We’ve all read the studies and the research is as ubiquitous as it is obvious.  What we wear has a huge impact on how we feel, how others perceive us and often helps to make or break a first impression.

 “When subjects were asked to change into formal or casual clothing before cognitive tests, participants wearing formal attire increased abstract thinking. It is suggested that this effect is caused due to having the feeling of power”, notes Scientific American in a recent study. 

Human beings absorb visual details instantaneously through a process called thin-slicing.  These are millisecond judgments the brain makes based off of new stimulus and often minute visual details leading to subconscious judgments. 

For many people, this is nice to remember when we are deciding between what to wear at a professional event or a social gathering.

For millions of women across the globe, however, dressing well to make a decent first impression on a job interview is, well, serious business. Many of those entering or re-entering the workplace and who are dealing with inherently difficult circumstances or an expected setback face sobering statistics.  According to 2018 global statistics compiled by the International Labour Organization (ILO), for every 10 men who are gainfully employed, only 6 women are as well. As we know, not only does chronic unemployment have a severe economic effect on individuals, families and communities at large, it also negatively impacts a person’s sense of self and value.     

For many women, putting on clothing that makes them feel good about themselves in a supportive environment, is such a transforming experience that it is the beginning of a vital new start.  While levels of confidence can soar when a woman feels good about how she is presenting herself to the world, they build expediently when she not only gets the job but is supported once in it.  That is our mission at Dress for Success Worldwide.  Just over 20 years old, and started in a New York City church basement, we now have affiliates in over 160 cities and in 30+ countries. Our programs help give women the tools to succeed at their jobs and to achieve financial acumen on a sustainable basis.

Dress for Success Worldwide, along with many other non-profits  is celebrating “Giving Tuesday” on November 27th,  seeking to both bring awareness to our organization and to garner all important monetary donations (#DFSPowerPiece).   Our campaign revolves around “power pieces” this year; women across the globe are invited to show off an item of clothing or an accessory that makes them feel great about themselves.

As a recent client, who participated in our program at our New York City location shared: “I took the experience of feeling newly confident into my interview. It wasn’t just the way I was dressed although that was huge, it was also all the support I received. I literally felt the power within myself grow. And yes, I got the job!”


  • Joi Gordon

    CEO, Dress for Success

    Joi Gordon joined Dress for Success in 1999 and took over leadership of Dress for Success Worldwide in 2002. Her primary goals are to ensure that Dress for Success becomes recognized as a leader in empowering women in their economic and social development and to expand the organization’s reach—so that more and more women across the globe will have access to the resources and tools they need to succeed in the workplace.