Can confidence come from a good-looking outfit?
By Megan S. Willman

The Dress for Success boutique has all of the clothing essentials clients to prepare for an upcoming job interview. 

Remember the last time you left the house feeling like you were ready to take on the world? Your clothes look just right, the shoes are a knock-out, and there isn’t a hair out of place. When you start out feeling good, anything seems possible. And who doesn’t need a shot of confidence now and then?

Dress for Success Louisville is in the business of providing that kick-start for women in our community. Don’t let the name fool you. Although Dress for Success runs a boutique to provide clothing for women, its focus is on building self-sufficiency and career-readiness in all of its clients.

Each woman receives all she needs for her first job interview, from undergarments to make-up, shoes, and a purse. After she gets the job, she can return for a week’s worth of professional clothing suitable for her job.

Program Director Jeanne Freibert says, “We see women truly in transition. They may come into the shop downtrodden, and it’s amazing to see what happens in the boutique. They leave with a real boost of confidence.”

Dress for Success offers a career center including computer and financial literacy classes. The Career Retention Program is unique to Dress for Success Louisville. The group meets monthly to learn about tools for upward mobility. But, Executive Director Kerri Arnold points out, the clients are also a support group for each other. “It’s a great benefit to these women to see other women who have been through the same experience.”

Cherish Pharram used the organization’s services when she needed to find an outfit for an interview. She got the job and picked up a few more outfits from their boutique. 

How Can You Help?
Become a personal shopper
There is a big need for personal shoppers — assisting women in picking out the clothes they need for both the interview and once they have a job. Personal shopping takes place Tuesdays (3-8pm), Thursdays and Fridays (10am-1pm), and every third Saturday (9am-noon).

Help sort and inventory donations
Come on your own or with a group to spend time sorting clothes and keeping the boutique inventory organized.

Be a mentor
Work one-on-one with clients to assist with building career-readiness skills, offer professional and personal support, and be a friend.

Speak at a monthly meeting
Offer your expertise on any work-related or professional/personal development topic.

Assist with resumés and interviewing
Meet with clients to help them write resumés, cover letters, and practice interview techniques.

Make a donation
Donations are accepted on Thursdays from 9:30am-1:30pm, and it’s best to call ahead before coming. Items can also be dropped off every third Saturday from 9am-noon; no advance notice is needed on Saturdays.

Most-needed items:

  • Scrubs
  • Shoes, particularly in large sizes
  • Jewelry, especially simple earrings
  • Toiletries (these must be new and unused; travel size is also good)
  • Purses
  • Plus-size clothing, especially sizes 24 and larger
  • Dresses
  • Black pants, white shirts, and black no-skid shoes
  • Seaming tape/Stitch Witchery

To learn more about how you can help, contact Dress for Success at 502.584.8050.