Women all dressed up to get a job

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

It’s not easy start­ing a new job, but Sarah An­der­son knows she’ll be do­ing it in style.

The mother-of-two was out­fit­ted for work by Dress For Suc­cess, a char­ity help­ing women in need start or re­turn to work.

Ms An­der­son has be­gun work­ing part-time af­ter hav­ing her chil­dren, now aged four and two.

“I’ve been out of the work­force for so long, I was a bit flus­tered and didn’t know where to go,” she says.

Ms An­der­son was re­ferred by Work and In­come to the Mt Eden-based char­ity, who pro­vided two free out­fits in­clud­ing shoes, hand­bags and makeup.

“I didn’t know what to ex­pect at all but I had a lot of fun, it was like hav­ing a per­sonal shop­per,” she says.

“I felt a mil­lion dol­lars walk­ing out.”

Dress For Suc­cess is an in­ter­na­tional char­ity that has been run­ning in New Zealand since 1999.

Pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor Claire Donaldson says the Auck­land branch ex­pects to dress 1500 women this year.

“Our main fo­cus is help­ing women in need en­ter and re­turn to the work­force,” she says.

Women must be re­ferred by an­other group, such as Work and In­come, Women’s Refuge, the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau and train­ing acad­e­mies.

Each client is pro­vided with a free out­fit for their job in­ter­view and a sec­ond set when they start work.

“It just makes my day when some­one phones up and says they’ve got the job, and comes back for their sec­ond out­fit,” Ms Donaldson says.

She says women are of­ten sur­prised by the qual­ity of clothes on of­fer.

The clothes, bags and shoes are all do­nated, but Ms Donaldson says they set a high stan­dard.

“We ask our­selves: ‘Would you dress your best friend in it?’ If you would, keep it. If not, do­nate it on,” she says.

More shoes, hand­bags and plus-size clothes are al­ways needed, as well as cash do­na­tions.

Vol­un­teers are also needed to work from Tues­day to Fri­day help­ing to dress clients.

Cyn­thia Henry has been help­ing once a week for 18 months and says it’s a fun at­mos­phere to work in. “It’s up­lift­ing,” she says. “There are a lot of us who think we’re Trinny and Su­san­nah, but we’re not.”

To vol­un­teer or ar­range a do­na­tion con­tact Claire on 377-2762, or see the web­site www.dress­for­suc­cess.org.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

New start: Dress for Suc­cess vol­un­teer Cyn­thia Henry, left, with client Sarah An­der­son, who was pro­vided with out­fits to wear to her new job.

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