Dress for Success Aids Women

The Bucks County Courier Times of Pennsylvania recently published a story about the Landmark Self Expression and Leadership Program of Vicki LaRosa, whichy  raised money for the Dress for Success Organization.

Helping women dress for success

by Kate Fratti

The hardest part of the work day, in my estimation, is getting dressed.

What to wear? What to wear?

And the thing is I’m under no pressure to be fashionable at work. The newsroom dress code is fairly liberal. The rule of thumb is that a print journalist ought to be dressed to cover either a fire or funeral. Mostly, I think editors are just relieved when some of us don’t wear our underwear on our heads or sport two different colored shoes.

Which reminds me that a guy in the office recently sidled up to my desk to show me that he had, in fact, gotten dressed too quickly and pulled on two different loafers. He thought it was hilarious, not job threatening.

Rumpled, even mismatched, is OK most days if you’re a columnist.

However, it is most definitely not OK if you are seeking to climb a corporate ladder.

Vicki LaRosa, at the ripe old age of 27, knows it all too well. Clothes matter.

A graduate of Penn State, she frequently travels on business. She consults with large companies about their operations. Most recently, she’s been consulting with American Greetings in Ohio.

Being taken seriously means looking sharp. And sharp can cost a bundle.

Vicki said she’s been blessed in her life. But it often has struck her how difficult it must be for women trying to transition into professional jobs out of poverty or bad marriages or any other situation that leaves them counting pennies.

Job hunting is a tough enough challenge. How do those women also fold in the challenge of dressing the part?

Enter a longstanding non-profit group called Dress For Success.

It’s the one Vicki chose when she was looking for a community outreach project. She’s enrolled in something called the Landmark Education Self Expression and Leadership Program. It teaches that part of leading is identifying challenges, then finding ways to transform them into opportunities for positive change

Vicki’s Bought into the notion

Dress for Success Philadelphia (www.dressforsuccess.org/philadelphia/), which serves women living in the Delaware Valley, is based at 1043 Spring Garden St. in Philadelphia. There are 90 affiliates all over the world, according to its Web site. With retail and corporate sponsors, Dress For Success is a volunteer-driven program that provides low-income women with free professional outfits for work – suits, separates, shoes and other accessories.

It’s not just about fashion. It’s about providing some very basic keys to a woman’s independence and self-sufficiency. Call 215-232-7292 for information.

Vicki is inviting you to keep the evening of May 1 open, from 7:30 to 11:30, so you can help the mission. That’s when she’ll host a Dress For Success benefit at Main Street Catering in Tullytown.

A $30 ticket will buy you dinner, beer and music by the band Johnny Pompadour. There will be raffles, a 50/50 and a silent auction. One of the big items will be tickets for the Phillies versus the Mets on July 5. Think fireworks.

If you can’t make it to the benefit in Tullytown, Vicki invites you to drop off new and gently used contemporary women’s business clothing to the Beer-A-Rama at 200 Levittown Parkway in Tullytown. The store is owned by her dad, Frank LaRosa.

If you could wear it to a professional job interview, Vicki is happy to have it for Dress for Success. Drop-off days at Beer-A-Rama are April 20 to April 30 during business hours, Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

I’m telling you about the benefit this early because Vicki hopes other business owners will come forward to donate raffle items. If you cater to women, what better way to get the word out about your place? You can reach Vicki at 267-994-0031.

Here’s to hoping that helping will always be fashionable.

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