House and Senate members and staffers faced off Thursday in the fourth annual Dress for Success/FedEx Congressional Dress for Success Challenge, collecting 1,459 articles of professional clothing for low-income women. The House collected 866 pieces to the Senate's 593. After the deadline, another 100 or so items flooded in, but didn't affect the final contest tally.
The Senate and the House each had a designated drop-off location, and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., served as honorary chairwomen of the event.
"It’s such an easy, fun and rewarding way to reach out to women who need that extra boost,” Landrieu said. Dressing professionally gives people the confidence to fully embrace their career ambitions, she added.
“It’s important to feel good about yourself ... both inside and out,” Landrieu said.
In an outdoor alcove at Johnny’s Half Shell Take Out, staffers stood behind a row of tables, accepting and sorting donations into the FedEx boxes behind them.
While this is the fourth year of the “Congressional Challenge,” Dress for Success has been holding an annual women's clothing drive for seven years and Landrieu said she’s “almost certain” she’s attended every one of them.
As one of only 20 female senators, Landrieu noted that entering male-dominated fields can be intimidating, but having the proper attire can be a much-needed confidence boost.
She said that donating isn’t hard — women just need to look for those clothes they don’t wear or that don’t fit right.
“Every woman has something in her closet” to donate, Landrieu said.
Krysten Joyce, who works for Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., attended the event, donating shirts and jackets.
“I think it’s important to give these ladies a good head start,” Joyce said. “I had extra clothing and was happy to donate.”