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On International Women’s Day and beyond, a local charity is helping women in Central Alberta dress for success

Dress For Success in Red Deer will hold an open house and accept donations on Saturday
(Image from Facebook)

A Red Deer charity dedicated to helping women prepare for job interviews created a lot of timely buzz on International Women’s Day with the announcement of its new location.

Dress for Success Central Alberta is holding an open house and donation drive at its new Red Deer boutique in the Capstone area on March 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at #5, 5571 45 St., near Troubled Monk in Cronquist Business Park.

A fire last fall at La Casa Pergola, adjacent to the charity’s basement boutique, forced the charity to shut its doors to clean smoke-damaged clothing. Instead of reopening, volunteers have been assisting clients at consignment stores while a new handicapped accessible location was found.

Board member Crystal Cawsey said there was a slowdown in clients while women were losing their jobs during the pandemic, also known as the ‘she-demic.’

“(The pandemic) affected women more so than anyone else so we are expecting now that things are opening back up again, we are going to see an uptake,” Cawsey said on Tuesday.

“We’re getting settled in the new space and we’re hoping to be taking clients soon.”


Dress for Success Central Alberta receives $30,000 to help women

Each client referred to Dress for Success Central Alberta receives a personal styling session, and leaves with one complete interview outfit at no cost.

“We provide everything, from the undergarments to their clothing, to shoes, coat, jewelry, purse, whatever - so they look professional and they’re confident,” Cawsey said.

After employment is secured, the client is encouraged to return for a week’s worth of clothing to serve as the foundation for her professional wardrobe.

New or gently used women’s professional and business-casual clothing, shoes and accessories clothing will be accepted on Saturday. Donations should be clean, ready-to-wear, suitable to wear to a job interview or in a business setting, and not more than three years old. Monetary donations of over $20 will get a charitable receipt.

“We are really optimistic there will be a huge turnout, and we’ll get a lot of much-needed newer clothing. We like to freshen up the clothing and not keep them for too many years. Things get outdated.”


Program makes a lasting first impression

Cawsey said Scotiabank, which has a national partnership with Dress for Success Canada, reached out to offer running a clothing drive. As many as 30 Scotiabank volunteers will be accepting and sorting donations on Saturday.

Lacey Neal, branch manager of Scotiabank Rocky Mountain House, said the bank is proud to support and celebrate the grand re-opening of Red Deer’s Dress for Success.

“Through ScotiaRISE, our national partnership with Dress for Success Canada supports the empowerment of women, enabling them to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools to help women thrive in work and life,” Neal said in a statement.

The charity is also looking for more volunteers. To volunteer, donate, or for more information about Dress for Success Central Alberta visit: or

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