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Making First Impressions Work

Making First Impressions Work


In 1996, Nancy Lublin inherited $5000 from her great-grandfather, Poppy Max. As a law student and fledgling New Yorker, Lublin recruited three nuns from Spanish Harlem each of whom ran public service programs.

They began their quest to give women the tools they need to get a job ? starting with a suit. With its mission “to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life,” word quickly spread beyond the boroughs’ borders. Soon other like-minded women from other states brought Dress For Success to their own communities. Today there are more than 75 affiliates in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Clients must be referred to DFS by one of the 2500+ non-profit and government organizations and they must have an interview scheduled before they receive a suit. Support doesn’t end with attire, although with a second interview, clients are eligible for a second suit. Keeping a job can be even more frustrating than finding one, and with that, DFS founded the Professional Women’s Group which provides “ongoing support to enable women? to build thriving careers and prosper?”

While their list of sponsors is impressive, professional attire donated by individuals is an enormous part of the operation. Each affiliate has 501(c) 3 status and with opportunities to help the more than 40,000 women annually, by holding a suit drive or participating in its “Send One Suit” week, you can make a difference, with minimal effort. Look in your closet? what doesn’t work for you, could help another? work. Click here to see Dress for Success or type www.dressforsuccess.org/supportdfs_donate_clothing.aspx in your internet browser, for guidelines for donating.

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  • GuessWho By GuessWho
    05.29.07  

    I wish that more people were like Nancy Lubin. Thanks for giving disadvantaged women a chance to get a fresh start. You are a blessing!!!!!

  • workerbee By workerbee
    07.04.07  

    Sometimes all someone needs is a little helping hand to climb out of the hole. Kudos to Nancy Lubin.

  • BostonSox By BostonSox
    12.29.07  

    This is a fabulous initiative and I've donated some of my suits. There is also a dry cleaner near me that advertises they will clean your suit for free if you're unemployed and interviewing. I just hope people that don't need the freebie, don't take advantage of it.

  • clto1 By clto1
    03.22.08  

    There are so many people who do take advantage of free things they are not really in need of. When I was a child, a friend of my mothers home and all her belongings burned down. She was a single mother, and couldn't afford to replace everything herself. I remember phone calls to different agencies like the salvation army, the goodwill and all those other agencies, and the only replies were that she could come in and buy items if she wanted to. From that alone, I made the decision as an adult that I would never donate to any of the charities that were called during my moms friends crisis. When I buy new clothes and get rid of old ones, including my childrens clothes, I donate to the non-profit agencies that serve communities, not charge the disadvantaged. I always drop the items off, and never request a reciept for tax purposes. This is my way of helping when i can, where i can.

  • quilterpeg By quilterpeg
    02.14.09  

    I have supported this effort for years. It is so rewarding to be able to give women a hand up so they can use their skills and get out there and find the job they need and want. I actually try to pick up accessories and shoes at sales just for this project. It is amazing the new stuff you can find at garage sales! What a wonderful example of a woman following her heart.

  • Divagal By Divagal
    07.05.09  

    I think this is one of the best efforts that has been done for women. Nothing makes a woman feel better than to look good and being dressed well. As more and more women have become the head of the household, this program certainly gives them the "helping hand" they need to take that first step back into the workforce.

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