I attended the Dress for Success annual gala over the summer and completely fell in love with their mission. “The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”
After writing a recap post about the event, Joy Devlin – who is on the board of Dress for Success – reached out with the most beautiful email that really touched my heart. I asked if she would come by my office so I can hear more about what she does. I had a feeling about Joy. I sort of felt like we were destined to meet.
Joy arrived to ChicpeaJC HQ dressed to the nines. She is iconic. I told her she was officially the Anna Wintour of Jersey City. Since then, we’ve become friends, and every time I see her she literally brings me joy!
What are your names?
Joy: I am Joy Devlin. Allow me to introduce you to my personal assistant Deeksha Chadha.
Joy, can you tell us more about your involvement with Dress for Success?
Joy: I represent Dress for Success Hudson County as the Advisory Chair. Its focus is cultivating donors and coordinating fund raising events. Our Advisory members also network and engage professional volunteers to increase the organizations visibility, promote its good work and seek financial support.
And Joy, you’re obviously in fashion. Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
Joy: I began my career at a major fashion magazine as an editorial assistant. From there, I proceeded to represent a Couture Buying Office as Fashion Director. It was an eye-opening experience as I had never seen European Fashion on that level nor had I ever experienced April in Paris.
Who are your fashion icons?
Joy: I have only one – Coco Chanel. She continues to represent the past, the present, the future. Coco Chanel once said during an interview, “Fashion fades and only style remains the same.”
Joy, if you had to share one fashion rule that you live by, what would it be?
Joy: The ability to mix couture with flea market finds. In other words, mixing costume with couture!
Tell me more about Dress for Success.
Joy: The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
How does it work?
Deeksha: Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that services women without charge and is available to clients referred through Social Services and other non-profit agencies.
Joy if you were to offer five tips to a woman who is entering the workforce on dressing for success, what would they be?
Joy: The art of style in dressing for success includes setting the stage for power play and the top 5 must haves – the suited separates which includes the knee length skirt or appropriate pant, the shirt, the shoes, the handbag, the jewelry (appropriate for up and coming interviews). And number 6 – the new power pose is no longer hands on hips. It’s EYE CONTACT!
Where do you get all your clothes?
Deeksha: Our clothes are very generously donated by designers and manufacturers. If one were interested in donating to Dress for Success, we would say, “Lightly or gently used business attire.”
How does it work? Do you guys have a location where your clients go to?
Joy: When a client comes into Dress for Success, they require two referrals. Dress for Success Hudson County is located at 121-125 Newark Avenue, Jersey City.
Are you guys looking for volunteers?
Joy: Lynn, we are always looking for volunteers. They are the core of any successful non-profit organization and there is always work to be done when it comes to serving our clients and community.
Other ways to get involved are tax deductable financial and clothing contributions, and telling your friends all about Dress for Success!
To learn more about Dress for Success Hudson County, please visit our site: https://hudsoncounty.dressforsuccess.org/
I love what you guys do. Do you have upcoming plans that you want to share?
Joy: We recently had a major fundraising event at Mana Contemporary – Art & Soul Women in the Arts. It was an evening of art, style, culture, and conversation.
And thank you Lynn, for adding your sparkle and your shine. We are working on up and coming events for 2017. Stay tuned!
Are you guys from Jersey City?
Joy: Born and raised in Jersey City, but transitioned to Montclair upon raising my family.
Deeksha: Born and raised in the heart of India. Moved to the US of A with my husband.
So Joy, you said you were born and raised in Jersey City. How do you feel Jersey City has changed?
Joy: Every once in a while you can feel a person, a place having a moment – and for Jersey City that moment is now…and that person is you!
Thank you for sharing your creativity and your ability to bring our city of Jersey City to life.
Do you have any success stories you want to share?
Joy: Yes. We have many success stories. However, we continue to strive to put our organization in a position where we can grow and continue to do great things for our community and our clients.
Anything else you want to reiterate?
Joy: Yes! A message to those women who are going out to begin their own personal journey… “Know that the world is full of people who will go their lives and not actually live one day. Do not intend on being one of them. And if you only have one rule, be your courageous, brilliant self, and remember to smile. To shine. And own your style.”
And to you, Lynn! Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet (and fab shoes) on the ground.