Tomorrow night, Dress for Success Memphis hosts its annual Little Black Dress Event at Memphis Botanic Garden. The fundraising event created around this classic essential also highlights an organization that helps transform the lives of women through fashion.
A few LBD committee members and volunteers. Front Row, Left to Right: Cynthia Daniels, Yevette Hughes, Sandra Burke, Tyria Perkins. Second Row: Nykeshia Cole and Rebecca Bush. Photographed at Memphis Botanic Garden.
“The LBD event is a chance to share our story,” explains DFS Memphis Executive Director Sandra Burke. “Donors and potential donors will meet our clients who be there as hostesses. Put on your favorite little black dress, and you’ll feel your highest.”
As Sandra points out her fascination with the history of the little black dress, it appears that the LBD story begins to touch on the positive effects of the organization’s story. Coco Chanel, credited to the introduction of the little black dress, designed and showcased a simple black dress in the 1920s worn by highly regarded women such as Edith Piaf. The LBD made its statement by being accessible to women of any social standing yet maintaining a chic appearance. The economy of the black fabric made it affordable, and the neutrality of black allowed the silhouette of the dress to become the focus. In essence, without the frivolity of details or another color causing distraction, a superbly simple black dress allows its wearer to shine and feel their highest.
A sample of auction items donated by sponsors.
Dress for Success Memphis serves the community by helping low-income women make the transition into the workplace. DFS volunteers are “change agents” for these women by providing them with work-appropriate attire, counseling, and career development to help them feel their highest.
“It’s a wonderful organization. Women [we serve] gain self-sufficiency and independence and become more economically sound. We can all make a difference in their lives and in our community,” says Sandra about being change agents.
Sandra Burke, DFS Memphis Executive Director.
Before becoming part of the Dress for Success Worldwide network in 1999, DFS Memphis began as the Career Closet, founded about a year before by Janelle Ray, an AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer, and Anne Jones, a member of Idlewild Presbyterian Church. Today, the non-profit organization has served around 500 women this year and over 6,500 women in the Memphis Metropolitan Area since its inception. Dedicated volunteer Ruby Dandridge has been with Dress for Success for almost 10 years, enjoying her role as personal shopper and mentor to these women helping them gain confidence in themselves. In the first client “suiting,” volunteers like Ruby work closely with clients to find the best professional outfit for them to wear to their job interview. Lives can change profoundly through just one outfit.
Ruby Dandridge, DFS volunteer.
The growing awareness of Dress of Success and more involvement by DFS worldwide and their national sponsors help the local affiliate keep their donation closets filled. Other ways people can help the organization are by donating money and time as a volunteer and, of course, by attending events like the Little Black Dress.
“It’ll be a fun evening where women can showcase their most darling little black dress and exotic shoes, while the men are displaying their favorite tie. There will be music, wine & hors d’oeuvres, a fashion show by White House Black Market, as well as a silent auction of wonderful items donated from local businesses to benefit Dress for Success Memphis,” says LBD event chair, Yevette Hughes. “One of the new thing this year is our cigar lounge. We want to embrace the male culture and get them involved with this event, and we will have our CEO from our Worldwide office for Dress For Success attending.”
As far as finding the right LBD, Yevette suggests finding the one right for you. “You want to make sure that you are comfortable and radiant with beauty.”
The Little Black Dress, Thursday, October 15th, 6-9 PM at Memphis Botanic Garden.
Purchase tickets online at Eventbrite
or at the event. Proceeds from the event will benefit Dress for Success Memphis.
Other upcoming DFS fundraising events include the Upscale Boutique Sale
on October 31st where they will sell their overflow of donated clothes, shoes, and accessories. Many items are still new marked at a discounted price. Proceeds benefit Dress for Success Memphis. It will be held at Dress for Success Memphis
2730 Colony Park Dr # 7, Memphis, TN 38118.