Operation Dress Code Helps Women Transition to Civilian Jobs

dress code tagsMaking the transition from military life to the civilian workforce can be tricky. It requires new skills. What’s the best way to conduct a job search? How will you ace the job interview? What will you wear? For women veterans, Operation Dress Code can help to answer all of these questions, and more.

It’s not too late to sign up for this year’s free one-day event for women veterans. It will take place Saturday, Nov 4, at Town and Country Hotel in San Diego. That’s when Operation Dress Code will open its doors and its closets to hundreds of women veterans, providing professional clothing, fashion tips, advice for landing a new job, and maybe a confidence boost as well.

“It’s about more than a pretty pair of shoes or a sleek skirt,” says organizer Marcey Brightwell of Brightwell Strategies in Sacramento. “It’s about the experience – giving them the confidence they deserve and the respect they have earned.”

Now in its fourth year, Operation Dress Code provides individualized service. Every veteran is assisted by a personal shopper, who provides tips on how to dress for different scenarios, such as a job interview or an important meeting. The women try on different clothing and can take home several outfits. They can also get help developing a resume or finding a state job.

“Sometimes a new outfit makes a huge difference when you go for an interview or start your first week at a new job,” said Lindsey Sin, Deputy Secretary for Women Veterans Affairs at CalVet. “But this is more than just a clothing closet. It’s an important component of getting veterans transitioned into the civilian workforce.”

Operation Dress Code had its start in 2014, when a clothing closet was organized as part of the annual Women’s Conference being hosted by CalVet. The response exceeded expectations, with about 3,000 pieces of clothing donated for the roughly 200 women who took part.

“We were overwhelmed by the generosity of complete strangers, pure acts of kindness, women helping women,” said Brightwell. “There is so much love and intention behind every donation.”

Brightwell assisted with making that first event a success and since then, she has organized and expanded Operation Dress Code, with the help of key women veterans and organizations in the San Diego area.

RanDee McLain, Navy veteran and program manager of San Diego’s Courage to Call program, along with Holly Shaffner, Coast Guard veteran and military liaison for San Diego State University have been instrumental in making this a unique San Diego event and expanding the number of women served. In addition, many other women volunteer each year and local sponsors support the event.

“This is the result of women coming together to accomplish something good, and a whole community rallying to support their effort,” said Sin.

California is home to roughly 143,000 women veterans and San Diego has the highest percentage of women veterans in the state. These women are returning home to go to college, start their careers, launch new businesses and raise families. Operation Dress Code can provide the professional clothing and expert advice they need to start off on the right foot.

How to Register

The Dress Code Boutique Day is designed to help women make the transition to a new career by providing professional clothing and advice. It’s free to women who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. To take part and receive your personalized shopping experience, simply register and sign up for a time slot.

The event takes place Saturday, Nov 4, at Town and Country Hotel, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego.

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