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Meet the charity helping hundreds of local women land their dream job

Dress For Success is a local organization empowering women and non-binary people in Orillia and Barrie to overcome barriers and find a job that fits their skills
Dress For Success wouldn’t exist without its many fantastic volunteers. Pictured is Jennifer, Mackenzie and Melissa at the office in Barrie / Photo provided

Job hunting can feel overwhelming, especially for those who are new to the workforce, those who have taken time away from work to have children or who are going through an unexpected change in circumstances. 

Dress For Success provides tailored assistance for women and non-binary clients who are faced with this struggle. 

The charity provides the professional clothing required for interviews and starting a new job. Rosie Williams, Volunteer Coordinator, shared more details. 

“We have clothes for any kind of job,” Williams enthused. “From office wear to hospital scrubs, to construction clothing — we can help the client, no matter what their job is.”

Having the right outfit is vital for making the right first impression in interviews, but it can be difficult to know what to wear and professional attire can be expensive. 

“My favourite part of my job is when women come in for a suit fitting, and they see themselves in the mirror, transformed into a professional,” Williams shared. “They are always amazed and so grateful that they don’t have to pay.”

But it’s not just all about clothes. Dress for Success provides key programs that build confidence, develop skills and support wellbeing so that their clients can continue to thrive, no matter where they are in their employment journey. 

“We have a Breakfast Club, which is a nine-week program of workshops,” Williams explains. “Our clients learn about goal setting, communication in the work environment and career stepping stones. It ends with mock interviews so that clients are prepared for future opportunities.”

These skills help to remove barriers to the workforce for local women and build their confidence, giving them the best chances of success for interviews and the first few weeks of work. 

“When a client calls me and says, ‘Rosie, I got the job’ — that is the most amazing feeling!” Williams shares. “Then they will need the employment clothing — we provide five outfits, free of charge, so that our clients can feel confident and comfortable in their first few weeks.”

Along with the five outfits, women who find a job can join the Professional Women’s Group, a professional network that provides mutual support along with regular workshops about how to build your career, save money or live on a budget. 

This end-to-end support is vital for helping local women who are struggling to find employment to get a job and remain in employment. Their clients are endlessly grateful for the support. 

One of their clients shared anonymously, “Not sure where I would be without Dress for Success. I lost my job back in 2017. I joined their Breakfast Club for Orillia and it was a great program.” 

“I learned that I was not alone and made some new friends that I am still in touch with today,” they continued. “When I got the job, they had me in to provide me with a few outfits to get me started.”

Dress For Success also has a room named Sean’s Community Closet, open to anyone who needs clothing, no questions asked. It is named in honour of Sean Reid, who was the Executive Director of Dress for Success before he passed away in 2023. 

“Sean’s Community Closet remembers Sean and the impact he had on our community,” Williams said. “It ensures that his legacy continues today.”

Last year, Dress For Success supported an incredible 500 people through their employment journey. Remarkably, this is all made possible by a community of volunteers and donors. 

“Our organization is 90% volunteer-run,” said Williams. “And all of the clothes that we provide are donated by generous people in our community.”

If you would like to help Dress For Success Orillia and Barrie by volunteering or donating clothing, visit:


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About the Author: Katie Wright, Community Cares team

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