WASHINGTON – Erica Berry and her friend Annette Waters know the importance of “styling and profiling” at work.
“There is nothing like putting on a ‘bad' suit,dressed to the nine and walking into an interview,” Waters,40,said,meaning a sharp-looking suit. “You just feel more confident.”
During their lunch break Wednesday,the women transferred eight shopping bags full of blazers,slacks and trench coats from a BMW X5 to a FedEx van sitting at the corner of First and D streets SE,near the buildings where members of the House have their offices.
This is the third year FedEx has partnered with Dress for Success,said Janice Person,44,an administrative assistant to the managing director of FedEx. Dress for Success,which began in 2002,is a non-profit organization that outfits women for professional careers and offers mentoring programs to help them keep jobs.
Dress for Success's began accepting donations Monday for its “Send One Suit” week,which runs nationally through Saturday. The Dress Barn also accepts donation.
Program Director Melissa Fraizier,26,estimated that 2,000 D.C.-area women will benefit from this year's event. “We suit over 100 women a month,” she said,”women from all walks of life.”
The “Special Delivery” truck is one of seven nationwide. Its sole purpose is to reach out to the community,FedEx volunteer Janice Persons said. By noon,she and other volunteers had collected 250 items.
Volunteers boxed up clothes,including some from JonesNY,Banana Republic and Anne Klein,as people dropped off their things on their way to and from work.
It was Waters' idea to spread the word to their colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services,said Berry,36. She is a policy analyst and Waters is a statistician.
Beery said the effort empowers women to go into the workforce,or job interviews,with confidence “because they have the clothes they need to pull it off.”
Waters said that women entering the workforce should be comfortable enough to focus on the job instead of worrying about how people see them.
“It's important to impress not only people you're working for but people you're trying to represent,” said Berry,who used to practice at a D.C. law firm.
She said she remembers picking out the blue,black and grey suits that were conservative enough for the law firm,and how crucial the process is.
The Crest Cleaners chain also agreed to be a drop-off spot. Fraizier said Crest also cleans the clothing for free.
Fraizier said the women receive clothing based on need,but that “basically everyone gets one interview suit and pieces to mix and match.” Jewelry,scarves,umbrellas and purses are also handed out after women make appointments and come in for fittings.