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Suiting up for work

With the challenges of today's economy, finding a job can seem, at times, hopeless. For an applicant who cannot afford professional clothing, the prospect may appear even more daunting.

One national organization holds a yearly benefit to raise awareness about women looking to get into the workforce, as well as the clothing they need to help land them the jobs they want.

The organization, called Dress for Success, is holding its annual Dress S.O.S - Send One Suit - event from Thursday, Feb. 19, through Sunday, Feb. 22, at Dress Barn stores across the country.

According to the Latham Dress Barn's District Sales Manager Chris Bohling, the women's clothing store, cater[s] to the time-pressured working woman.

During S.O.S., Dress Barn is asking women to bring in gently used suits for donation. In return, the store will provide donors with a 15 percent off coupon from their total purchase.

After all of the suits have been collected, the Dress Barn corporate office will donate a certain number of new suits for every old suit collected.

According to Bohling, a full dress suit from Dress Barn can range in price, beginning at $129.

Locally, the suits will be distributed to Dress for Success's Albany office, and then shipped to Dress Barn's national headquarters. An attempt to reach a local contact from Dress for Success was unsuccessful.

Bohling said that since 2003, Dress Barn has collected more than 200,000 suits for S.O.S.

According to the S.O.S. Web site, the suits will go to underprivileged women in the local community who are seeking to develop their careers.

"It's not just about giving a suit, it's about teaching people how to interview, helping them find jobs," said Bohling. "It's like the whole package."

Bohling said the suits are delivered to different organizations every year, and that the local Dress for Success office determines which ones the suits will go.

Bohling said she hopes the community will come out to support the cause.

"What a wonderful organization it is," said Bohling. "One suit, one woman, one job can really change the world."

Dress Barn is located in the Northway Mall Plaza, in Latham. To contact the store, call 489-6403.

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