Growing up, I always felt a little out of place when it came to clothing. My mom used to dress me and my sister in the same outfits, ALL. THE. TIME. Going to high school dressed like my 9 year old sister (right on down to the hairstyle) didn’t do much for my self-esteem. Not only did we wear the same outfits, but, my mother used to go up a size in clothing and shoes, because she wanted us to have space to grow. At the time, I didn’t really understand why she couldn’t get me the same kind of clothing that I saw everyone else wearing and I didn’t get why everything had to be so big and baggy.
As I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that my mother worked really hard to support 2 children without the help of a father figure. She’d invested in quality clothing, but couldn’t afford to do that all the time. So, clothes and shoes were bought a size bigger to give us the space to grow into them. When I began supporting myself, I realized how empowered I felt in clothes that not only fit my body, but also, my personality. I felt good being able to go into work everyday, dressed for success.
You never realize how empowering fashion can be. It helps us get jobs, express ourselves, and succeed in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are women who can’t afford to invest in items that will give them the aesthetic many companies are looking for when hiring. And so, when they enter these spaces, on their job hunts, they find themselves feeling disadvantaged and disempowered. What I love about Dress for Success is that it provides beautiful business attire for low-income women, to help them in their job-search and interview process. This global, non-profit organization has 154 locations in 30 countries, where women can either donate gently used attire, or come to receive clothing and coaching. I’ve gotten the chance to volunteer with Dress for Success, here in San Francisco.
Honestly, working to help women get back on their feet was such an emotional experience (in a good way). To help women feel confident in their appearance, to see their faces brighten when they realize they will be able to go on that interview and actually look the part, really touched my spirit. I was overwhelmed with this feeling of connectedness, understanding, and love. Everyone deserves the chance to enhance their lives. Dress for Success provides yet another avenue for women to do just that.