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Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits
c/o The Women’s Alliance
1775 Eye Street, NW
Suite 1150
Washington, D.C. 20006

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1775 Eye Street, NW, Suite 1150
Washington, D.C. 20006
United States

We’re a growing network of career development nonprofits that provide business attire for women and men seeking work, empowering them to economic independence.





Filtering by Tag: professional attire

The Power of a Pantsuit: You Can Still Use It To Fight For Women

Sheri K. Cole, Career Wardrobe Executive Director


Guest Post by Sheri K. Cole, Career Wardrobe Executive Director

Were you one of the millions of women and men who pulled a pantsuit out of your closet last Tuesday to go vote? Perhaps you went to a resale store like The Wardrobe Boutique to buy a white suit to commemorate the suffrage movement while you cast your ballot for the first woman to be President. Even if you supported another candidate, did you smile as you stood in line with your neighbors dressed up for the occasion?

Do you remember how you felt walking into the polling place in your pantsuit?

Did you hold your head a little higher?

Did you speak a little clearer when asked your name by the poll worker?

Did you feel just a little bit better while going about your day?

You might be one of the few who still puts on a suit and tie or heels to go to work every day, or you might be someone who forgot that suit was hanging in the back of your closet. Surveys show that the majority of professionals are no longer required to wear a suit to work. 

Still, you can’t deny the power of a pantsuit.

As Executive Director of Career Wardrobe, a nonprofit organization that has been providing professional suits to women transitioning to work for 21 years, I followed the #pantsuit social media feed with a great interest because at Career Wardrobe, we understand the power of the pantsuit… we see it every day. 

It won’t change your skillset or your background, but the pantsuit we give to a job seeker at Career Wardrobe is a great equalizer. 

The pantsuit makes her feel more confident in her ability to ace a job interview. And it helps him forget about his background for a moment and believe that he deserves a supervisor position.

The pantsuit has power.

If you felt that power the last time you put on your professional suit, please consider how you can give back to organizations like Career Wardrobe who are working to empower unemployed people in our communities every day. 

Your donation of a suit doesn’t just outfit a person looking for work… it EMPOWERS them to hold their head higher, speak clearer, and see a future of independence.

Don’t have a suit to give or want to give more than a suit? There are so many ways to give back and do something powerful!

Shop! Every sale at The Wardrobe Boutique resale store supports Career Wardrobe’s programs.

Volunteer! Have a few hours a week to give back? Bring your friends, colleagues or children with you to sort clothing donations at one of our monthly drives in Fairmount, East Falls or the Mainline. Sign up to volunteer!

Donate Money! Organizations like Career Wardrobe don’t run on clothing alone. Donate $50 or more this holiday season in honor or memory of someone in your life. 

Learn more about our work and how you can support people in your community at www.CareerWardrobe.orgNot local to Philadelphia? Find a group like Career Wardrobe in your community at  Click here to see a complete listing of ACDN Members.

Celebrate and encourage all men this Father's Day

Connie Golds, Executive Director, Desert Best Friend's Closet (Palm Desert, CA) and ACDN Board Member


This June, let’s not forget the dads! Every third Sunday in June, Americans set aside the day to honor Fathers. Alliance of Career Development Nonprofit (ACDN) members also honor fathers and all men who are seeking employment. In fact, the ACDN’s original name was “The Women’s Alliance,” but after realizing that many Alliance members serve men as well as women, the Board of Directors changed the name to better reflect the membership.

Nearly half of the clients served at ACDN member Desert Best Friend’s Closet, located in Palm Desert, California, are men. Men under thirty face a unique challenge when donning professional attire for the first time as most of them grew up wearing baggy, low-riding jeans. Professional clothing, however, is worn at a man’s true waist, which is usually measured two fingers below the belly button. For many young men, this is a new experience and initially requires time to become comfortable with the look. They have found that many men love to wear a little “bling,” so the agency is especially grateful when donors donate cufflinks and tie pins.

Another challenge for many men is learning to tie a necktie (and to feel comfortable wearing it, too). The necktie is the focal point of a man’s look and polishes off a man’s outfit, instantly making him look classy and professional. But mistakes with the tie will take the look from sophisticated to sloppy quickly.

Some Necktie Basics:

1.     The tie shouldn’t be too long or too short - it should end near the middle of the belt buckle. Tip: tall men should find an XL tie.

2.     Stained or wrinkled ties are unacceptable. As the focal point of an outfit, this can show that he doesn’t care about his appearance.

3.     Selecting the right colors and patterns can be tricky. Color should draw from the shirt and suit color in a complimentary way. A tie may also reflect a man’s personality—louder more colorful ties for someone with a big personality and more conservative colors and patterns for someone quieter. Cartoon images on a tie are never appropriate for an interview.


For many male clients, coming to Desert Best Friend’s closet is the first time they have ever worn a suit and tie. They are often overwhelmed the first time they see themselves in the mirror, because the suit is a symbol of adulthood and manhood. As one of their clients simply stated upon seeing his reflection, I have never worn a suit before let alone knew how to tie a tie. Thank you for helping me.  I feel like a man today.”

This month (and every month, really) we celebrate and encourage all men, fathers and those who will be fathers. Enjoy!

Contributed by Connie Golds, Executive Director, Desert Best Friend's Closet (Palm Desert, CA) and ACDN Board Member.  Desert Best Friend’s Closet has outfitted over 2000 clients since 2010.