Dressing women to return to work

March 12, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
It's a good time to do some spring cleaning, including going through your closet. All of those suits you no longer wear can go to women who really need them.Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg has a look.

A good suit can make all the difference for a job candidate, and that is what's at the heart of Bottomless Closet.

But the program isn't all about looks, it's about building a strong foundation as well.

Nancy Cohen and Katie Watkin are helping Carol Jean find just the right look for her upcoming job interviews.

Carol needs a professional-looking outfit from head to toe, a look that will give her the confidence to get back into the work force after a long hiatus.

"I really regret that I took so long to get myself back together," she said. "But now I'm ready to go out there and do whatever it takes to make it in this world."

The Bottomless Closet is a helpful stop on the way to making it. It doesn't just distribute clothing to disadvantaged women, volunteers also offer job counseling.

"They've been out of work often for a long time," said Barbara Madsen Smith, of Bottomless Closet. "They need help in figuring out how to get back into the workforce and how to really succeed in the careers and move on in their lives."

There are 100 workshops offered, including ones taught by Meryl Starr, who has written about getting organized.

"If you're going on interviews and you're scheduling," she said. "The more organized you are, the more you're going to accomplish."

As a further incentive, when women attend the workshops, they're able to take home more clothes, filling their closets not just with suits, but with a greater sense of accomplishment.

So far, 15,000 garments have been given away. It was Carol's first expedition to Bottomless Closet. She knows that looking good and being prepared will give her the advantage.

"I'm feeling more confident that I'm able to go out there with a positive attitude, knowing that I look good," she said.

Women must be referred to Bottomless Closet. Upwards of 200 different agencies make those referrals, and Bottomless Closet runs on donations and volunteers.

For more information on Bottomless Closet, click here.

For more on Meryl Starr and her book, "Let's Get Organized," click here.