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The Style File

Dress for Success London

July 2012 Issue 3

THE STYLE FILE july 2012 issue 3

Letter from the chair I’d like to dedicate this Style File to our fabulous team of volunteers. In May you dressed 159 clients, 84 of whom went on to get a job. This is our highest monthly dressing figure ever and due to the combined efforts of stockroom, admin, dressing and interview volunteers. You all work with pride, dedication and effectiveness. Show me another charity that gets one out of two of the women they see into a job, after an hour and a half confidence building session! In February, Samantha Cameron hosted a party at Downing Street for us. This had a very special impact as she herself has been an interview volunteer at Dress for Success London and therefore knows our charity as an insider. It was a fantastic party: we made valuable new friends and were able to thank those who have helped us along the way as well. Thank you to Whistles (a new Downing Street friend), Evans, Jane Shilton and Calvin Klein who, amongst others, have recently donated new clothes, bags and underwear to us. We and our clients are so grateful. Our partnership with the team at Style Magazine has also made a big difference to the profile of Dress for Success London over the past nine months and they are planning another glamorous sale for us in the autumn. It was such a great event last year, brilliant bargains AND champagne (what more could a girl ask for?) We will be sure to let you know when the tickets go on sale. Have a wonderful summer. Here’s hoping for a bit more sun!

Juliet Hughes-Hallett

Photos L to R:

1. Dress for Success London client Emma Cleverdon with Juliet and Samantha Cameron at Downing Street. 2. Dress for Success London patron Betty Jackson talks to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith 3. Samantha Cameron chats to Dress for Success London clients

Thanks to: Charlotte Clarke, The Style File Editor and Caroline Taylor, The Style File Art Director. ©All content in The Style File is copyright of Dress for Success London. Please do not reproduce or copy any content without prior written permission.


THE STYLE FILE july 2012 issue 3

Notes from a dressing room...

Caroline’s story

Caroline came to Dress for Success London in February 2012, having been out of paid work for more than seven years due to mental health problems. This is how Caroline described the support she received at Dress for Success London: “My first meeting at Dress for Success was a surprise and a joy. A surprise in that I hadn’t realised I would be afforded such skilled help and direction, choice of outfits and accessories and genuine encouragement. The surprise was increased afterwards when a woman experienced in recruitment spent time with me looking over the job description, person specification and my CV. I came out to reception feeling truly nurtured and confident. That, and the fact that I knew I looked fantastic in what I’d be wearing to the forthcoming interviews, created the joy.” “Years of voluntary work had been rewarding but they hadn’t built my confidence in the way this visit had. I’ve been bowled over by Dress for Success. I’m deeply indebted and profoundly grateful to the women who make up this company. “ Shortly after her visit to Dress for Success, Caroline was offered a job as a building and administration assistant with the charity Clean Break.

Topshop, £40

Top Ten Summer Fashion Tips by Kate Nightingale, style psychologist •Wear colour – candy pastels are especially in season and they will show your softer nature and female approach at work •Adopt neutrals – these are best if you want to appear strong and decisive and still stay fairly cool •Walk in platforms – they are a more summery version of work shoes •Mix prints – to show a fun part of your nature mix floral with geometric or animal prints •Shimmer – if you need to attend any out of hours work events, shimmer neutrals will keep

you looking professional •Wear leather – leather is especially good for creative roles; it will show that you’re independent and decisive but also original •Layer up – this is great for the lovely English weather; a professional look that will keep you warm •Embrace the 1920’s – this style represents elegance, playfulness and poise – all that a true business woman needs •Choose peplum – this is especially good for roles where being a woman is an advantage •Replace black with white – white is the professional colour of the summer; hide your black and dark suits deep in the closet and replace it with white and other neutral shades


THE STYLE FILE july 2012 issue 3

Transitions programme update by Pauline Murphy /Transitions Programme Manager


e recently relaunched our mentoring programme under a new name: the Professional Friend programme. It has been a great success and we now have some wonderful mentors on board. New training days will be coming up to train more Professional Friends. The feedback we are getting from the mentees is very inspiring and shows this is a programme that is very worthwhile. All our other programmes, including the Professional Development Day, Breakfast Club and Professional Women’s Group are running well. We also launched the Open House Session which runs on a Monday afternoon. This enables women to drop in and get help with their job search, CVs and application forms in a friendly and supportive environment and gives our clients the opportunity to talk to other women who are going through the same experience. Further exciting news - we will be taking one of the women from the Professional Women’s

Case Study Lucy joined the Dress for Success London Professional Friend programme in October 2011, after having been in and out of work temping. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect, having never really had a mentor before,” she says in an interview with The Style File. She felt she did already know the basics for job searching so couldn’t see what more she


Group to the annual Dress for Success Worldwide Success Summit in Minneapolis USA in July. This will be the first time that a UK delegate will attend the Success Summit. Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who are involved in the Transitions Programme. Your help and support is invaluable to the clients and to Dress for Success London.

Pauline with clients and volunteers at a Computer Futures Professional Development Day in April

could learn. However, she was pleasantly surprised. Meeting every ten days for 90 minutes, Lucy’s mentor, Marjon, made her realise she could turn her passion for IT into a career. The meetings would also motivate her to get a letter written or find a certain number of jobs to apply for. “My relationship with my mentor was so fantastic and supportive” says Lucy, “the feedback I got from Marjon was incredibly useful.”

Marjon equally enjoyed the experience. “Lucy had all the qualities she needed (for a job) already; she just needed the support and encouragement,” she says. “The biggest reward was seeing her ready to continue without me.” Lucy now has a job working in admin for the Alzheimer’s Society and is starting to do IT programming for organisations in her spare time. The two women are still in touch via email.

Y.E.S! London Update


july 2012 issue 3

Hi everyone!

For our second year so far, we have been focusing on shoes and handbags after hearing of the shortage in the Dress for Success London wardrobe and we’re extremely pleased with the results so far. Shoe expert, The Shoe Consultant gave our members a personal tour of Covent Garden boutiques, who in turn donated a pair of shoes each. And LoungeLover Cocktail Bar invited us back to host an accessories drive, headlined by Decstyle Jewellery. The big question: which accessories boost your confidence? We also hosted another stall at the WOW Festival for International Women’s Day and have been increasing our membership base and leadership team - who have all been working hard towards our £10,000 target, which is currently at just over the £3,106.75. Finally, we would like give a big thanks to one of our members in particular, Emily Heap, who successfully organised two fundraising events at her workplace, Computer Futures, last month – despite her hectic schedule. Please do contact us if you would like to get involved, our next event will be in September when we plan to have guest speakers giving advice on how to climb the career ladder!

Candice & Charlotte xxx

Y.E.S! London Co-Founders

Promoting awareness & raising funds

Sunday Times partn


Do you read the Su nday Times Style Magazine? Style has been a big supporter of Dress fo r Success London since 2011. Keep yo ur eyes open for news about the ne xt Style shopping event for Dress fo r Success London which is due to take place at a fabulous central London loca tion in the autumn. “The partnership wi th fantastic for our profi Style has been le – bringing in lots of new supporters as well as companies that want to get involved through workshops and suit drives. So many people read Style Magazine - the response has been amazing.” ~ Delyth Evans, Exec utive Director www.dressforsucces Times_Style_April_20 12


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sale rity of the me la u p o p with the who ca delighted mber of people orting the re e w e W p nu and the argains while sup ale so far, this year s b l t fu a s s re p g 0. ucce to pick u is was our most s nd total of £17,00 h ra T g . charity raising a

Government Work Progr


Dress for Success London is now working with all the lead Work Programm e providers in London, as well as over 100 other charities and referral agencies. Well done to CDG, A4e and Ingeus (in that order) for being our top three referral partners in May.

THE STYLE FILE july 2012 issue 3

Tweeting for Success At Dress for Success London we love keeping in touch with our supporters on Twitter. Louise Tilley explains what it’s all about.


p until a year ago I didn’t use Twitter. I didn’t know what it was about, I didn’t know what a ‘tweet’ was and I certainly didn’t understand what all the hype was for. I refused to be sucked in by yet another social media channel. BUT when I researched a company I was writing for and came across their Twitter profile, they had mentioned me in a tweet. So that was it. I saw potential, signed myself up and have been part of the Twitterati ever since and what is more – it is proving useful!


Here are a few things to look out for if you too decide to jump on the Twitter wagon:

-You can post website addresses in tweets, just make sure that you include the entire address. Twitter will then automatically shorten it for you. -You can include photos and videos in your tweets. -If you are a whizz with computers you can add a ‘tweet feed’ to your blog or website that will update in real-time showing your activity. -Don’t get sidetracked with how many followers you have. It’s all about the information out there. -Have a look at who your favourite users are following, chances are there will be a few more people that interest you.



Twitter is a real-time information network connected to the internet. The heart of Twitter revolves around ‘tweets’: little pieces of information restricted to 140 characters posted by Twitter users. You can follow users and receive a feed of what they are tweeting 24 hours a day.


Twitter isn’t for everyone, but some people will love it. It is worth having a nose to see if you do or don’t! You can create a brief profile with a picture so people know who you are. -You don’t have to create a Twitter profile to view people’s tweets, You can always navigate to a user’s Twitter page via a search engine like Google. -You don’t have to tweet if you don’t want to; you can just follow people and absorb all the information. -Millions of companies use Twitter to interact with their customers as it is a really quick way of handling queries, compliments and complaints. -You can use it as a professional profile with links to your website, Flickr images, YouTube videos etc to gain more brand awareness. -LOTS of jobs, competitions, discounts and free events are advertised every day on Twitter, so you never know what you will find or whom you will network with.


-Twitter is not private unless you direct message someone (DM) and even then, Twitter-shortened links in your messages can be viewed by all, they are neither private nor public. So be careful what you share with the world…no phone numbers or addresses! -You can always delete a tweet if it’s sent accidentally; it will be removed from Twitter -You can block a user if you receive spam, they will no longer be able to contact you and Twitter will be notified if you also report a spam incident -People can see whom you follow and who follows you. “Having joined the Twitter world only three months ago, the amount of support has been astounding. With the help of our patron Jennifer Saunders, we’re now just over 700 followers. Twitter has been fantastic for us because it means people can keep up to date with information from Dress for Success London as it happens - whether it’s tweeting about an event, some great client feedback or a request for help!” - Louise Mann, Office Manager Follow Dress for Success London on Twitter for all the latest news and goings-on at our busy office @dress4successUK

To create a Twitter account, go to: Follow Louise Tilley @louisetilley

THE STYLE FILE july 2012 issue 3

Meet the Board Sherri Snelson Occupation: Solicitor and partner at O’Melveny & Myers, specialising in corporate finance. What made you join the Board of Dress for Success? I wanted an opportunity to apply the skills I have acquired as a lawyer in an enterprise that has a direct, tangible impact on the lives of vulnerable women. I believe strongly in the concept of “a hand up...not a handout.” Every woman deserves the opportunity to make the most of her abilities and Dress for Success does a wonderful job of helping disadvantaged women believe in themselves and take the first steps toward economic independence. What skills do you bring to the Board? I have a broad understanding of business and finance in addition to my general legal knowledge. This enables me to help ensure that Dress for Success operates in a financially and legally responsible manner. I also have a wide range of friends and colleagues working in the City. As these organisations and their employees are amongst Dress for Success’ key supporters, this enables me to spread the word about the amazing things Dress for Success is doing and to tap into critical sources of advice and assistance. What do you do in your spare time? Cycle, run, kick box, travel, read and cook (hence the need for the first three).

What do you enjoy most about being a trustee? I enjoy the camaraderie of working with my fellow trustees and the volunteers and staff, but nothing can beat hearing the stories of Dress for Success clients who came to us with little expectation and now are living lives that exceed anything they would dared to hope for. Where do you buy your clothes? Escada, Armani and Max Mara for work and Gap or J. Crew for everything else. Do you have a favourite clothes designer? Maria Grachvogel Favourite book? I love to read but the list of my favourite books would probably be a book in and of itself. If you could take five things with you to a desert island, what would they be? Being a committed city-dweller, I would quickly go nuts without plenty of activity and entertainment, so I’d have to say my boyfriend (the best company I know), our cats (sources of endless amusement), my iPad (with one of those eternal solar charger things), plenty of good food and wine, and a solar-powered refrigerator to keep it perfectly chilled.

Dress for Success London Board of Trustees

Juliet Hughes-Hallett Chair of Trustees Joanna Hunter Treasurer Sherri Snelson Company Secretary Maggie Darling Trustee Donna Millar Trustee Lexie Sims Trustee Caroline Hamblett Trustee


THE STYLE FILE july 2012 issue 3


Verity Hosken speaks to Helen Kydd who assists our clients with interview techniques

, City la

ydd Helen K

How long have you been volunteering at Dress For Success London? Around 18 months - I work in the City and I’d heard about the suit drives. I’d been looking for a regular volunteering opportunity so I got in touch. I don’t have anything to do with the dressings at all, I help clients prepare for their interviews. That could mean anything from a full-on mock interview with feedback, if the client’s up for it, to more of a chat about what to expect. If you had to pick one, what’s the main interview ‘tip’ you try to impart to the clients? To be prepared: make sure you know about the jobs you’re going for and prepare the narrative of what you’ve done in your life. Many women say at the start that they’ve “never done anything,” because they’ve never done a “proper” job, but when you begin talking to them it turns out that many of them have done quite extraordinary things and they actually have great transferable skills. What’s your day job? By profession, I am a lawyer. I used to be a partner in a City law firm but now have

my own business. I work as an executive coach, mainly with lawyers. My working life complements the interview volunteering as much of my professional work is about building confidence and helping people manage their careers. As a volunteer, I wanted to find an organisation where I could use the skills and experience I already have and make a difference. What do you like to wear to work? I’m the lady in black. On the whole I wear very, very simple and tailored black clothes. I’ve got four children so my aim is to be up and out with minimum fuss. I go for clothes that are well-cut, simple…and black. It isn’t always as boring as it sounds! What’s it like volunteering? It’s rewarding and fun. It is great to work in a professional organisation that is friendly, well-run and centred around the needs of the clients. From the moment women walk into DFSL, they are treated with professional courtesy and as an individual. Women leave walking tall, usually optimistic and better prepared for their interview and with a better chance of securing the job they are seeking.

Help us by organising a suit drive at your office


We need a steady supply of high quality work clothes, shoes and handbags to give our clients the best possible selection of outfits to wear to their job interview. Please donate your unwanted workwear or organise a suit drive amongst your colleagues at the office. You can find a step by step guide on our website along with a poster you can download. If you have any larger size clothes to donate, we especially need your clothes!

THE STYLE FILE july 2012 issue 3

Dress for Success Abroad Dublin Dress for Success Dublin opened its doors in January 2012 and has been warmly welcomed by the corporate community. So far, the charity has focused on hosting suit drives, which are held at staff and client events to generate funding, recruit volunteers and promote awareness. In order to create a fun evening full of tips and canapés, a team of experts is often put together, including the charity’s CEO, stylist Sonya Lennon, a make-up artist from Bobbi Brown and a personal shopper

from Arnotts, the charity’s retail partner. They offer on the spot makeovers and top style advice to suit your personal lifestyle. The total funds raised this year by Dress for Success Dublin through suit drive events is €16,000. They are also very proud of the event they hosted with the consultancy group, Deloitte Dublin in March, to celebrate International Women’s Day. Deloitte invited 100 staff to a lunchtime reception and then 90 key corporate clients attended an evening session. It is the jewel of the crown of their work to date.

McArthurGlen Workwear Campaign Dress for Success London is joining forces with McArthurGlen Designer Outlet on a Workwear campaign this month. The campaign will take place at the outlet’s UK centres in Ashford, Cheshire Oaks, South Normanton, Swindon, Bridgend and Fulford near York and will include pop up panels of experts to help local women with advice on clothes and what to wear to work. Shoppers will also be treated to flash sales and exclusive discounts.



Handbags are a girls best friend


july 2012 issue 3

Helen Ruff writes about the history of the handbag and her appreciation for its constant presence


lutch, tote, satchel, quilted, fabric, or feathered. Whatever your handbag of choice, it is an accessory that few ladies can live without. But, when did the humble handbag become a must-have accessory? The answer is simple: ever since people have had something important to carry!

‘handbag’ was adopted and all manner of these popular accessories emerged. Even the outbreak of World Wars I and II did little to stem their popularity. Though new designs were curbed due to the lack of material available, women took to making their own bags out of scraps or started to re-use old ones.

I might need for the day ahead: makeup, my diary, a notebook, a pencil case, tissues, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour cream, sunglasses, keys, my mobile, my memory stick, a deodorant, a bottle of perfume and my Kindle. On my way back home, being a teacher, I even manage to stuff 10 children’s maths books into the mix!

There are Egyptian hieroglyphics, for example, that depict men and women with pouches made of leaves and animal hides. And in the C14th, handbags existed as pockets. Fastened to a girdle around the waist, they were considered a status symbol: the more intricately embroidered and bejewelled the pocket, the wealthier the person.

Post-war, new handbags were back with a vengeance and styles continued to develop according to the popular culture of the times: the colourful box and basket bags of the 1950s, the hippy beaded cloth bags of the 1960s, embossed leather and flashy glam glitter in the 1970s, and the iconic pattered holdalls of the 1980s and 90s.

In the C16th, handbags evolved to take on an air of practicality. Readily available materials such as leather and cloth were increasingly utilised and the bags were bigger and carried diagonally across the body, underneath clothing. In the C17th, handbags were back on show with garments becoming more closely fitting. Ladies started to use different styles according to the colour, material and style of their clothing. And so the evolution continued. By the C19th, the word

Today, handbags range from the inexpensive to the exorbitant and come in all colours, shapes and sizes. They are now status symbols and fashion statements but most importantly, like those created centuries ago, they remain incredibly useful. Mary Poppins famously pulled a lampshade, mirror, tape measure and coat rack out of her bag but let me tell you, she still has nothing on me. When I step outside each morning, on my way to work, my big black bag houses everything

And the beautiful thing about my bag is that when I finally, after much struggling, manage to zip it up, the absolute chaos inside is hidden behind a rather fashionable and respectable looking black leather facade which happens to go with every outfit I own. The look of the bag and the fact that I could potentially save the world with its contents, gives me great confidence. Forget diamonds, handbags are a girl’s best friend and may they stay with us for evermore!


• Avoid flashy rhinestones & ornaments • Opt for bags with simple, tailored lines & solid colours • Black, white, navy & brown handbags are always extremely versatile • Large leather briefcases work well for travelling between meetings

The Style File - Issue 3  

Magazine for Dress for Success London charity

The Style File - Issue 3  

Magazine for Dress for Success London charity