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Gown Gemach to Cater to the Plus-Sized

Mazal Tov!! She is engaged! Everyone is so excited! The Chosson and Kallah buy their respective Kapota and gown. The jewelry, the music, and the flowers are taken care of. But then comes the headache – if the mother or the sisters are plus-sized, where are they supposed to look for the beautiful gowns that will reflect their joy in this simcha?

Sure, there are plenty of gemachs and rental places; they have gorgeous ‘eye candy’ gowns… but these magnificent creations are rarely found above size 12. Anything beautiful and plus size is hard to come by.

Anyone who is plus-sized can identify with Rivky (not her real name), who came into New York for her brother’s wedding. She is a size 22.  She went into all the gemachs and rental places in Crown Heights, Flatbush, Borough Park and even the 5 Towns.

She succeeded in two things: wasting a lot of her time, and stomping down on any last bits of self-esteem that she had.

In one rental place, the lady did not stop clucking her tongue as she found her a big black monstrosity to try on, and told her she should grab it because she was not going to find anything nicer that would fit. (Not to mention all the alterations needed, and the fact that the price would be $100 more.)

This is not the place to discuss the benefits of being slimmer, or how unhealthy obesity is. There is a need in our community. We must have a gemach that helps out those in need. A mom who needs to worry about making a wedding should not have to feel like she will look like a shmatteh at her daughter’s wedding, just because she is plus sized. Sisters should not feel embarrassed when they want to shine and dance – why should they feel like they need to avoid the photographer?

Enter Devoiry Wilmowsky. She has quite a bit of experience in this field, along with the compassion to help. She is looking to open a gemach catering exclusively to the plus-sized among us – and she wants it to be a true gemach. She is not looking to do this for financial gain, she only wants to help.

In her words, “to be able to make a sister of the Kallah, or a mother of the Kallah, feel like a million bucks, especially when it is harder to do because of their size, is a challenge I want to accept. To see a Shlucha on such a limited time frame walk out with a perfect gown that makes her feel good and doesn’t break her bank, is what I want this gemach to be about.”

Costs are going to be kept a minimum, because she is doing this Le’ilui Nishmas her grandmother, Mrs. Rochel Kloc, OBM, a long-time Crown Heights resident and an eishes chayil known to all as the epitome of style, elegance and grace as befits a Bas Yisrael.

Devoiry says that in the past when she devoted hours upon hours a week to a Gemach on a purely voluntary basis, even when she had to run out of her house for an emergency during suppertime, the brochos she saw made it all worthwhile. She has found a niche, and one that we can all help her to fill.

If you have a plus-sized gown that you are able to donate to her worthy cause, please contact Devoiry so that she can make arrangements to obtain it from you. This year, when you clean out your closets for Pesach, think of those ladies who can use what is just taking space in your home. Of course, Hashem is watching, and in the zchus of your generosity, may He who is all giving, give to you from His open and generous hand.

This Gmach is being sponsored by Devoiry Wilmovsky and the Andrusier family in honor of their Grandmother, Rochel Sima Chaya bas R’ Yisroel Oizer, OBM.  May she be a melitz yosher for all of us.

Devoiry can be reached at (718) 613-9306.


  • 2. EXCITING!!! wrote:

    Finally, a real need in the community addressed. Thank you so much!

  • 4. I have chills wrote:

    When I needed Devoiry in the past, she has always been there, in a non judgemental way. I wish you much Hatzlocha, and hope that you continue to see the brochos you deserve for the chesed that you provide! Moshiach NOW!

  • 5. aviva wrote:

    I have suits , not gowns etc in EY. If you know someone going to Crown Heights from Yerushalayim I would be happy to donate them.

  • 8. This is so needed!! wrote:

    Thank you so much Devoiry Wilmowsky for dedicating yourself to the needs of the community!!

    Please donate plus sized gowns and tell anyone that might have a gown to donate!!


  • 9. Brilliant concept wrote:

    About time!
    This is so needed in the frum world!
    Gown Gemachs/ rentals do not take into consideration that there are bigger women who need gowns too!
    Bigger woman have weddings too, AND want to look good too, AND don’t want to pay a fortune finding a gown too!
    Yasher koach Mrs Wilmowsky!
    I know you will have lots of hatzlacha and success with opening your new gemach, because when a person wants to do good, Hashem helps them out. Your sensitivity, and devotion for doing chesed for other people is Inspiring!
    May we all learn from your sincere actions!

  • 11. LEAH B wrote:

    WOW! MUCH SUCCESS!, this is the BEST RESPONSE to the tragedies in our midst. KINDNESS! LOVE! CARE! AND MORE KINDNESS!

  • 13. Chesed at it's purest wrote:

    Knowing Devory for many years, you can rest assured that your donation of a gown or money will be used for non profit.
    She volunteered her time working at a gown gemach for the purpose of helping people find something nice at an affordable price.
    Unfortunately that gemach does not exist anymore, but Devory took it upon herself to continue such a thing for the plus size women.

  • 14. Shlucha wrote:

    How about if Rivky is the kallah? Where does she go for a gown?
    Thanks for this fantastic initiative. Only simchas.

  • 15. amazing wrote:

    Wow. This is totally needed. I had thought of doing this but i don’t live in crown Heights. Will Def donate

  • 16. Happy to see this wrote:

    It is hard enough finding a classy, well fitting and appropriate dress for a bar mitzvah,let alone for a child’s wedding.When I got married,it was the most depressing thing to shop the gemachs for a gown and have to just take one that fit.My friends tried to convince me to get a ‘better’ gown,but there was none to be had and I was a size 14!
    BEST idea!!Hatzlacha rabba!

  • 17. so proud wrote:

    So impressed with this new concept.
    there are many women that will be thrilled
    to have such an option. Devoiry is the perfect person to run this gmach. For years she worked tirelessly for chasdei nachum…she did it on a volunteer basis and always with a smile. Risa was lucky to have such a devoted worker.
    May hashem bentch her with much kindness and goodness.
    lots of luck

  • 18. Emes wrote:

    We need someone to do the same for guys. A gemach with suits, shirts, and kapotehs for guys who wear a size 54+ would be s good idea.

  • 19. Beautiful idea wrote:

    So glad this is being done! May the neshama have a big aliya in the zechus of such a kind and important project. And may everyone celebrate only simchas.

  • 20. Address or Phone #? wrote:

    I may have missed it but I read thru the article and comments three times and I don’t see whom to contact if I want to send gowns.

  • 22. Astonished wrote:

    This is a wonderful idea.
    However I don’t understand something. Since when is any size over 12 considered plus?

    As an out of towner from a small community of frum families I am often surprised that women don’t know how to find tznius clothing in regular stores. Most disappointing have been my attempts over the years to shop in CH and Bpark and find that much of the clothes for girls and women need altering to be tznius and often was the same as I could find at home.
    In most communities the better clothes departments of mid-level chains and better department stores, bridal shops and small individually owned boutiques offer excellent alterations and can sometimes offer creative ideas on adapting clothing to fit our needs without the “long-sleeved-tshirt-under-a-cocktail-dress” look.
    I have assisted several kallahs, including a very petite and a size 22 obtain gowns in a regular department store. The alterations staff of bridal departments are very skilled and can get necessary material to match any gown. Their work is undetectable. They assisted us in finding sample or sale gowns and upsizing a size 12 to fit the larger girl. These gowns were all priced well below what some cost rentals cost. Bridal department and shops can often order the same material or colors as
    Another source is to find good dressmakers who are experienced with brides and debutants. Fabric stores, particularly those specializing in fancy fabrics, alterations and tailor shops and dry cleaners are good sources of recommendations. Don’t wait until needed, scout for these even when you have no need.
    Some old fashioned idea are to find clothing for multiple seasons which can be worn several ways for different uses and to learn to use accessories such as jewelry, scarves, belts and jackets to dress up or down an outfit. Classic styles, flattering colors and silhouette, and a good fit assure that a woman will always look good and be comfortable. Sit down, raise your arms, use triple mirrors and go shopping with someone who will be honest with you. Try not to settle for OK or to buy anything which makes you at all uncomfortable in ANY way. If a color scheme is given and the color is unflattering put a color which looks good with it and reflects well for your complexion next to your face. Alternatively, find a flattering coordinating color. Particularly for family members of the simcha similar styles or colors can be found to flatter all. Kallahs: No one should be forced to wear something which makes them uncomfortable the whole evening “for the pictures.”

    May all who participate in simchas be truly b’imcha in all ways including preparations. Wishing success for this gmach.

  • 24. Response wrote:

    At this time we will be only be collecting gowns ( not suits) We will accept gowns from size 14 and up thanks for the wonderful feedback and strong words of chizuk and may we only share simchas


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