We don’t have to tell you the importance of looking the part when it comes to your career.
But let’s face it, business attire isn’t cheap, and usually requires that you have a job beforehand in order to purchase an outfit for an interview.
That’s why Toronto’s Yonge Street Mission helps disadvantaged young adults fake it until they make it with their Double Take thrift store, offering everything you need when it comes to work clothes – from blazers and business suits to briefcases and shoes. It marks an initiative of the Connecting Youth to Work employment program at YSM, which is designed to transition disadvantaged youth into the workplace.
As a part of First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower’s donation drive, In PURSE-SUIT Of Happiness, two candidate’s from YSM’s Connecting Youth to Work program were chosen to receive a makeover in order to prep them for that big job interview. The two participants were prepped for their interview ready looks by Shopping Consultant, Cathy DeSerranno, an expert in corporate dressing.
Last week, we heard first hand the impact of the makeover had for Nathan Grey, a Scarborough native who hopes for a promising career in community involvement and as a musician.
Now, it’s time for the ladies.
Young mom Rachelle Fortin was given a well-deserved, and rare kid-free, salon experience and shopping spree at First Canadian Place and Exchange Tower.
The day began at Portico, for a two-hour appointment that involved a cut, colour, and blow dry. She then scored some seriously fashionable office and interview finds from M for Mendocino as well as a pair of shoes and handbag from longtime mall staple Aldo.
We caught up with her to hear a little more about the experience.
Fortin was selected for the makeover by her supervisors in the CYTW program, who thought she would benefit from the experience. “I had been attending the Youth Centre (Evergreen) regularly for 7 years, then one day I went down to the employment centre and attended the CYTW information session,” she says about her involvement in the organization.
In terms of her desired career path, she tells us that she wants to work in the dental field doing administrative tasks in the office. But in order to do so, the makeover would help give her an overall professional appearance.
“The best part of the makeover experience was feeling like a superstar,” Fortin told us post-makeover. “When I was getting my hair done a lot of people were walking by and questioned why I was getting my photo taken so much. Also, all the shopping – girls love shopping! I would not be able to afford any of the expensive clothing I was given in this experience. I loved being pampered. It felt so great, and my new look is so sophisticated.”
When we asked her favourite part of the day, it was tough for her to choose just one element. “The whole day was my favourite part,” said Fortin. “It was nice not having the kids around – I was able to actually try on clothing before purchasing it. Being followed by the photographer made me feel like a celebrity with a paparazzi.”
Among the perks was the salon experience, where Fortin took a plunge with a major haircut. “The salon was probably my favourite part,” she says. “The people were friendly, made sure I felt comfortable and also assured me I would look great cutting 10 inches of hair off. Aldo was also amazing. I have never had anything from there before, but now I have a brand new purse and boots.”
The shopping experience resulted in purchases that are not only stylish, but that are practical and versatile. “My purse will be very beneficial, it could be used as a part of my professional attire but can also pass as a casual piece,” Fortin says. “All the pieces I got from Mendocino will be so versatile as well. I can pair any top with the black skirt I got, and the blazer I got will make anything I own look professional.”
And Fortin definitely understands the importance of looking professional.
“Looking the part is most important,” she says. “Most people judge by how you present yourself in public.” So in order to make sure she was presenting herself well, she received a tip or two from DeSerranno. “Cathy told me that even black needs to be matched properly. That was probably the biggest tip.”
In terms of the future, it looks bright for her, whether behind the desk in a dental office or even starting her own company. “I admire my sister more than anyone,” says Fortin. “She has her own business, she works hard to get far. I hope to be as successful as her one day.”
Photo Credit: Shawn Goldberg