Friday, July 19, 2013

IN Fashion Friday: The Best Clothes Money Can't Buy

Yesterday I visited one of my favorite boutiques in Indianapolis.  It's beautifully appointed; the walls are covered with gorgeous one-of-a kind artwork from local artists; it carries clothing brands I covet; and the staff is in the midst of unpacking a truckload of more than 1000 new pairs of shoes that was delivered last week!  I've spent more time at this boutique than at any other boutique in the city, but I've never purchased a single item.  In fact, the suits and shoes in this stylish shop aren't even for sale, but being there gives me something money can't buy.  

Part high end shopping experience, part art gallery, and all social services agency, I'm talking about the boutique at Dress for Success Indianapolis!  DFSI provides professional, interview appropriate clothing and ongoing career development services to low income women living in Indianapolis and the surrounding counties who are referred by over 90 partnering agencies, and its critical mission is "To promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life."  DFSI accomplishes its mission through multiple, successful programming initiatives that help women on their journey to financial independence.  

One of these programs, Suits for Success, provides women with the professional look and confidence needed to secure employment, as well as workforce apparel. Each woman who is referred to the boutique for a suiting appointment is assisted one-on-one by her own Personal Shopper. These highly trained volunteers spend time getting to know their clients and select the perfect ensemble appropriate for a job interview. Once employment is obtained, clients may return for additional clothing appropriate for their work environment.  I was a personal shopper for many years, and the experience benefited me at least as much as it benefited any of the clients with whom I worked.  I have been moved by their stories and inspired by their perseverance and success.  I am fortunate to call some of them life-long friends.    

The clothing, shoes, and accessories provided through the Suits for Success program are donated by corporate partners and individuals.  The truckload of 1000 pairs of black pumps I mentioned earlier came from the generous support of Designer Shoe Warehouse; the gorgeous St. John suit that elegantly outfits a mannequin came from the closet of a prominent local businesswoman.  Learn how you can donate here, and if you have the opportunity to visit the boutique, make sure you take time for a tour to appreciate all the unique artwork that adorns nearly every wall. Here'a a sneak peak at some of it: 
Art, clockwise from top left:  John Blauvelt, official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2009; April Willy, official artist of Stepping Out in Style 2013; Laura LaForge, official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2006, 2007; Mallory Marty, official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2012; Marianne Glick, Official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2008; Emma Overman, Official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2010.  See my prior post about DFSI's largest annual fundraiser, Stepping Out In Style, here.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

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