Dress for Success

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, has done extensive research on how individuals perceive one another, particularly in the form of non-verbal cues. In her widely viewed and much discussed Ted Talk (if you haven’t yet seen it, Google “Power Pose” and watch it – it’s fascinating), she essentially tells us that if we act powerful, we’ll feel powerful. Going on a job interview? Cuddy says if you do the Power Pose for two minutes, you’ll feel more confident and have a greater chance of getting hired.

Dress for the Job You Want

It naturally follows that the way we dress plays an important role in how we feel. The nonprofit Dress for Success tapped into that idea and has built a global organization around it. Founded in the basement of a New York City church in 1997, the mission of Dress for Success is 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.” Globally, the agency serves thousands of women every year and now has 140 outposts in 20 countries. Locally, Dress for Success New Orleans is stronger than ever, with a goal of serving 500 women in 2016.

Working It

The women who come to Dress for Success are committed to finding employment and are ready to work. As Diane Riche, Board President of Dress for Success New Orleans, notes: “Our clients come from every walk of life, every ethnicity and education level. They all have one thing in common: they want to do better.” In order to obtain a referral to Dress for Success, a client must have a scheduled interview already in place. At that point the organization outfits them with a full set of clothing for the interview and, once the client has been offered a job, provides a full week’s worth of work appropriate attire.

Though a client’s relationship with Dress for Success begins with clothing, that’s really just a jumping off point. The agency also offers programs that support women once they’ve entered the workplace. The Professional Women’s Group, for instance, is a national network open to any Dress for Success client who has gained employment. Among the many benefits of PWG are regularly scheduled meetings that offer both educational speakers and opportunities for interpersonal networking. Around the world and here in New Orleans, Dress for Success is helping women achieve their goals. As Riche puts it, they offer “a hand up, not a hand out.” And that’s how Dress for Success is making a monumental difference in the lives of women, their families and their communities at large. 

Suit Up

The 2016 “Suits and Salads Luncheon” benefiting Dress for Success will be held on Friday, May 6, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and will feature a Style Setters fashion show, inspiring speakers, a fabulous silent auction and an exciting raffle. Proceeds support ongoing programs at the Dress for Success boutique located at 6117 Magazine St.

For more information or to bid on auction items online, visit 501auctions.com/DressForSuccessNOLA.

If you’re cleaning your closets, please consider donating your gently used professional attire to Dress for Success.

Visit NewOrleans.DressForSuccess.org for more details about the agency and the ways in which you can lend your support, time and talent.



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