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Dress for Success celebrates two years of suiting

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Dress for Success Quad Cities celebrated its second anniversary Friday evening, and leaders say the organization is still looking to expand its career services for women.

Dress for Success is a not-for-profit that provides professional attire for disadvantaged women. Clients are referred to the Dress for Success program, where they receive an interview suit, a mentor, and professional support network.

Client Sue Temple said the change of clothes brought her a change of fortune.

"Actually, the suit was magic, and I got two jobs that day," said Temple. "It gave me confidence, and it gave me the ability to not worry about how I was dressed."

Founder and Executive Director Regina Haddock called the anniversary "surreal." Haddock said the Quad City branch has already dressed 219 unique women for the workforce.

"You think, 'Boy, can't someone just pick out some clothes and go to an interview?' or, 'Does it really matter?' So often we think, 'We're so casual in our society today, you can just go in whatever, and it's okay.' But I hear from HR managers over and over that it really matters," said Haddock.

After a year-and-a-half in Davenport's Union Arcade building, Dress for Success moved to a bigger location on East 2nd Street this summer. The organization now has five times the space, and Haddock said they hope to open a career center in the future.

A career center would offer resume reviews, mock interviews, and job search help. Clients say the professional support they already receive is just as valuable as the clothes and accessories.

"There's some really accomplished women that are very supportive, and that was really reassuring," said Julie Mudgett.

Volunteers and clients agree, though, that a new outfit can also mean a new attitude.

"I've had ladies tell me, 'I feel like Jennifer Lopez because I have a personal shopper.' Because that's what we are, we're personal shoppers for them," said volunteer Patt Englander.

"I entered the job feeling like I belonged there," said Mudgett.

For more information on donating clothes or volunteering for Dress for Success Quad Cities, visit their website here.