DELIVERING DIGNITY THROUGH DRESS
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS; LAUREN SARAH PURCELL
What does it mean to “Dress for Success”?
“dress for success is the modern equivalent of clothes maketh the man”
That is, it articulates the belief that what you wear matters in everyday life.
Today "impression management" has become part of mainstream popular psychology, management and business studies, with dress for success a central plank of all.
However, Dress for Success - the company that helps women worldwide - is more than just clothing. It stands for empowering women in less fortunate circumstances to obtain work appropriate attire, styling and support from volunteers, enabling these women to move forward with dignity, find confidence and achieve their dreams.
On the weekend of the 23rd February 2019 I had the pleasure of meeting Anita Bell, the Fundraising and Events Manager, “Event Angel” and volunteer co-ordinator Valerie Soilis and the wonderful volunteers from Dress for Success at their first “Bag a Bargain Event” for 2019 in West Perth. I had some idea of what the company initiatives and values were, but until I spoke to Anita and Valerie, I had no idea of the empowerment and inspiration they brought to women all over Perth on a daily basis. I found in them the spirit of what we should all aim for; women that support one another, lift each other up and ultimately empower one another.
How it works: all clothing and accessories are taken to the donation centre where they are sorted by volunteers who deem what is suitable for work attire. The company advertises for work clothing but receives much more than just office wear. This is where events such as “Bag a Bargain” come in; a public sale where all profits go back into the company to further assist those in need.
Anita advises me that the work clothes they receive are sifted out and items are checked to make sure they are good quality, style and are ultimately pieces someone is going to feel good in.
“For some of these women it is the first time that someone has told them that they look amazing. The women that work down there such as Valerie and the stylist volunteers; they are full of such joy and love. The women who come to us can feel quite down and embarrassed, and they leave with their heads held high”
The labels received by Dress for Success Perth are many and varied.
“We have Veronika Maine, Diane Von Furstenberg, Chanel and Oroton come through to name a few. We keep the very high-end and once a year run a “Bubbles and Bargain Event”.
Having a look through the racks (which are sorted impeccably from sizes 6-18) I come across Veronika Maine, Witchery, Country Road, Boo Radley, Review, Cue, Kookai, Morrison and Barkins to name a few.
Anything not sold in the sale is passed on to other charities. It further highlights the trend of recycling, circulating style and being responsible and sustainable in fashion: exactly what we are all about at Circular Style.
Further initiatives run by Dress for Success have included a “ball gown run” where beautiful gowns donated by Valerie and the team to Dianella Secondary College, were circulated to students for upcoming balls.
The next event is scheduled for the Sunday the 24th March. Pencil this one in your diaries as from my experience, you do not want to miss out. I found the event to be not only a bargain but one of empowerment and what better way to get together and celebrate being a woman by supporting other women in need.
Check out Dress for Success on the following sites: