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75th Anniversary Gala formal wear: why buy when you can borrow

Kristina Balboa, Cinderella’s Closet organizer, re-racks a gown at the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Kristina Balboa, Cinderella’s Closet organizer, re-racks a gown at the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The program offers a wide selection of formal gowns and dresses including a tuxedo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton)

Katie Everett (left), and Cameron Stripling browse through the selection of evening gowns at the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Katie Everett (left), and Cameron Stripling browse through the selection of evening gowns at the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The program provides professionally cleaned formal wear for loan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton)

Kimberly Jones fills out a form to borrow a dress from the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Kimberly Jones fills out a form to borrow a dress from the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The loaned formal wear program helps alleviate some financial stress of attending a formal event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton)

Katie Everett browses through the selection of evening gowns at the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Katie Everett browses through the selection of evening gowns at the Cinderella’s Closet program, Aug. 23, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The formal wear loan program currently has close to 500 gowns for loan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton)

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --

Formal events are filled with elegant food, dancing and socializing. However for some, buying formal wear to attend these events also includes financial strain. One program is making an effort to reduce some of the financial strain of attending formal events.

The Cinderella’s Closet program loans formal wear to those attending Air Force events. The program is currently located in the Heritage Hall conference room from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays. The only requirement is to have the borrowed clothing professionally cleaned before returning it.

“Women buy a dress, wear it for one evening and then they never wear it again,” said Kristina Balboa, SJAFB Cinderella’s Closet organizer. “My husband is an Airmen, we can’t afford to buy a dress I am going to wear once.”

The program offers a wide selection of gowns and one tuxedo. Balboa plans to expand the collection of men’s wear in the future.

“This year Cinderella’s Closet has close to 500 dresses and gowns,” said Senior Master Sgt. Carolyn Russell, 4th Maintenance Group operations superintendent. “It’s helping a lot of people feel good about themselves; when you look good, you feel good.”

Russell added she hopes the Cinderella’s Closet program can provide the opportunity for more people to attend the 75th Anniversary Gala.

“Borrowing a dress verses buying a dress is a lot less financial stress on my family,” said Kimberly Jones.

Jones added it was her first time using the Cinderella’s Closet program.

“Cinderella’s Closet saves on money and time,” said Jones. “It’s located here on base, it’s easy to come in and take a look.”

In the past Jones has attended Air Force formal events but due to her busy schedule, she would always end up buying something last minute to wear.

“I think it really helps with building healthy relationships, couples can go out together,” said Russell. “It also helps promote the social and mental Comprehensive Airman Fitness domains.”

Russell added, the 75th Anniversary Gala is a time to come together and celebrate. Russell believes having members of Team Seymour attend the gala will continue to strengthen the 4th Fighter Wing bond.

For more information find them on Facebook at Cinderella’s Closet SJAFB.

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