AUSA to Host Operation Deploy Your Dress Event

AUSA to Host Operation Deploy Your Dress Event

Operation deploy your dress logo
Photo by: Operation Deploy Your Dress

More than 400 cocktail dresses and formal gowns will be featured April 30 at a free pop-up event hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army and Operation Deploy Your Dress. 

Teaming up for the fifth annual Operation Deploy Your Dress D.C., volunteers from the two organizations will welcome all military or dependent ID card holders from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at AUSA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. 

Participants will receive two dresses and one accessory, and they will be able to try on the dresses in a fitting room. For those who might be a little shy, a separate fitting room will be available.

Organizers have planned seven, 45-minute time slots during the event, with 15 minutes in between each slot for cleaning and refreshing the donated new and gently used dresses.

A special, advance time slot, from 8–8:45 a.m., has been reserved for AUSA members with a military or dependent ID.

The popular event and the dresses are free, but registration for a “shopping” time slot is required. See more details about the event and register here.

To register for the AUSA members-only time slot, click here. 

Operation Deploy Your Dress was founded in late 2015 at Fort Bliss, Texas, when a group of military spouses organized a dress swap to lessen the cost of formal wear for holiday balls. The idea quickly grew into an organization run by dozens of volunteers, offering gently used dresses and accessories to military members and dependents.

The group now has 10 shops across the U.S. and one in Germany, according to its website.

AUSA last hosted a pop-up event in September, and AUSA and Operation Deploy Your Dress have worked together since 2017, including at AUSA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.

Through the teamwork between AUSA and Operation Deploy Your Dress, the popular pop-up event keeps Army traditions alive by giving military family members a helping hand for special occasions and formals, said Holly Dailey, AUSA’s Family Readiness director.

“AUSA and ODYD have been teaming up together since 2017,” Dailey said. “It’s more than just a dress. It is about maintaining and passing on traditions, building camaraderie and paying it forward. Seeing the smiling faces of our family members who leave with a special dress reinforces the importance of this event, community relationships and supporting our families.”

Yvonne Coombes, CEO and co-founder of Operation Deploy Your Dress and an Army spouse for over 20 years, said she wanted to ensure that military families could experience the camaraderie and tradition associated with military balls without worrying about how much they cost. 

“It wasn't that people weren't showing up because they didn't want to go. … It was expensive,” Coombes told Dailey on an AUSA podcast. “Between the ball tickets, the babysitter, the dress, the hair, the makeup … it all added up. For a lot of families, it was just too expensive, so we thought if we could take a part of that cost away, then people would come.”