items you like, free of charge. When you are finished with the items, return them clean and ready for the next guest to borrow. 

The freespirited closet

The author and her daughter all dressed up.

Mother-daughter experience

Last winter, my 7-year-old daughter and I went shopping at The Freespirited Closet for dresses to wear for our annual outing to The Nutcracker. Although the number of dresses available in her children’s size is limited, my fashion-forward daughter was thrilled to pick out a new dress for herself! After choosing her dress, she assisted me in finding the perfect dress to compliment her outfit choice (many sequins were involved). Then we decided on shoes, necklaces, and purses to complete each outfit. Shopping in The Freespirited Closet was a memorable experience that I am so glad I got to share with my daughter. We enjoyed our special time shopping together, and, as a bonus, we looked and felt amazing for our big night out!

Later this month, I plan on recreating this mother-daughter experience again with my mom when we visit The Freespirited Closet to shop for new winter date attire.

I am so grateful to Jana for opening her home and her heart to welcome people like me and my daughter and help us feel beautiful. It is incredible to see the impact of these small acts of kindness for and from an individual and more importantly, for our whole community.

The freespirited closet

Support Women In And Around Seattle: More ways to shop

If you love the concept of helping women to look and feel their best, consider supporting these shops and non-profits in the Seattle area that help support women and children:

Dress For Success: Located in Seattle’s Pacific Place Mall, Dress For Success is a career development agency. Their mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Dress For Success welcomes tax-deductible donations of gently-used or nearly-new women’s professional clothing for their clients to wear for job interviews or in professional settings.

Mary’s Place: With five locations across King County, the mission of Mary’s Place is to move women and children out of homelessness and into more stable living situations. Your donation of clothing (especially maternity clothing and seasonally appropriate clothing in all sizes) can help families get the resources they need to begin a new life.

Simple and Just: Located in historic Ballard, this boutique features gently-used clothing that supports at-risk youth and women. 100% of profits generated in this non-profit retail shop go toward meeting the critical needs of vulnerable youth and women, including safe shelters, mental health services, development of life skills, and creating pathways into education and employment. Simple and Just welcomes donations of gently worn and better-brand clothing.

Purpose Boutique: A percentage of every sale from Purpose Boutique is donated to the non-profit Atlas Free to fight human trafficking worldwide. Purpose Boutique has several Puget Sound locations, and the shop features over 20 brands that survivors of human trafficking and social injustice around the world create.

Read more

Guide to Holiday events around the Seattle area

Volunteering as a family 

A blanket drive that’s turned into a family tradition

About the Author

Allison Peterson

Allison Peterson is a former elementary teacher turned full-time driver/chef/tutor/nurse/coach/memory-maker to three children who call her "Mom". She lives in Woodinville, and is always looking for her next adventure!