Dress for Success Cincinnati Helps Women Build Careers

Photo by Chelsie Walter

Photo by Chelsie Walter

Re-entering the workforce requires a resume, interview skills and professional attire. But how can someone afford a suit without a job? And where can people obtain job readiness skills?

Dress for Success Cincinnati can help.

Since 1999, the organization has been empowering women returning to the workforce. Its mission is to help these women achieve economic independence by providing a support network, professional attire and career development tools.

The journey begins with a suit.

Photo by Chelsie Walter

Photo by Chelsie Walter

Walking into the Dress for Success Cincinnati suiting room, a woman will notice more than 15 racks of suits, shirts, shoes, jewelry, bags, coats and undergarments. One can sort through the items, working with a suiting services volunteer to find fitting clothes that present a professional image.

Esther Wing, a former Dress for Success Cincinnati client, was suited for the first time in 2007. Working with the suiting volunteer made Wing feel great about herself. She remembers walking out of the fitting room and seeing the volunteer’s face light up with a smile. Wing hadn’t felt support from a stranger like that before.

“But it’s more than the suit,” Wing said. She thanks Dress for Success for helping her achieve employment and providing her with a network of support.

Wing also participates in the Professional Women’s Group. The group meets once a month on Saturdays and discusses topics like work-life balance, financial literacy, health and wellness and how to get a promotion.

In 2014, Wing became an ambassador for Dress for Success Cincinnati and began taking classes through the Professional Women’s Group. Through her involvement, she created her own personal mission statement: “manifest hope.”

She now works for the Hamilton County Office of Re-Entry. Wing said she remembers a time when she felt hopeless, but she now appreciates those experiences that have shaped her.

“In a case like mine, [life experiences] are what makes you different and sets you apart from everyone else,” she said. “The things that held you back are going to be the reasons people seek you out in the future.”

To become involved with Dress for Success Cincinnati, women must be referred by a partner referral agency. Some partner agencies include Cincinnati Works and First Step Home.

For both men and women looking for similar services, contact the Freestore Foodbank’s Back on Track program.  

Dress for Success Cincinnati: (513) 651-3372

Hamilton County Office of Re-Entry: (513) 946-4304

Back on Track: (513) 357-4822

Photo by Chelsie Walter

Photo by Chelsie Walter