Dress for Success Pittsburgh Takes a Whole Person Approach to Empowering Women

Dress for Success Pittsburgh Takes a Whole Person Approach to Empowering Women

Clothing, connections, confidence! is a mantra of Pittsburgh City East’s 2018 Chapter Charity

By Amy Camp, Cycle Forward

Liz Mims, branch manager of Dress for Success Pittsburgh, recently visited WBN’s Pittsburgh City East Chapter and shared some insights into the importance of the organization’s mission. With a purpose of empowering women to achieve economic independence, Dress for Success Pittsburgh goes beyond simply outfitting its clients, and instead takes a “whole person” approach to its work.

It’s true that many of the women walking through the doors of Dress for Success Pittsburgh have a lot riding on finding the perfect outfit. The pressure to make the right clothing choice for an interview, career fair, or court appearance is very real. That’s why Dress for Success Pittsburgh works so hard to create a welcoming, safer space and one in which every woman who visits gets what she needs; a boutique setting complete with trained personal shoppers establishes an environment that bolsters confidence.

As central as the clothing may be—every client receives one to three outfits, personal care, accessories, and shoes ranging from heels to steel-toed boots (and hard hats, too!)—the whole person approach ensures that other resources remain front and center. Nurturing confidence is a critical component, so it’s no wonder Mims says that anyone identifying as a woman who visits the boutique is to be “treated like the queen that she is.” Self-reliance is key when many clients are running households and economic independence can be life-changing.

Access to resources is a central focus as well. Dress for Success Pittsburgh partners with Accenture to offer virtual resume review and other services to help women prepare for interviews. The organization also helps women to connect with additional local resources offered by its many partners to address common obstacles like childcare and transportation.

Supporting the Mission of Dress for Success Pittsburgh

Dress for Success Pittsburgh is a volunteer-supported nonprofit organization. Clients are generally referred to Dress for Success Pittsburgh by other non-profit organizations, and volunteers assist in processing donations, styling the boutique, client assistance (the personal shoppers mentioned earlier), and administrative tasks.

So how can you help Dress for Success Pittsburgh? Our chapter recently completed a purse and portfolio drive, filling many of the bags with toiletry items one might take on an interview. Your chapter can do the same, now or in future years. Or you can help in any of the following ways:

  • Volunteer (on a regular basis or for special events)
  • Donate clothes or lead a donation drive—perhaps undertake a drive for items that are not typically donated: steel-toed boots, personal care items, shoes and purses.
  • Make a financial donation. Checks can be made payable to Dress for Success Pittsburgh.
  • Attend the annual “Fill a Bag” sale each June and December.
  • Attend “Women Rock Pittsburgh,” the organization’s Pittsburgh-themed signature event, on Oct. 5.

However you choose to help, know that in Liz Mims’ words: “We are just women supporting other women,” and know too that you’ll be contributing to an organization that goes far beyond providing clothing for sisters in need.

Amy Camp of Cycle Forward is an Associate Certified Coach who uses her coaching skills to elevate group discussions and experiences. She offers nature-based retreats and workshops, attended primarily by professional women.