ASK JOAN

Clear your head and warm your heart - clean out your closet and donate to others

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Joan Lunden

Fashion & Style / / February 28, 2012

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So I have this huge closet in my basement that my family calls “The Dressing Room” and it houses my entire wardrobe from years of my career.  It has always been busting at the seams with gorgeous designer suits and other clothing left over from years of being on Good Morning America as well as doing many other video and photo shoots throughout the years.   Many of the items don’t fit me any longer, are not still in style, or just simply haven’t been worn in years.  So I asked myself why I was keeping them around?  Sometimes I think it’s difficult to “throw away” items that you know were purchased for a lot of money, you can’t help but feel that you should find a way to utilize them!

My husband is just the opposite of me.  When he goes to the store and buys four new shirts, he comes right home and cleans out his closet and gets rid of anything he hasn’t been wearing.  Consequently his closet is so organized and perfect that it makes me crazy…  Crazy jealous that is!!  So after a couple years, OK maybe many years, of begging me to cull through all those clothes and get rid of them – I finally took a deep breath and stepped inside the room to begin the process.   I went through everything and tried on each item.  Shoulders too big? Yikes – no wonder I wore my hair so big, they had to match those gigantic shoulder pads! …I began making cuts and weeding out.

I made several big donations to the Salvation Army however I still had a lot of high-end suits, expensive designer jackets and outfits that I had accumulated that I wanted to give to an organization that catered to women trying to make their way in the business world.  It is so difficult for women to compete for jobs these days, and I know how expensive it can be to dress well.  I wanted to pass all these great designs on to other women who might need them and get great use out of them.  But I was stuck as to where to take them.  Where would all my beloved belongings have the biggest impact and do the most good?

 

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Besides the standard Goodwill and Salvation Army, my options seemed to include several local upscale used clothing and consignment stores in my area, or an organization called Dress for Success.  I had done a number of stories about Dress for Success over the years and decided they would be my choice.

 

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Many women my age – 50-plus shall we say – might remember a book from the 1980s called "Dress for Success." It was about the changing women’s fashions and in particular it was about the “power suit.” The book was all about how women needed to dress in clothing similar to men to gain credibility in business place. Who can forget those suits over blouses with a ribbon neck tie?   OMG, I owned a few of those and I wore them in front of millions of people! 

We have since stopped trying to dress like men in order to compete with them, but a good looking suit or dress can still make you feel like a million bucks and therefore can help you present well.  I know how much more confident I feel when I feel that I look good.  So I knew that it was the right thing to do to contribute to helping other women find their inner confidence.

The nonprofit Dress for Success program was established in New York in 1997 by Nancy Lublin who wanted to help lower-income women find jobs and remain employed.  Their mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and by giving them a network of support and career development tools to help them thrive in work and in life.

Dress for Success takes clothing donations, particularly suits and jackets such as the ones I’m giving away. Personal shoppers at the organization assist clients in selecting five clothing items from the Dress for Success shop. When they get a job, they get to choose another five pieces of clothing and join a professional women’s support group.  I am really happy to be passing all of my great suits, jackets, pants outfits and coats on to the Dress for Success program for the simple reason that I’m a woman helping other women.  To contact Dress for Success, go to www.dressforsuccess.org

About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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