The Suits Off Their Backs

Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:01am

On Wednesday, the women of Capitol Hill shed their clothes — for a cause.

The third annual Dress for Success Challenge held a drive to see which chamber’s ladies could donate more office-appropriate clothing to the nonprofit. The House edged out the Senate this year, reclaiming the title after being bested last time around.

Dress for Success collects business apparel to donate to women who are unemployed and do not have appropriate clothes to wear to job interviews. When such a woman schedules an interview, she can collect a suit from Dress for Success.

If she lands the job, she can return for more items to mix and match. The organization also offers women interview coaching and tools for maintaining and developing a career. Dress for Success in D.C. outfits about 200 women a month.

Members and staffers from the Senate and the House had seven hours to drop off their clothes. In addition to the warm fuzzy feeling of helping out a worthy cause, the ladies were motivated by some friendly Congressional competition.

In total, 1,194 suits, skirts, shoes and accessories were collected. The House gathered 613 to the Senate’s 581, claiming a narrow victory.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) — a co-sponsor with Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Dress for Success and FedEx — was at a Hillside reception to donate a suit of her own.

In remarks at the Reserve Officers Association on Wednesday morning, Landrieu called Dress for Success “a leader” in helping women ascend the career ladder.

Women who leave Dress for Success, according to Landrieu, not only “look good on the outside, they feel really good on the inside.”

Rumor has it that a single individual might have skewed the odds in the House’s favor. A mysterious House ringer, thought to be a staffer, is said to have donated 105 items of clothing.

Take note, Landrieu. You might need to find an opening in your office for this Capitol clothing crusader next year.