By Angela Davis

ST. PAUL, Minn.  (WCCO) — If you’ve ever been through a job interview, you know how crucial first impressions are. And a lot of that has to do with what you are wearing.

We want to show you what a Twin Cities program is doing to make sure women with limited financial means have what they need to feel confident. It looks like a boutique or maybe a consignment shop, but there’s one thing missing: price tags.

All these clothes are free. This is “Dress for Success” in St. Paul, a place where women in financial need can get a competitive edge when it comes to getting a job.

“We have what we call an interview appointment. A woman gets a head-to-toe outfit to help prepare for her interview. If she gets a job, she can come back and get a week’s worth of clothing,” said Jeri Quest with Dress for Success. “We don’t want her paying any money on new clothes to start her job. That’s what all these beautiful clothes are for.”

The women who shop here are referred by agencies that help the economically disadvantaged. “Dress for Success” is a national program. The Twin Cities office just opened three years ago. Quest is the founder.

“So some people might wonder what’s the big deal? Why the emphasis on clothes? We all know especially as women that if you dress professionally, feel good in what you are wearing, then you know you are going to make a better impression when you are meeting with whoever you have to meet with,” Quest said.

Quest says they really need volunteers to help sort all the clothes and to personally work with the clients.

“We have that interview appointment I mentioned, we have those volunteers paired with a client and we call them an image coach,” Quest said. “You spend an hour and a half, two hours, working with a client helping her find the right outfit that fits her personality, her body size and shape, and the type of work she is looking for.”

Sometimes the clothing donations are too casual. They try to focus on office attire. The women of WCCO-TV donated about 15 suits. We also found out they are really in need of handbags and plus size business clothes.

Quest also said “Dress for Success” is not just about clothes. They offer coaching to help women with their job interview skills. They have their annual fundraiser coming up on April  26


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