Dress for Success get new look, downtown location

Nonprofit provides clothing, job search assistance

Dress for Success has a new look and a fresh start, not unlike the thousands of disadvantaged women and men the nonprofit has helped.

After seven moves, Dress for Success officially opened its permanent home at 600 N. Frio, a renovated Post Office.

"I've had several clients start crying. They look at it and go, 'Wow, this is for us?'" said Pamela Taylor, co-founder and executive director.

Dress for Success San Antonio bought and relocated its operations with the help of $1 million pledge from Valero Energy Foundation.

Inside, the racks are packed full of ladies' and men's business attire, all donated by the community.

The clothing goes to help clients dress professionally and appropriately so they can make a good first impression at a job interview.

Lidia Coronado, a survivor of domestic violence, recalled the first black suit she chose to go to an interview for her first job.

"I was a housewife for 11 years. I was wearing blue jeans, shorts," she said. "They taught me how to dress and how to act in front of people."

She still has the black suit and purple blouse she picked out from the racks of clothing.

"We know that giving someone one suit is not going to fix the circumstances in their life that will allow them to be successful and stop the cycle of poverty, violence and homelessness," Taylor said.

The operation is set up so clients return for training on how to get a job and how to keep one. Once they are hired, they are allowed to choose up to five more outfits to wear to work.

"We are a workforce development agency," Taylor said, "and we are changing the lives of children by helping their parents become economically self-sufficient."

In providing clothing, Dress for Success aims to give something less tangible but more valuable: self-confidence.

"As soon as you change your clothes, your attitude changes," Coronado said. "You look in the mirror and, 'Hey, this is me. I can reach my goal. Why not?'"

To learn more, visit dressforsuccess.org/sanantonio


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