A service offering free corporate clothing to female job hunters started in New Plymouth last week.
Dress For Success, operating under the Taranaki Employment Support Foundation, was a global nonprofit organisation providing professional clothing to women preparing for job interviews.
Each Dress For Success client received one complete outfit when she had a job interview and could return for a second suit or separates after landing a job.
Women were allowed to keep any clothing they were given.
Last week Dress For Success New Plymouth received a $27,000 kick-start grant from the TSB Community Trust.
Dress For Success programme co-ordinator Marie Eagle said the grant from the TSB Community Trust would go towards rent, set- up costs, marketing and stationery.
The service officially started operating out of the King St building in Devon St West on Friday, she said.
Dressing well for a job interview did wonders for self-esteem, Ms Eagle said.
"The more professional you can present yourself the more you're going to be taken seriously."
Women were also given access to makeup, jewellery, shoes, bags and accessories.
"Basically when they come in here they get pampered."
Most of the clothing was secondhand or donated by individuals and businesses but sponsors provided some items, she said.
"To date we have not had to go out and buy any clothing at all."
New handbags and shoes worth more than $200 had been donated by Ziera Shoes.
Dress For Success clients were referred by employment agencies such as Work and Income New Zealand.
So far two women had been through, one of whom ended up getting a job she was being interviewed for.
"She looked good, felt good, walked away happy and got the job," Ms Eagle said.
Founded in New York City in 1997, Dress For Success now had seven offices in New Zealand and four in Australia.
Within a year Ms Eagle hoped to have the same service set up for men.
"Men definitely need clothing if not more than women."
The service was available to women of any age and skill level, she said.
TSB Community Trust manager Maria Ramsay said the trust was particularly impressed with the comprehensive support Dress for Success offered.
"Not only will they be provided with appropriate clothing for their interview, they will also be coached in interview skills and continue to receive ongoing support once they have secured employment," Ms Ramsay said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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