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New Choir Outfits.... and selling old ones! Help? :)

I posted here before regarding my schools' old choir uniforms. I want some new dresses for the ladies but am in a predicament trying to find the "perfect" dress. Our program does a plethora of genres of music. The fall concert is more formal and traditional, part of our winter concert is formal, and each choir has a piece or two with choreography. Then we host a jazz event where the kids dance and have swing choreoraphy. The last concert of the year is also partially formal, but partially choreographed as well. In the past before I was the director, the upper choirs only had a show choir dress and the boys wore their tux, and the beginning choir wore a polo and kakhis. I have changed things so that all choirs have a more formal "look" but it's still very "show choir." 
 
In the future, I would like to possibly create a show choir that is completely separate, and have other choirs be mostly concert choirs. But, for now and for the sake of not completely changing everything all of a sudden, the students will still have choreographed music as well as traditional choral music. This year, we will be going on a performance tour as well where they probably will need a formal dress. So, do I stick with the show choir look and forgo the very professional formal dresses, or do I increase student fees so that students can rent both a formal dress and a show dress? It seems like overkill, but I want them to look their best for every performance. 
 
I also am looking for a place to sell used show choir dresses. I have several styles, some with up to 35 in a set. Thanks very much! 
on August 5, 2015 10:33am
Hi, Leigh.
 
For me, I would DEF have a formal look to use in "Concert Choir" sections of a program.  When I went through the notion of getting new dresses a few years ago, I ordered several different dresses and had some of the girls try the different styles on.  They decided they like one that was a little less traditional than the one I like best (small bit of sequins along the waist).  When I suggested maybe one of the "bling-less" dresses might be better, one of the kids said, "Now, Mr. Roper, we could get these dresses that you like, and we would be fine with that; however, if we got THESE dresses, we would feel fabulous.  Don't you think we will sing better if we feel fabulous?"  How could I argue with that!?!?  :-)
 
We settled on the Ostinato dresses from Southeastern Apparel.  They are great dresses, work well with different sizes, and Southeastern has great service.
 
As for the cost, I do a dress buy-back program.  The students purchase their own dresses, and at the end of their time in choir I will buy back the dresses from them at a cost reduced by $15/semester of use.  The dresses are $68, so if a girl uses it for two years then I will buy it back for $38, etc.  This provides me, over some time, with a nice backstock of inventory that I can use to provide students who need it a discount for their performance attire.
 
Hope this helps!
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