Donations give young people the chance to frock up

By Jamie Salter

A woman from Howlong is collecting formal wear to donate to rural communities in need across Australia.

Lynette Smith gathers formal wear and raises money to collect and deliver the outfits.

“Every dress or suit I provide is equivalent to the cost of a large bale of hay, and a farmer will pay for food over an outfit,” the 62-year-old said.

The Farmer Wants A Dress/Suit program gives young people in regional towns access to outfits for formal school events, such as graduations and debutante balls.

Ms Smith notifies the schools on what day the students can collect the dresses or suits, at no cost.

“There was one school where they weren't even going to hold a formal.”

Ms Smith said the students wore the formal attire for as long as they could. "Normally kids can't wait to get out of a suit.”

She said she was the only person who delivered the dresses to regional towns.

“The last trip was six towns in six days; I started in Finley and ended in Moulamein.

“It's a lot of work unloading and packing up, then moving on to the next town.

“Thanks to the people of Australia, I'm able to get out there and deliver the outfits.”

Up to a thousand dresses have been donated, along with suits, ties, shoes and make-up.

Ms Smith pays to have the outfits cleaned and transported, which she says costs a "small fortune".

Formal wear and make-up donations are still being accepted.

Anyone seeking formal wear to be sent to them can phone Ms Smith on 0429 200 391 and anyone wishing to donate can visit the Farmer wants a Dress Facebook page at:

Ms Smith has a GoFundMe page at to raise funds for transporting the formal wear.