Until a few weeks ago, I was unaware of such a unique and wonderful organization right here in the backyard of Orlando (as well as all over the globe!).
Dress For Success is an international not-for-profit organization designed to help women achieve economic independence by helping clients to find jobs and remain employed. Every client receives one suit when she has a job interview, then has the option to return it for a second suit or separate outfit down the road.
The mission of Dress for Success is to “promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life,” Dress for Success.
Since 1997, DFS has served more than 650,000 women around the world, and built more than 110 Dress for Success affiliates across ten countries. More than 30,000 women have received career coaching, mentoring and professional development support. On top of providing business attire, the organization provides personal shoppers, career coaches, speakers and heads fundraising events.
Wednesday night, I dressed for success in a little red number and pearls, excited to see what it is all about!
Dress for Success Stiletto Strut
I got an email a few weeks ago from a sweet woman named Renita, who was the Fundraising Chair for the the upcoming Stiletto Strut, held by Dress for Success Greater Orlando.
After researching the organization, I knew this was the kind of event for me! Not only is their foundation wonderful and inspiring, but their event gives a chance to any woman in heels to strut their stuff down the runway for charity.
Honored to be judging the main event, I showed up right before 6:30 p.m. to a favorite spot of any girl wandering into a mall: the Ladies Shoe Department at Bloomingdale’s.
When entering the store, I knew exactly where to find Retina and her crew setting up the show. They had a DJ set up directly across from the Little Black Dress Vodka table. LBD Vodka is a partner of Dress for Success, and sponsor an annual auction with the organization.
From advertising, to packaging, to finance, the entire LBD Vodka staff is one hundred percent female. Sassy little brand isn’t it?
I had just a sip of each flavored vodka, and I have to say these ladies are on to something! The flavors are refreshing and are light enough to enjoy alongside something as simple as water with a twist.
After checking in, I had a good forty-five minutes to mingle around the store before the strut down the runway started.
No matter where I went, I kept ending up back at the Winter Boot Collection. You know I am keeping my eyes peeled for any kind of winter wear deal these days, with our big move coming up in just a few short weeks!
I found a few good options, but was not ready to settle into a pair… although these Tory Burch boots were incredibly tempting.
Tempting, and about four hundred dollars over my boot budget. 😉
A percentage of proceeds from shoe sales went straight to DFS, so I was happy to see customers in the store, ready to buy.
While wandering around the store, I ran into a familiar dress, which later turned into a familiar face!
Not only was Michelle wearing the same exact dress as I was – which, by the way is a throw back from Express four years ago (crazy!) – I later made the connection that we actually went to elementary school together.
Small world right?
After talking with her for a while, I recalled knowing her brother who is my age, to the day. Dating back all the way to kindergarten, I remembered he and I share the same birthday, and that their mother brought in cupcakes for the class to share. I would be lying if I denied that part of me pretended they were for me too… 😉
Oh, the memories we keep way back there sometimes. Hysterical.
Strutting Their Stuff
A little after 7 p.m., the stage was set and the judges chairs were ready, armed with three ways to judge a walk:
Walk = Good
Stroll = Great
Strut = Sassy!
Everyone did a great job, but these two really worked it. Three cheers for our “get it girl” strutters!
I had a great time getting to play judge for the night, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about DFS. I could tell they all have hearts of gold, and a passion about what they do. Focusing on fashion is a perfect way for the organization to reach out to women who can really help other women in need, and I am hoping to connect more with DFS when we move up north.
Dressing for Success is more than just what women wear on the outside. The brand focuses on changing and empowering women’s lives to feel good from the inside out.
I loved meeting the lovely ladies represinting The Orlando Fashion Society, including our lead strutter on the right, Amy.
It was a great night for a great cause.
You go girls!