Dress For Success

Have you recently looked at the back of your wardrobe? Perhaps there are some late 1990’s business suits or shift dresses that are still beautiful – but which not longer fit your current style or workplace. Being the responsible consumer you are – you might now consider which charity organisation to give your out-moded wardrobe to. Today’s Karen Gately blog focusses on the not-for-profit organisation Dress For Success,which empowers women to gain employment with training (and the right wardrobe).

Dress For Success are a global organisation founded in New York in 1997, with affiliate chapters located worldwide. The Dress For Success mission is to create employment opportunities for disadvantaged women, by providing a range of support mechanisms. These include access to professional wardrobes and Professional Women’s Groups to aid workplace retention for those who have found work with Dress For Success’ assistance. It is a referral-only programme, which enjoys over 3000 partners world-wide – who have referred over 50,000 women to the group for assistance. Women come to Dress For Success from a range of places such as homeless shelters, educational institutions, domestic violence shelters and immigration centres. They must have an interview booked in before they are given a suit and the accessories appropriate for their potential role. When she happily finds a job, she can return to Dress For Success for several other wardrobe pieces – allowing her to build an essential professional wardrobe. It is sad (but tru) that first impressions do count, and that women who don’t have the money to buy clothing for professional workplace interviews are at an immediate disadvantage. Dress For Success helps to circumvent this inequality with corporate wardrobes and ongoing support and mentoring programmes. We take much of our knowledge of social mores and workplace ‘unspoken rules’ for granted. For women who have never worked in formal workplaces or offices before, there are many new skills and ‘rules’ to learn – Dress For Success provide opportunities for women to improve their communication skills, as well as their financial management and computer knowledge too. These extra skills make the prospect of long-term employment for these ladies much more feasible.

If you’d like to become involved in Dress For Success’ local programmes, click here for the Melbourne chapter’s website. This chapter is relatively new and fitted their first client in June of this year. Please support them with your pre-loved business wear.



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