As holiday party season nears, many of us must prepare to dress to impress. Freshening up your formal wear can be a costly endeavor, so ease the burden at Friday's Shop for Success Designer Pop Up Sale. Hosted by Dress for Success Bakersfield, the returning event will offer a selection of party wear and accessories at a more budget-friendly price.

Featured designers and brands will include Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, St. John's and more.

While most donations the nonprofit receives to aid women heading into the workforce are business attire, some are just a bit fancier.

"We also receive items that are not suitable for work," Dress for Success Bakersfield founder and Executive Director Elaine McNearney wrote in an email. "Blingy, sheer, fur, holiday, etc. We put those aside for the Shop for Success event."

Along with aforementioned labels, Friday's sale benefits from a generous donation of brand-new dresses from designer to the stars David Meister.

McNearney described them as a mix of amazing short and long dresses "suitable for holiday, prom, formal, quincenera, etc."

"Another designer, Anine Bing, sent a large donation of shoes and bags," McNearney said. "They start online for hundreds. They will be much less at our event."

There will also be purses, bags and new and gently used shoes as well as formal wear donated by Eloquii, a brand that starts at size 14.

"We have a mix of everything," McNearney said, including special items like a Dooney & Bourke satchel bag and vintage fur coat that guests can bid on.

Pricing starts at $20 and goes up to $75. Note: Bring cash or cards for the event; no personal checks will be accepted.

Along with the unique shopping experience, the $25 admission fee includes sparkling wine, hors d'oeuvres and valet parking.

Funds raised from the event further the nonprofit's mission of helping women achieve economic independence by providing the professional attire, tools and support needed to thrive. Clients, who are referred by other aid organizations, come from all walks of life — students, veterans, sober living house residents, welfare recipients.

Along with professional clothing, Dress for Success volunteers help clients craft a resume and master job application, work on interview skills and aid with online job searches. 

In its eighth year, the local branch of Dress for Success helps about 500 women a year, who are supporting more than two children on average, McNearney said.

"All are living below the poverty level and all trying to better their lives. Day to day we offer so much more than clothing. And this event will help us increase our offering via the Career Center."

And every dollar counts for the independent organization that must fund its own efforts through fundraisers like Shop for Success, In Her Shoes breakfast and other events throughout the year.

In addition to donations, the group is also seeking women to donate their time to help clients.

"We are always looking for volunteers/coaches. Women who want to help another woman on a very personal level. Seventy-five percent of our women have been affected by domestic violence. (They're) unemployed or underemployed who need a helping hand in a small intimate environment because they are often so overwhelmed by life they tend to slip between the cracks."

For more on the organization, visit

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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