Dress for Success


By Annie Sykes

It’s a fact of life that we need to have the right clothes to suit the occasion. For example, job interviews. Some people don’t think it matters, but it usually does matter to the people you’re trying to impress. The problem is, it can be expensive when you are on a pension or even NewStart.

Knowing my financial circumstances that’s why my mental health team introduced me to Dress for Success. I must admit I was surprised when they put it to me, but now that I look back on it, Dress for Success helped me one-on-one through a process that otherwise might have been very overwhelming. 

They are a social enterprise run and staffed by women who work with women to help them choose outfits that show them at their best. 

I made an appointment at their Marrickville outlet. One of their staff was assigned to work with me to help me look my best for an official gathering I was going to in Canberra. It was actually the launch of the book Peer Work in Australia, which was jointly produced by Flourish Australia and Mind. This launch, which was to be attended by the federal health minister, marked such an important milestone in recovery-based mental health that I simply had to look my best!

Although there were a number of clients there at the same time, we all work one-on-one with a staff member and have our own private dressing room!

After I discussed exactly what I was looking for, the lady went out the back to a very big room which was full of zillions of clothes. She selected items for three or four outfits including shoes, bling and scarves (it gets pretty chilly down in Canberra, you know!). So they do a very complete job and you are there for as long as it takes for you to be matched with suitable clothing. Everyone also gets a free toiletries pack to take with them. 

In fact, the whole process and all the clothes are free! All you need to bring with you, perhaps, is a bit of patience to make the right decision. You can dress up as smartly as you need!

Not only do they help you with clothing, accessories and makeup, but they also do interview training workshops! 

I was really amazed and I have to say I got a perfectly ironed, brand new shirt to go to Canberra in. The people at Dress for Success make it possible in every way.

Yes, you need to dress up!

Besides job interviews, here are some of the reasons you should think about getting yourself a nice outfit (apart from the fact that you deserve to look good on your recovery journey)…

A Graduation Ceremony: Not just your own, but perhaps for your daughter or your friend?

Funerals: We hope you don’t need it for this purpose, but just in case, you will be ready.

Dates: Think of how much more confident you will be.

Weddings, parties, shows

Or just because you like to look nice!


Dress for Success Sydney is a registered charity that improves the employability of women in need in NSW by providing, free of charge, professional clothing, a network of support and the career development tools to help women achieve self-sufficiency.

1800 773 456


132 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, NSW 2204


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