The Need to “Dress for Success”

Women at Calvary preparing for a career fair

For many, looking good means feeling good. This is a notion that the women enrolled in Step Up DC (Calvary’s job placement program) know can be especially important when job searching. But finding clothes to wear to an interview can often be difficult for women staying at Calvary – some had business attire but lost it in a move. Others have never owned a suit before.

This is where Calvary’s partnership with Dress for Success comes in. Upon enrolling in Step Up DC, women are referred to Dress for Success to get professional attire to prepare them for attending interviews and career fairs.

Dee, a Step Up DC participant, was referred to Dress for Success a few months ago and received two suits, which she credits for giving her a boost of confidence when attending interviews and career fairs. In April, Dee along with several other women enrolled in Step Up DC were able to wear the suits they received from Dress for Success to a large career fair. Prior to attending this event, Calvary and Dress for Success collaborated on a workshop to help women effectively navigate the fair. The workshop focused on creating an elevator pitch, researching employers, and following up with recruiters.

Many of the women shared how much they felt the workshop and receiving professional attire helped them prepare to be successful at the career fair. They also shared how much they appreciate the supportive environment of Dress for Success.

Step Up DC participants at a Dress for Success workshop

“They treat you like family there. They make you feel so welcome and that’s what we all need,” said Dee.

As a result of attending the career fair, three women were able to secure employment. Although Dee did not get a job from this particular career fair, she has recently interviewed with an event services company and was offered a position there.

In addition to receiving interview outfits on their first visit to Dress for Success, once participants become employed they are able to go back for a week’s worth of clothes. Dee received several tops, bottoms and shoes to wear at her new job and even got a special surprise – a bottle of perfume. Dee is excited to start her new career with a new wardrobe. “Now I’m just ready to get to work!”

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