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Runway to Success

By Kathy                                                                                Thursday March 1, 2012
Posted in Lehigh Valley Magazine
         When Lehigh Carbon Community College turned to The Perfect Fit for Working Women to help them put on a fashion show for their future graduates, it was a step in the right direction.  And that would be a stylish, yet conservative, patent leather, closed-toe pump step, not a jewel-embellished strappy stiletto step.  It seems that our Carrie Bradshaw inspired young women, as well as our aspiring Steve Jobs tech wizards, are a bit challenged when it comes to choosing the appropriate business attire to land them that exact job and lifestyle that they dream of.  They perplex us with their texting and gaming skills executed at lightening speed, which are probably great life skills, yet they stare blankly at us with mouth agape and eyes glazed at the suggestion of wearing a suit to Career Day, where they will be meeting prospective employers.  In a world of young adult look-alike stores, where  nearly naked look-alike  models sell absurdly expensive look-alike casual worn looking clothes, the conservative interview suit may be a ghost of times past.Or is it?  Hold on to your LBD’s and Manolo Blahnik’s!  Let’s remember the most important thing.  As a new college graduate, with little or no work experience, you may be interviewing for one open position along with hundreds of more experienced and polished candidates.  Taking the time to impress your interviewer may be one of the most important steps (pumped or loafered) that you take.  It’s time to step up to the table in our laid-back business casual world.Lehigh Carbon Community CollegeHence, a fashion show to teach these upcoming graduates that conservative can still be stylish, and that your future boss wants to see you dressed for work, not happy hour.  Hats off to LCCC for addressing this issue.  Better yet, they have turned to a non-profit organization that is dedicated to assisting less fortunate women to learn how to dress in appropriate interview attire.  The Perfect Fit for Working Women supports low-income women entering the workforce by providing career clothing and job assistance.  More on this later ladies!  Students of all ages and sizes will strut the runway with a boost of confidence and a job-worthy style-savvy look.  But wait, they have a few tricks up their suit sleeves.The audience has to guess who got the look right, and who went slightly awry.  Perhaps the pressed pinstripe suit is perfect, but the earrings the size of Jupiter orbiting around your head has your interviewer’s head spinning more than your cutting edge credentials.  Maybe it’s the sultry, smokey eye that has them guessing that you spend far too much time on Sephora’s Daily Picks than browsing the Dow Daily Charts.  Young men, you’re not forgotten here.  So before you even think of walking in with that shirt untucked, scuffed shoes, wrinkled khakis, and a resume’ that your best buddy just downloaded from, pay attention!  Do’s and Don’t will be demonstrated by First Impressions for Men, the male counterpart to The Perfect Fit, so polish that briefcase and buff those shoes!  The lesson here, details do count.  The attention paid to your image is a reflection of the attention that you will pay to your job.  This is also proof that looking like a million doesn’t have to cost a fortune!  This is a fun, successful way for the college to send their graduates off with-yes, a huge step in the right direction!
Now, as I mentioned earlier, The Perfect Fit operates largely on the generous donations of ladies liberated with a wardrobe whittled down to what she really wears.  Imagine that!  As a Wardrobe Stylist, I hear you all speak of this nirvana.  This is your permission slip for a closet clean-out, guilt-free.  None of us are really delusional enough to think we may wear those work suits again (when suits were worn to work), the holiday dress from a work party years ago, the jeans we may fit back into (trust me-they’re outdated by now), or the new items with tags still on (known as rash decisions).  When and if you go back to work full-time, change careers, host a swanky soiree, or lose weight, the last thing you will want to wear is a suit or dress from the Dynasty Collection circa 1984.  Yet parting with wardrobe items is wrought with emotion, feelings of guilt over money spent, facing fashion faux pas (please we all make them), and admitting that time is passing and our bodies, lifestyles and priorities with it.The average woman wears only 20% of what she has in her closet, and I bet some men could rival that.  It’s time for a return on your investment!  What better than to give those old, or new, friends a second life?  As Real Housewives of the Real World, who are not too busy lunching, fighting and manicuring, I know you can’t wait to help your sisterhood in getting a leg up in becoming a career woman, raising her children and contributing to the community.  So pack up the suburban with sacks bursting and put the petal to the metal right over to Hamilton and 11th.  Once inside, the volunteer stylists will belt, pin, cuff, layer and accessorize those duds right out of the ballpark!  Didi I mention that approximately 50% of the women who walked through the doors last year got the job that they interviewed for?  Once they get a job, they can come back for a week’s worth of clothing, at no cost to them.  That quickly adds up to over 800 slacks a year!  This is an organization that is about empowering women by instilling a sense of self-esteem.  Please keep that in mind when donating.  Your more modern mistakes would be appreciated.  For some women, this is their first chance to be “stylish”.    The Perfect Fit appreciates modern career clothes and accessories, shoes, khakis, jeans, maternity clothes and medical scrubs. Anything described as “acid washed”, parachute, jelly, linebacker shoulder pads, or “Let’s Get Physical” workout attire can be filed under memorable mistakes, and would be likely welcomed at other charities.As Heidi Lennick, The Perfect Fit’s ever-helpful, most-understanding, always uplifting cheerleader and Director has said time and again, “Someone’s Future May be Hanging in Your Closet”.
LCCC Fashion Show is open to the public
March 8, 2012  11:00am
LCCC Student Union
4525 Education Park DriveSchnecksville,  PA 18078
Donations to The Perfect Fit by Appointment

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