The women coming into Success in Style for clothing are always impressed with our "store." It is set up like a small, upscale boutique with suits, shoes, purses, scarves and jewelry, all smartly arranged and organized so that the women can look for outfits that appeal to their personal sense of style. The volunteers assisting them can also search for additional options in the small but well-organized storage room. Volunteers sit down with each woman to discuss their needs and provide a fashion consultation. They then assist in the selection of outfits, offering advice on which outfits look best and options for mix-and-match outfits, accessories and also how to shop for additional items as they get those first paychecks.
I'll never forget the first woman I personally assisted. With the help of the agency, she had gotten a job, but needed clothing to begin work the next day. She came in with a friend who also needed assistance and two teenage daughters. One of the daughters was pregnant. They were all living in a nearby homeless shelter, and I could not help but hope that our role in aiding these women in their job search could also be a step in boosting the confidence of these teenage girls.
The woman I was helping had never worn a business suit. She was very excited to go into the dressing room to try on the suit we had selected. I could see a definite transformation in her bearing when she came out of the dressing room. She was absolutely beaming and even standing a bit straighter. Her excitement increased as we found additional pants, shirts, jackets and shoes that she would be able to wear to work. The girls were also visibly impressed by the transformation. With the selections done and packed up into lovely SIS shopping bags and plastic wrap covering the hanging clothes, we had hugs all round. Both of the women walked out with new clothes and a level of confidence they had not had when they entered. They also had a coupon donated from a local beauty salon to get their hair styled.