CT Post – By Jordan Grice Updated 4:28 pm, Thursday, February 15, 2018
Professional attire is crucial to any interview process which is why members of Dress For Success Mid-Fairfield County want to help women look the part.
The program is a part of The WorkPlace, which provides a range of employment-related services, and is holding a two-day sale that is open to the public on Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 240 Fairfield Ave. in Bridgeport.
Dress For Success has been assisting women in need throughout Fairfield County and part of New Haven County since 1998 by helping prepare for employment opportunities. The program provides women within workplace programs, domestic violence shelters, job training programs and local colleges with professional attire and accessories they need for interviews and job fairs.
“When you look good, you feel good, and a lot of women who come to us have never owned a suit before and so it’s kind of an impactful experience,” program manager Sarah Lewis said. “Not only the clothing but the entire experience, because you’re getting one-on-one attention with another woman who’s really there to build your confidence up.”
Clients usually come into the boutique through referrals. Along with receiving new attire, customers also receive encouragement from the volunteers who double as personal shoppers.
After going over their style preferences and upcoming interview needs, Lewis said volunteers will help prepare the client’s interview outfit from clothing and shoes to accessories and handbags.
For volunteers like Katherine Chimini, who has been a part of the program for over a year, the rewards don’t just end with the clients.
“Each week I actually get excited to come, and as I’m leaving I’m very excited because we work with women who come in here and they start trying on clothes and they transform,” Chimini said. “They develop confidence. They look like a million bucks when they leave here, and they are so happy.”
As Dress For Success prepares for the changing of the seasons, Lewis said the organization has plenty of winter clothing it is looking to sell to make room for new inventory.
Many of the items are priced between $5 and $15 items while there are some items like a new pair of boots that will be around $50, according to Lewis.
The sale will be open to the public, but a shopper must set an appointment by calling the Dress For Success office. The boutique staff will be scheduling 10 appointments per hour, Lewis said.
Proceeds from the sale will go toward Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County’s employment retention programs.
“We’re definitely all about the clothes, but we are way more than just the suit,” Lewis said. “This is kind of the last touch when a woman is going on an interview. If she doesn’t have the resources to purchase a suit that you would usually need for an interview, then you might not have great confidence, so we are trying to empower women not only with clothes.”
To make an appointment, call 203-333-6505.