Here at Shop we never underestimate the power of a good look, and neither does Dress For Success.
The not-for-profit organisation aims to empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into work, simply by helping them look the part; providing suits for them to wear to job interviews, donated by other working women. Supported by fashion industry giants Tommy Hilfiger and Bobbi Brown, there are branches of Dress For Success from Sydney to Jamaica, Poland to Honolulu, and now there’s one in Glasgow too.
Founder of Dress For Success Strathclyde Katrina Gibbons explains the thinking behind the organisation: ‘Sadly we do live in a society that judges people and their abilities on the way they look. Why should women with so much to offer professionally be denied their chance because they can’t afford a good suit?
‘If a woman has been unemployed for a long time it’s unlikely she’ll have the money to spare to buy a suit. Dress For Success is about inclusion; giving women from every background equal opportunity to get into work and become self-sufficient and improve their own lives and the lives of their families.’
Katrina adds: ‘The women we help tell us that looking the part helps them to feel the part, to feel that they belong in the workplace. But the suit is just the first step. We also give advice about interview techniques and skills.’
Women referred to the service have a consultation with a personal shopper at Dress For Success HQ, a welcoming boutique-style space, who will help them choose something to suit their shape and colouring. It’s all good stuff too; Katrina has a policy that nobody is given a suit she herself wouldn’t wear.
She adds: ‘Women have donated designer suits and suits with the labels still hanging off them. That’s another remarkable thing about this concept: it’s women helping women, because women tend to empathise with each other. I think that’s why Dress For Success captures the imagination.’
So why not raid your work wardrobe for a good cause? Take inspiration from the current trend for clothes-swapping parties, but instead of keeping the spoils, donate them to Dress For Success and make a girls night in of it (Roxette soundtrack optional).
Or if a girls night out is more your scene, head along to Hawke & Hunter on Thursday 9th September to the Burlesque, Butlers and Bubbly event, 6.30 – 8.30pm, where you can learn some Dita Von Teese-worthy moves, and all entry will cost you is a suit to donate to Dress or Success.
If you’d like to donate one of your suits, or any good quality workwear or accessories, or organise a Suit Drive, you can contact Katrina at Dress For Success on 07505 842 824 or at Strathclyde@dressforsuccess.org.