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Empowering Women - One Outfit at a time
  • Michelle Harris

Empowering Women - One Outfit at a time

Could you imagine preparing for a job interview and you absolutely do not have the appropriate attire nor the financial means to purchase what you need? This happens to many women everyday in our society and prevents them from getting a job to support themselves and their families. Thanks to Dress for Success there is help available.

Empowering Women one outfit at a time. Helping create confidence and a brighter future.

Dress for Success Mission Statement - To empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Last week I visited with Dress for Success in Winston-Salem, NC and took some photos to be used for social media and other promotions. I must say it was an eye opening experience for me. Chris (director) gave me the tour of their facility and insight into the work they do for the women of Forsyth County. I also met their mascot Bano, a rescue dog that also has an incredible story. #dressforsuccess #empoweringwomen #brandphotography

Dress For Success

The small facility just on the outskirts of downtown Winston-Salem is filled to the brim with donated clothing, jewelry, shoes and even undergarments. Needless to say, they have outgrown the facility they are in, but make it work for them and the women they serve. What they don't have in space they make up for in their passion to serve. The goal of Dress for Success is to strive for a world where all women are financially independent. A world where women are treated with dignity and respect and are directly impacting not only their lives, but those of their families. Through this program they hope to break the poverty cycle and empower women.

The women they serve have fallen on hard times or came from bad circumstances and don't have the funds to buy the much needed clothes for a job interview. These women are working to improve their current situation and create a better life for themselves in which they are financially independent. Many come to Dress for Success with little to no money and low self esteem. Imagine not being able to buy one simple outfit to wear to a job interview. This simple thing could be all that is standing in your way to becoming the best person you can be. We all know that clothing doesn't make the person. But sadly it is the clothing that makes the first impression.

At Dress for Success clients are given one complete outfit to have for the job interview. Should it become a two day interview a second outfit is given to them. Once the client has been given a job, they receive five days worth of clothing to get through their first week of work. Dress for Success has a wide range of clothing to fit almost all sizes and any job type. They even have scrubs for those who will be working in the medical industry.

The clients of Dress for Success receive much more than an outfit or two. These women are coached to prepare for an interview so they have not only the skills for the job, but the skills for the interview. We all know that interviews can be stressful and intimidating. But, imagine going into an interview feeling like you aren't qualified even though you are. Simply having the confidence for an interview is huge. Dress for Success believes that with the proper education, tools and action women can be successful no matter the background or circumstances.

Chris shared a couple of short stories with me about the ladies she worked with and I want to share one of those with you. I do not know the woman's name, but the story is no less powerful.

The story I am going to share is of a women who came in seeking assistance to prepare for a job interview. Let's call her Maria and let you know the interview was with a restaurant. As Chris was talking with Maria to see what her needs were, the conversation took a curve. The conversation went from what type of interview and clothing do you need to how can we help you. Maria had just gotten out of an abusive relationship, had no self confidence and had not been to eat in a restaurant in over two years. While talking, Bano the mascot, came out and walked to the client. Chris was able to use Bano's story of abuse and physical scar to connect with her client. The story of Bano's abuse and new life allowed Chris to show Maria that there is hope. Wounds and scars heal. By the time Maria left, she had not only a new outfit, but more importantly she had hope and a new outlook for her future. This day was also Maria's birthday and after talking with Chris and experiencing the unconditional love from Bano she decided to take a leap of faith and go out to eat. Her mind set took a drastic turn while spending the short amount of time with Chris.

It is stories like Maria's that fill the hearts of Chris and the volunteer's that work at Dress for Success. It is the small acts of kindness, the compassion and encouragement that change lives of the women entering the doors of Dress for Success. From a simple outfit, interview preparation and passion that changes the lives and empowers women to reach for the stars and reach their full potential.

"We are about much more than simply a new outfit" Unknown

Get Involved

It is so often we hear of women being belittled, disrespected, abused and shamed for coming from poor life experiences. To make it even worse it isn't just society creating this environment it is other women. Women who feel they are better, smarter, etc that cause the most harm to other women. We need to encourage each other, mentor each other, support each other and most importantly share our blessings with each other. Not everyone comes from blessed circumstances, but they have the power to bless others.

If you are looking for a way to give back to your community Dress for Success is a very noble cause and one that you will surely feel blessed by. You can help by donating clothing appropriate for an interview, monetary donation, volunteer at the center and maybe even mentorship (you must be vetted by the directors). Here in Winston-Salem, NC you can reach out to Chris to see how you can help. If you would like more information about Dress for Success or to find a location in your area I have attached the link below. You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook.


        Winston-Salem, North Carolina                 336-408-0804       



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