First Sunday Club for February 2011: Dress For Success

Cue the smoke machine and the wind chimes sound effect; we’re about to go back in time. Back to 1995.  Toy Story was the movie everyone was talking about.  Microsoft launched Windows 95 (go figure).  Paul Keating was Prime Minister.  And I experienced the most nerve-wracking job interview of my life. I’d applied to be a publicist for Channel Nine in Sydney. I was stupidly underqualified for the job and yet like all good twenty-one year olds had the bravado of Justin Bieber. Well, Justin Bieber with a perm.  Somehow my youthful enthusiasm snagged me an interview and I was told the station would fly me down to Sydney for the day to meet the National Publicity Director. Suddenly my confidence evaporated faster than you can say, “My best outfit is from Splendiferous”.  I immediately went out and spent all my money on a ridiculously ugly leather briefcase. I thought it made me look like Amanda from Melrose Place. Because that’s how you want to look in a job interview, obviously.  Like the morally questionable vixen who runs D & D Advertising.

Why am I telling you all this? Probably because I think it demonstrates the role that clothes play in our self-confidence. Particularly when it comes to job interviews.

Recently I found out about a not-for-profit Brisbane organisation called Dress For Success.  They provide a free, specialised dressing, grooming and interview skills program for long-term unemployed women. The Dress for Success mission is 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 life.

“Having the right clothes makes a huge difference for our clients,” says Executive Director Lana Gishkariany.  “Some women have never worked before, they’ve never owned work clothes. So they arrive nervous with low self-esteem. Through our one-on-one service, our boutique volunteers make them feel welcome while treating them with respect and dignity. When we get a complete outfit together for our clients, their confidence and self esteem is instantly transformed.”

It’s the first Sunday in February so for this month’s First Sunday Club I’m hoping you’ll go through your wardrobe to see if you have any work clothes you can donate. If we’ve learnt anything from the recent flood crisis in Queensland, it’s that the smallest acts of kindness can make an enormous difference.

Dress For Success welcomes all good quality secondhand work clothing including work-appropriate shoes, handbags and unused lipsticks for women of all ages. If you’re one of the thousands of women who lost everything in the floods, Dress For Success are currently offering a free work outfit for flood-affected women. And if you have spare time on your hands, Dress For Success is always looking for mentors for their clients who have just returned to (or started in) the workforce

For more information call 07 3216 1969 or go to to make an appointment.














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About Bec

Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.

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