Wednesday, May 4 , 2017
It’s Day 4 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m thrilled that my professional life and plan to blog about women owning their sense of style aligned perfectly. This afternoon I had the pleasure of attending an Open House at our local Dress for Success. Having gone through my own transition I could have used their suiting/clothing, career center, job readiness program, and Professional Women’s Group back in 2006, but I wasn’t aware the agency existed then.
Kay Fittes of High Heeled Success introduced me to DFS in 2012 when we began partnering to present women’s workshops through her agency and Pink Collar Savvy & Chic. At each of our events, we set up a Dress for Success donation table and provide two complimentary seats for women participating in their Professional Women’s Group. Even so, it wasn’t until after I started working at Life Learning Center late in 2015 that I finally got to witness the transformation each of our female Coachees undergo through Dress’ suiting process. That enhanced my admiration for DFS and the value I place on both the partnership with Life Learning Center and Pink Collar Savvy & Chic. Still I’d never visited before today.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved dressing. Not only myself but paper dolls and Barbies. I’ve only had one job where I had to wear a uniform and it was torture. Having a career where I could have the freedom to dress as I please was at the top of my list of dream job criteria. For me, dressing is a creative outlet, an art form, and as such is one of the ways I express myself. Style is not about fashion or letting media trends dictate what to wear or not wear. Style is about being intentional, purposeful about presenting the best version of ourselves to the world. No matter our body shape, budget, or weight. Dress for Success gets that and offers something for everyone.
The Dress for Success career center outfitted with desks and computers where personally assigned Job Coaches assist women in their employment search was impressive. The suiting room was designed to look like a boutique with clothing hung neatly by size on racks, shoes lined up on specially made shelves, and with handbags, scarves, and jewlry housed on stands and in beautiful cases. It contained six dressing rooms and even had a plethora of bras to ensure clothing fit well and that “the girls” stay put so clothing fits properly.
As impressive as all of this was, the declaration: “The Suit is Just the Beginning!” really resonated with me. When I went through my transition, I literally had the clothes on my back. Homeless, I immediately sought employment. And someone saw fit to buy me a suit. That suit empowered me to present the best version of myself to those interviewing me and kickstarted my whirlwind return to the workplace. The suit then helped catapult me from a temp agency receptionist position to being wooed by the world’s top competing corporate early childcare providers within a year and a half. I accepted the better of two directorship offers and have continued to move forward to live my best professional life. Not a bad result from a polyester suit from Penny’s! The day I donned that suit to interview for an Assistant Director position, it really was just the beginning. That morning I was asked, “Why are you wearing that to a daycare interview?”. My response: “I’m dressing for the job I want.”
That was my Pink Collar Savvy & Chic purposeful sense of style then and I’m sticking to it!
Professional Headshot of me, The Pink Collar Coach.
Calvin Klein blouse & jacket.