The power of 500 suits – and counting

News | April 16, 2015

Regina Haddock has fought some pretty tough battles in her life.

dress for success_thumbHer family had few resources growing up. But she saw her mom working, sometimes multiple jobs, to keep the family going.

She’s been divorced, twice. Regina found herself underemployed – knowing she had skills beyond the jobs she could find.

She started hearing more and more about an organization that helped women – women struggling with a variety of life challenges like she had faced – get fitted with professional clothing for interviews and then work.

And she couldn’t shake the idea that this was what she needed to do – start an affiliate in the Quad Cities.

Nearly 500 suits and four years later, it’s clear that Dress for Success Quad Cities is, well, a huge success.

“They can walk into their interview with head held high,” said Regina, who will speak next Thursday at the Women of the ELCA Spring Meeting, 6:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. “They are just going to do better if they are dressed up, they will stand out if they are dressed appropriately.”

Dress for Success Quad Cities works with a few dozen social service agencies in the Quad Cities, such as Family Resources, Humility of Mary Housing, and Lutheran Services in Iowa. Women are referred to the organization to be fitted for a suit when they land a job interview.

The woman visits the organization’s store in downtown Davenport, where they work with a volunteer to find exactly the right outfit and accessories. If she gets the job, she returns for a week’s worth of clothing for her new path.

Dress for Success also holds a professional women’s group once a month for clients to discuss a variety of work- and life-related subjects, and to get support from each other. For those who do not get the work they wanted, a career center offers support, too.

“We encourage them to grab the reigns of their life and take it where they want to go,” Regina said.

Volunteers and donations, especially clothing donations, make Dress for Success what it is today.

“It can be a pretty emotional experience to go through a fitting,” Regina said, “being treated with respect and value. Women come from a whole spectrum of ages and ethnicities. We’ve suited women with high levels of education, women escaping domestic violence. There’s all kinds of reasons why a woman will find herself in a place where she needs extra help.”

To register for the WELCA Spring Meeting, click here.

Learn more about Dress for Success Quad Cities.

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