Emotionally, mentally and spiritually I am still recovering from my weekend… And it’s Wednesday. So much has happened on the weekend, both around me and inside me. So much, in fact, that it’ll have to be broken down into several posts. Before going into it all though, I wanted to tell you all about one amazing charity I have discovered called Dress for Success. For those of you who aren’t aware, on Saturday I gave a talk at a TEDx event. It was an honor to be chosen to speak, and a huge responsibility. This event was going to be my first big step into my new career, and the opportunity to network and display my talent to the world. The aim of my talk was to give a voice to our youth, and to encourage society to start taking our young people seriously. So to get up on that round, red dot and voice my opinions, I wanted to make sure I was really being heard and taken seriously myself.
According to image consultant, Shelley Davis Mielock, 55% of the first 7 – 17 seconds of first impressions are based on what you wear!
I wanted to leave the audience with a positive impact. I wanted to come across as professional and poised. Most of all, I wanted to look and feel confident. That’s when I looked into Dress for Success for an answer, and after a referral I was accepted to come into their office to be dressed by one of their stylists.
On Friday morning my friend Tia and I traveled into the city to the Dress for Success headquarters, where I was met by a lovely woman who asked me a few questions about my talk and the sorts of things I’d be sharing. Getting to know me and my interests helped her to visualize the perfect outfit for me, and soon I was trying on shoes and blazers and cramming a tonne of coat – hangers onto the hooks in my changing room.
I tried on about six different combinations of clothing, but it didn’t take long for us to find the ideal match. With Tia’s great fashion – sense and the stylist’s expertise combined, we managed to totally transform my look.
I’d shuffled into that building in baggy mum jeans, a hoodie and sneakers, lugging around a bulky nappy bag, a little nervous and not knowing what to expect. However, the lovely stylist and staff around us made me feel so welcome and comfortable, and the whole process of trying on outfits was actually really fun!
Once I had been dressed I stood beaming before the mirror with pride. I felt, and looked, amazing. Our final outfit choice was composed of a gorgeous pair of simple black heels, some youthful, but smart, black dress pants, a vibrant, silky orange shirt, a modern yellow pendant, a Banana Republic military – style grey blazer and a black Zambesi handbag. I was also given some make up to wear the next day.
I was amazed to discover that most of Dress for Success’ staff offer their time and skills completely voluntarily! They are all so friendly and understanding and from what I’d seen they treat each of their clients with so much care and respect; taking time to really get to know the people they are dealing with and helping them to make choices which not only make them look good, but feel great! It was an amazing feeling to witness all these women from different ethnic and social groups coming together for a life – changing experience and watching them leave with huge smiles on their faces. I can imagine the Dress For Success staff must have such rewarding jobs creating these smiling faces every day.
As for me, I felt a million dollars when I left their office with my new outfit. Up until this point I had been so nervous for my TED talk the next day, but all of a sudden I was filled with excitement and I couldn’t wait to try on my new clothes.
If ever you are thinking of donating to a deserving charity, (an excellent thing to do!) I would definitely recommend considering Dress for Success. It is not only a gift of new clothes that they give these women, but the gift of confidence, which is truly priceless. The beautiful service this charity offers our community is so generous and thoughtful and makes such a huge difference to the lives of many by helping people to reach employment, success and happiness.
I visited their Auckland branch in New Zealand, but right now Dress for Success are helping women all around the world!
If you would like to make a donation of clothes or money to Dress for Success, or if you would like to read more about this incredible organization, or even volunteer, click here to take a look at their website.