A Sustainable Wardrobe In Your Community, Tailored For Every Need, Identity And Budget

Empowering individuals and strengthening communities by providing free or low-cost clothing for employment or work/life transitions to those in need throughout Philadelphia and the suburbs.

At Career Wardrobe, one size doesn’t fit all, but one approach does. Our combined client services and resale program provides clothing and confidence for people pursuing their next journey in life, whether that’s looking for a new job, transitioning to adulthood, or moving toward independence. Career Wardrobe provides clothing for any job, client need, gender identity or shopping budget.

Career Wardrobe partners with local businesses, nonprofits, and community groups to help you have the greatest impact in your own neighborhood. With a Key to Community Award, we will expand our services to the Philadelphia suburbs with scalable “Wardrobes” tailored to meet your community’s specific needs. Services will be free with a referral from one of our non-profit partners or discounted for people in need. Our resale is open to savvy bargain hunters with proceeds from every sale being invested back into professional development programs.

What is the community need that this idea addresses?

25% of the region’s poor live in Philadelphia’s suburbs and Career Wardrobe’s key solution addresses the community need to help struggling neighbors access free or low-cost professional clothing to help prepare for and successfully transition to work. By opening Wardrobe sites that accept donations, provide services, and resell clothing to support programming, Career Wardrobe will expand our services to reach those who are encountering barriers to employment or economic prosperity such as poverty, overcoming trauma, limited workplace skills, or simply access to professional attire on a limited budget. Our project also provides a convenient way for businesses and individuals in the suburbs to support their neighbors with donations that remain in their community.

What is the solution that is currently in place?

Career Wardrobe currently has three small programs located in the suburban counties, but funding for those programs restricts us to serving only 6% of people in need. The social enterprise model allows us to provide services to anyone, regardless of whether they qualify for public benefits or have access to a referral partner. By combining resale and service, we can appeal to all populations (clients, donors, volunteers) while also achieving “economies of scale.” Our new Wardrobes will be sustainable in many ways. Donating clothing for resale sustains the environment. Providing free or low-cost alternatives for shopping sustains family budgets.

How will a Key to Community Grant help?

With a Key to Community Grant, Career Wardrobe will be able to replicate our successful Philadelphia-based Wardrobe Resale model in new communities: Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties. A first place award would provide the support needed to open Wardrobe sites in all three counties in locations that are accessible to anyone who needs our help – from a free outfit for a job interview, to budget and eco-friendly options for everyday wear. When Career Wardrobe’s carefully curated and merchandised inventory is combined with our respectful personalized service, 98% of our clients report an immediate improvement in their self-confidence and preparedness for work. More than 90% remain engaged in their job search which leads to 65% starting a new job within 6 months. Each Wardrobe site will have the capacity to serve 2,500 customers annually.

Idea Submitted by:

Career Wardrobe

Career Wardrobe is a nonprofit social enterprise based in Philadelphia that uses clothing and professional development to inspire change and assist people to work. In 24 years, we have outfitted 90,000 people on their path to employment. Our programs are designed to instill confidence and improve understanding of workplace norms to help level the playing field during a job search. This leads to increased job search engagement and employment, a first step toward financial stability. Learn how to donate, volunteer, or shop to support our work at