Style, insight for job interviews

COSTA MESA — A job interview is all about "selling what's on the inside," but unfortunately that opportunity first requires that a person be suitably dressed, says the leader of a local nonprofit.

"Confidence is the secret ingredient," said Jerri Rosen, founder and chief executive of Working Wardrobes, a local nonprofit that offers wardrobe and career development assistance. "Having good clothes for an interview can give the person the confidence they need to really impress an interviewer."

Celebrating 20 years in operation and one year at a new location on Pullman Street, Rosen will host an all-day open house with Working Wardrobes personal shoppers and stylists, wardrobe consultants, career development trainers and other staff Friday.

"One thing everyone wants is love and acceptance," said client-turned-volunteer Regina Star Leone-Bray. "So, when someone is interested, it makes them feel good and gives them confidence. You really have to understand that it's not just the clothes, but the whole experience that makes a difference."

Leone-Bray was assisted by Working Wardrobes in December 2009, after having moved to San Juan Capistrano from Florida with her now 2-year-old son, Joseph.

During the moving process, she lost a substantial amount of weight. When it came time for her to look for a new job, she found that she no longer fit into the career clothes she had worn as a business analyst.

Not only was Leone-Bray fitted with several article of clothing, she was also given the necessary accessories and toiletry items to complete her look as a polished professional.

However, the assistance she received went below the surface. Leone-Bray also had access to the facility's additional resources, such as resume assistance and interview coaching.

"Had I just been out there on my own, not seeking that help, I probably would have gotten really discouraged," she said. "Some people come in and don't have a good attitude. They're miserable because they've been through a very hard time.

"It's about lifting them up giving them confidence."

Thanks to all the resources from Working Wardrobes, Leone-Bray found a new career as an event coordinator at a family fun center, she said.

Each year Working Wardrobes helps more than 5,000 clients from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, including welfare-to-work cases, alcohol- and substance-abuse programs, domestic violence, transitional homelessness and others, Rosen said.

Clients come from all age groups, including youths, she said.

"We really hold that possibility that people can get back on feet regardless of where they've been and turn their life around," Rosen said.

If You Go

What: Working Wardrobes Open House

When: at 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday

Where: Working Wardrobes Career Center, 3030 Pullman St., Costa Mesa

Information: (714) 210-2460 or

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