When you enter the downtown Oakland office of Wardrobe for Opportunity, you feel you're walking into an actual boutique. The lobby invites you into a clothing store atmosphere. The before and after pictures of successful program participants, which hang on the walls, make you instantly feel inspired. Along with racks filled with work attire for women and men, the back of the boutique has long mirrors on either side and allows participants to embrace the transformation they see right before their eyes.

Wardrobe for Opportunity only accepts participants via outside job development or community-based groups. This lets the organization stay connected to the community while managing its participant intake. Each client teams up with a personal stylist for help picking out clothes to wear to upcoming job interviews. Upon receiving a job, participants can return to select a “working wardrobe,” which consists of several interchangeable outfits.

In the last year, Wardrobe for Opportunity has helped more than 2,000 people. It also offers job training courses including interview clinics and their “Success Series,” which is designed to teach people to “find a job, keep a job, and build a career.”

The organization, which has existed for 15 years, relies on the kindness of local businesses and residents to stock its boutique. Men’s Warehouse is one of its active partners. It also accepts donations during its curbside drop-off, which takes place the fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon.

As for clothes it decides not to use, Wardrobe for Opportunity donates to groups such as St. Vincent de Paul and holds “Style for a Steal” events where they allow participants to come back to purchase clothes for $10 or less.
For further volunteer or donation information visit Wardrobe for Opportunity online.

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