What We Do
The mission of Dress for Success 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 in life.
Founded in New York City in 1997, Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization offering services designed to help our clients find jobs and remain employed. Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and can return for a second suit or separates when she finds work.
Since 1997, Dress for Success has served more than 550,000 women around the world. Each year we reach more than 50,000 women in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Mexico, Poland and the West Indies. All Dress for Success organizations are not-for-profit entities, with Dress for Success Worldwide and its U.S. affiliates having 501(c)(3) charitable status and those outside the U.S. operating as registered charities. Clothing donations and financial contributions made to Dress for Success affiliates within the U.S. are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Dress for Success serves clients by referral only, and women must have an interview scheduled before receiving clothing. Our clients come to us from a continually expanding and diverse group of non-profit and government agencies including homeless shelters, immigration services, job training programs, educational institutions and domestic violence shelters, among many other organizations. More than 3,000 organizations throughout the world send women to Dress for Success for professional apparel and career development services.
On her initial visit a woman receives a suit appropriate for the industry in which she is interviewing and, if available, accessories. After a woman finds a job she returns to Dress for Success for additional clothing that can be mixed and matched to make several outfits, providing her with the foundation for a professional wardrobe.
While we may be best known for providing suits to women, it is our employment retention programs that are the cornerstone of the organization. Soon after Dress for Success was founded we came to recognize that finding work is only one step in a woman's journey towards economic independence; remaining employed and building a rewarding career are essential if a woman is to become self-sufficient.
To meet the need for services that would help women both find and keep jobs, we established the Professional Women's Group (PWG) program, which offers women ongoing support as they successfully transition into the workforce, build thriving careers and prosper in the mainstream workplace. Once a woman joins the PWG she is a member for life, able to attend meetings at any affiliate throughout the world, and can benefit from additional employment retention and mentoring programs.
Dress for Success also has developed Career Center, an initiative that promotes confidence and professionalism by providing women career guidance, the chance to acquire technology skills and assistance in their job searches.
Another way in which Dress for Success supports women joining or returning to the workforce is through Steps to Success, an initiative that focuses on the crucial first 30 days of employment, during which newly-hired women face many potential challenges. Made possible by the generosity of the National Endowment for Financial Education, the Steps to Success: A Guide to Success in the Workplace publication helps women prepare for their new jobs, identifies barriers they might encounter during their first days, encourages them to plan for their futures and highlights resources that can assist them during this transition, including the Professional Women's Group.