Story of a Suit

In Honor of The Career Wardrobe’s 10th Anniversary

Photography By:  Jeffrey Holder, Jeffrey Holder Photography

Stories By:

  • Tamala Edwards, WPVI 6ABC, Action News
  • Brenda Jorett, Senior Producer and Host, Morning Edition, WHYY-FM
  • Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio Community Affairs Reporter
  • Jill Porter, Philadelphia Daily News
  • Carol Saline, Journalist, Broadcaster and Author

What is a “Story of A Suit”?

Whether by the remembrance of the look, fit and feel of that very first suit, or of the sense of pride and belonging one feels when dressed for success, the women who have been a part of The Career Wardrobe’s past and present know the power of the suit.

They understand how this simple wardrobe staple can not only help build self-confidence, but also foster a spirit and a hope of achievement far beyond their imaginations. These women know that, like every woman the organization helps, a suit is more than what it seems.  A suit represents a moment of change and opportunity- that point when a woman is empowered to take control of her own life and destiny. Each suit represents a story.

In celebration of The Career Wardrobe's 10th anniversary serving the needs of low-income women throughout the Delaware Valley, the organization is proud to present a special photography exhibition heralding ten women whose lives, characters and careers have been irreparably changed or enhanced by the power of a suit. The Career Wardrobe tells their stories.

A volunteer committee carefully chose each peer-nominated honoree because she carries out The Career Wardrobe’s mission to empower women to succeed by:

  • possessing qualities of leadership and self-reliance
  • showing dedication to empowering women
  • giving back to the community
  • having achieved success and personal satisfaction in her career
  • demonstrating fortitude in overcoming adversity and rising to personal and professional challenges

Through “Story of a Suit,” The Career Wardrobe also recognizes the thousands of women who have been involved with the organization during its first decade.  Women whose careers, commitment to excellence, character and accomplishments encourage other women to be the best they can be, to never stop believing in themselves and to never give up.

These women, and the suits they wear, have stories to tell. The Career Wardrobe is proud to honor them and look forward to the future stories they will inspire.

Click on an image to read the story.

The Career Wardrobe History

In a world where first impressions open doors, The Career Wardrobe has offered a gateway to opportunity for over 35,000 women throughout the Philadelphia region since 1995. The Career Wardrobe prepares low-income women to enter the workforce and achieve financial self-sufficiency by partnering with hundreds of job training programs, domestic violence shelters and post-incarceration programs that refer women for our unique services. 

The largest agency of its kind in the region, The Career Wardrobe has grown from providing interview suits to 938 women during its first year to offering both professional clothing and personal development seminars to 4,000 annually.   The Career Wardrobe is comprised of two main programs:

  • Dressing and Image Consultation Program to provide women with free professional clothing and self-esteem enhancement to prepare them to market themselves during their job interviews.  Includes our new “Beauty Basics” program, which provides new cosmetics and skin care products to help complete their new professional look.
  • Gateway to Success Personal and Professional Development Seminars to teach women the skills they need to be successful employees and balance their new responsibilities.  Seminar topics include:  business etiquette, financial management, networking and interview skills, and stress and time management.
The Career Wardrobe doesn’t just a give a woman clothing, we help her with that essential accessory that goes with every outfit: self-confidence.  The increased self-esteem that comes from securing and maintaining employment not only helps the individual woman, but also strengthens her family and the Greater Philadelphia community.

Story of a Suit Acknowledgements

We could not have brought about this event without the talents, dedication and generosity of our volunteers and in-kind supporters. We sincerely thank them for their contributions.

Story of a Suit Committee
Cari Feiler Bender, Co-Chair, 10th Anniversary and Chairwoman, Story of a Suit
Karen Bruderle - Co-Chair, 10th Anniversary
Sheri K. Cole, Executive Director
Joan Gubernick Ruttenberg – Story of a Suit concept
Alicia Agnew
Lauren Bolen 
Robin Briggs
Randi Carr
Tara Caton
Pam Daughn – Story of a Suit Videographer
Phoebe Kropp
Wilhelmina McDaniel
Lisa Loosen Mullen
Jennifer Pine
Sara Robins – Story of a Suit Video Producer
Erica Spizzirri
Paige Wolf, Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations

Creative Volunteers
Jeffrey Holder, Jeffrey Holder Photography
Tamala Edwards, WPVI 6ABC, Action News
Brenda Jorett, Senior Producer and Host, Morning Edition, WHYY-FM
Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio Community Affairs Reporter
Jill Porter, Philadelphia Daily News
Carol Saline, Journalist, Broadcaster and Author

In-Kind Donors
Rachel Zimmerman and
Rosenfeld Gallery
Rick DeCoyte, Silicon Gallery
Greg Kelly, Framer’s Studio
Alan Ruttenberg, Fels Printing
Yasmine Ba, Eileen Fisher (Suburban Square)
Whole Foods Market (South Street)
Moore Brothers Wine Company
Manna Catering

Story of a Suit Creative Volunteers

We could not have brought about this event without the talents, dedication and generosity of our creative volunteers. We sincerely thank them for their support.

Tamala Edwards, WPVI 6ABC, Action News. A veteran of news reporting, Ms. Edwards’ illustrious career includes, among others, stints anchoring ABC World News Now and World News This Morning, serving as a White House Correspondent and as a staff writer at TIME magazine. Ms. Edwards joined WPVI-TV/6ABC in January 2005 and is currently co-anchoring the daily morning news program.

Jill Porter, Philadelphia DailyNews. Jill Porter is a native Philadelphian who graduated from Temple University and has been a columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News for 25 years. She lives with her son, husband and Golden retriever in Bala Cynwyd, PA. She remembers quite well the first serious career suit she ever bought: a gray flannel skirt suit that made her feel like a million dollars. 

Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio Community Affairs Reporter. Ms. Phillips joined the all-news staff in 1979 as a production assistant and has served the station in many capacities including reporter, writer, and daytime editor. Karin currently also works an adjunct professor teaching broadcast journalism at Rutgers University, where she obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Carol Saline, Journalist, Broadcaster and Author. Ms. Saline has written three books: Dr. Snow: How the FBI Nailed an Ivy League Coke King, Straight Talk , and A Guide to Good Health. In addition she has co-authored three other books with photographer Sharon J. Wohlmuth. Their most popular, Sisters, spent 63 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and sold over one million copies. Since 1974, Carol Saline has worked as a senior writer at Philadelphia Magazine where she specializes in health, profiles, and investigative reporting.

Brenda Jorett, Senior Producer and Host, Morning Edition, WHYY-FM. Prior to joining WHYY in January 2001, Mrs. Jorett was a general assignment reporter and news anchor for KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia for nearly 15 years. In her more than 28 years in journalism, she has won professional honors from such notable organizations as the Philadelphia Press Association, national and regional Associated Press, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Women in Communications, Philadelphia chapter.

Jeffrey Holder, Jeffrey Holder Photography.  A freelance photographer based locally in Philadelphia, Mr. Holder maintains a wide and varied portfolio and has worked with clients in advertising, travel, educational and corporate industries among others. He has also completed workshops and residences with George Krause at Anderson Arts Ranch, master class at the Maine Photographic Workshop with Joyce Tennyson, Tillman Crane and Steve Bliss. 

Special thanks to our in-kind donors for their generous support of Story of a Suit: