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Free suits. The cost of living crisis has raised the price of clothing for women by 37 percent over the last five years, and for men by 25 percent, according to Sky News analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.
Thankfully, there are options for obtaining help with clothes for job interviews:
Smart Works exists for women from all walks of life to help them find a confidence-boosting outfit to wear in a job interview. The charity regularly receives referrals from JobCentres, mental health charities, women’s refuges, homeless shelters, the prison service, care service and youth organisations.
Every client receives guidance from a dressing consultant to find the right outfit for them, and they can even help with accessories! This is followed by a one-to-one coaching session with an expert interview coach. Once a client has bagged a job, they are invited back for a Second Dressing to build a capsule working wardrobe to last until the first pay cheque. All the outfits are completely free of charge.
Smart Works has centres in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Greater Manchester, Reading, Reading, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The team at Suited & Booted believe wearing a great suit or smart clothing can be an empowering, transformative experience that boosts the self-belief needed to succeed in a job interview. Their service is available to low-income or unemployed men in Greater London, who are offered interview training, guidance and support, as well as a sharp suit.
Based in central London, they’re just a stone’s throw from London’s famous Saville Row of tailors.
Part of a global network in 143 cities in 23 countries across the world, Dress for Success has branches in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It aims to empower women in the workplace by empowering them on the inside and the outside. As well as a professional clothing and styling service, it offers interview coaching and ongoing support for clients while they find their feet in the workplace. And it’s all free of charge.
Dress for Success only takes clients from referrals from partner organisations including the Jobcentre Plus, local authorities, colleges or schools, social housing providers and charities such as the Single Homeless Project, mental health charity Twining Enterprise, or young people’s charity Resugo Spear, so make sure to ask any organisationsyou’re in touch with whether they are partnered with Dress for Success.
With four hubs in Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Caerphilly and Vale of Glamorgan, Working Wardrobe wants to make sure everyone in south Wales has at least one “work suitable outfit”.
The hubs offer high-quality, new or gently used professional workwear, including shirts, jumpers, hijabs, shoes and socks, to housing association tenants and people looking for work.
If you’re currently unemployed and living in the West Midlands, Suited for Success is there to help you make the best possible first impression. Suited for Success has been dressing men and women in “gently worn suits and smart workwear” donated by professionals in corporate companies, law firms, banks, offices and businesses, since 2015.
You can even take a virtual tour of the centre in central Birmingham to see if anything on the racks catches your eye. To make an appointment with Suited for Success, you must be able to show that you have a job interview lined up.
Big Issue Recruit is a person-centred service that provides those facing barriers into work with the training and support they need to enter the workplace. All candidates that receive support from a job coach with Big Issue Recruit also get allocated a support worker in the Big Issue Foundation. This support worker can help with a hand-up fund, which can be used to pay for interview-ready clothes or travel to that all important opportunity.
To find out how Big Issue Recruit could help you into employment, or help your business to take a more inclusive approach to recruitment, click here.
You’ll find a lot more than books available to loan from Brixton Library in south London. The library has partnered with London-wide dry cleaning company Ihateironing, to offer outfits for people in the local community to borrow for job interviews. The library even has a dedicated changing space to try on outfits, which are then cleaned by Ihateironingon their return, ready to be borrowed by another jobseeker.
Whether you need a blouse, professional shirt, blazer, trousers, jacket or coat, fill in this form to request a professional outfit from the team.
The government’s Jobcentre Plus can help with some travel and clothing costs for people who are unemployed and trying to get a job. Work coaches can offer extra financial support to help job seekers find work, so make sure to ask yours if you think it could help you bag a role. Make sure to check what support could be available from the Jobcentre Plus, and as they say: ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get!’
If you’ve already got a good interview outfit, or maybe picked one up from a charity shop, but it’s looking a little worse for wear, a professional dry-cleaning service can make all the difference.
Timpson offers free dry cleaning if you’re unemployed and need an outfit cleaned for an interview. The service is available at all of their 500 stores.