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What if you could get your formal dress for free? Thanks to Formally Yours, you can

What if you could get your formal dress for free? Thanks to Formally Yours, you can

If you’ve got a teenager in Year 10 or 12 this year and have no idea how you’re going to pay for their formal, here’s some news that’ll make your day.

Local women Pauline Leake and Gillian Southwell – the visionaries behind the Queanbeyan mens’ and womens’ calendars – are helping local families with the expense of the formal season by offering outfits and accessories for free.


Yes, you read that right: dresses, shirts, pants, shoes, jewellery, makeup and even perfume free of charge – all you have to do is head to the ‘Formally Yours’ Shamrock Lane pop-up showroom to try it on.

With cost of living “through the roof”, Pauline and Gillian were keen to ensure the young people of Queanbeyan still got to enjoy the glitz and glamour of their formals.

“People are struggling to pay their bills, buy groceries, and it’s not just a few, it’s everyone,” Pauline says.

“So we put the call out to the community to see if we could take the expense and stress out of what should be a special and memorable time of year for students and their parents”

The response to that call-out has been “unbelievable”: hundreds of dresses and pairs of shoes — many of which have never been worn and still have the tags on — while suits, ties and vests have been donated for the boys. Brands like Forever New, Karen Millen, Guess and Wittner.


A former Revlon makeup rep has donated eyeshadow, foundation and perfume, while the Queanbeyan Leagues Club has donated the pop-up showroom for students to head in and try things on.

There’s tea and coffee for parents and guardians to enjoy, and a lolly bar for everyone. There’s no time pressure, and dresses come in size 4 through to size 20 plus. Change rooms with full-length mirrors and toilet facilities are available.

“People have been so generous and we want to help each student find their special outfit,” Gillian says.

“We’re not here to judge who qualifies and who doesn’t, everyone is struggling, but it is going to be a case of one outfit per person to ensure fairness.”

Gillian says a few locals with gorgeous cars have also offered their services for free, and to enquire at the pop-up showroom if you’re interested.

“If there’s one thing we need more of, it’s more suits for our males,” she says.

Formally Yours pop-showroom details

When: Wednesdays to Fridays, commencing 27 September, from 2pm-6pm
Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-2pm (last open is Sunday 22 October 2023)
Where: Shamrock Lane, just up from the Queanbeyan Leagues Club (joins the Leagues Club carpark to Monaro Street).
Cost: All items free
Please note: Students under 18 will need to visit the showroom with an adult

About the Author: Bree Element

Part bogan, part wannabe plus-size model and part journalist, Bree's the woman behind Q! News. She's a pop culture obsessive who's deeply in love with her hometown, Queanbeyan, and the neighbouring capital. A born storyteller, she's been writing locally, nationally and internationally for more than 25 years.