From The Straits Times    |
Styling Women for Success


To ace a job interview, you need confidence, preparation and, of course, a power suit. Veteran image consultant Pang Li Kin equips her clients with all three. She used to make a living doing this for busy executives. Now, the women she helps might be abuse victims, have a disability, be recovering from mental illness, or be single mothers.

Most are referred to her by social workers, and have no work experience or confidence to secure a job.

Li Kin prepares them for the job interview. “We ask them what their strengths are, and often, they don’t know,” Li Kin says. With a little probing, the women open up about things they enjoy and are passionate about. From there, Li Kin shows them how to highlight this to potential employers.

Then comes the fun part. The women get to pick outfits from racks of blazers, pencil skirts and dresses – all in mint condition and collected from various donation drives. Together with a stylist, they select 10 to 12 appropriate outfits, together with accessories and shoes – which they get for free. They also learn how to apply makeup.

The certified image professional and career coach worked as a market researcher before starting her own image-consulting company in 2002. “How you look makes a difference, and I realised I could help people transform from the inside too. I thought it would be nice to do this for charity when I retire,” Li Kin says.

That dream became a reality in 2015. Through the Dress for Success Singapore programme that’s run by Image Mission, she has coached about 300 women with the help of a team of volunteer stylists, makeup artists and career coaches.

“When they’ve got the clothes and they’ve worked on their speech, they look completely different,” Li Kin says. “There’s a glow on their faces.”

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